Do You Date like a High-schooler? a 5-step Guide to Letting Go of the Past
5 steps to letting go of that inner high-schooler and becoming your very best dater:
1.) Travel back in time, and think of how it all began.
Go back to the days of doodling hearts and entwined bubble-letter initials. To having our moms drop us off at Olive Garden in the family grocery-getter. To debating whether we are “going out” or just “going together.” Feel the newly sprouted mustache whiskers on the face of that kid on the wrestling team. Feel the cloud of sweat surround you as you steamed up your Pontiac 6000 in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
2.) Move forward.
Keeping your eyes closed and maintaining focus, recall what it was like to be a teen and a young adult. I think we have to really get in there, to remember what we were like as a date to a dance, how we felt standing in line next to that one guy from Geometry class at a kegger. From there, step into the 20s and bars and setups. For you, maybe that means recounting that first online dating profile, or running into someone from high school on the train then debating whether — and how — to contact that person again.
3.) Bring yourself, slowly and surely, to the present.
Step by step, make your way through the milestones and moments and relationships that brought you to where you are today. What was your last date like? What would you have liked it to be? When was the last time you shined with confidence, and felt gorgeous, sexy, brilliant, with another person? What do you need to do to feel that fire again?
4.) Hold on to some of the past, but let go of those memories that don’t support your new mission.
I still absentmindedly doodle my guy’s initials when I am on conference calls and get a little giddy-shy when I hear him say my name on the phone. Maybe stop at hiring someone to deliver a balloon arch so you can take prom-like posed photos together, but do let the birds sing and the the unicorns swoop over rainbows once in awhile.
5.) Practice being an adult dater — even if it’s uncomfortable at first.
It’s also critical to affirm what has changed — beyond the red plastic glasses and not needing a ride from your mom all the time. Are you more confident in your curvy body than you were when the hips and boobs were first blooming? Are you attracted to people who have jobs they love and are invested in and passionate about? Reflect on how you’ve changed, and be proud of the differences.
Then throw in what’s hanging on from the high-school girl who could use some growing up too. How can you strip off the shame from traveling home after an overnighter? Why are you still squirmy when someone pays the bill? When is it time to stop accepting insults packaged as humor?
Finally, shake off the life-coachy stuff, put on your good-butt jeans, and order a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape.
With all of this, you can help yourself move into the present and become an age-appropriate dater. It might not be a romantic magic cure, but it’ll help refine who you are today when you’re on your first date. And you can always kick-off the conversation by sharing a story about your very first official date (after you’re done with the popcorn, of course).
– By Jessica Ashley