We spend our 20’s thinking we have nothing but time. All the serious stuff like marriage and kids are now happening later in life so we get to concentrate on other things while we’re young.
I spent my 20’s focusing on my career. I was passionate about music and at 20 years old accepted a job as a Jr. digital marketing manager at Interscope Records. I went from a Jr. to an exec in less than 4 years and my dedication to my work paid off.
Love wasn’t a priority, but I still wanted some companionship from time to time so I dated here and there but never seriously. I choose looks over substance and influence over kindness in my men.
I knew these guys were no good, but I kept dating them because I figure I had plenty of time for the serious types later in life. “It’s not like I’m going to marry him,” I’d tell myself and others who asked. “I’m not in a rush and I’m just having fun.”
And it was all fun and games until I woke up at 30 years old, diagnosed with Cancer, which forced me to think about what I really wanted. When I was ready to get serious and settle down I began dating aggressively but things weren’t clicking. The men I was attracted to weren’t ready for a relationship, and I was distant with the men who were ready.
It took me months to figure it out, but I had made what was truly the biggest mistake of my 20’s. I spent a decade building bad dating habits that weren’t as easy to break as I thought they would be once I believed I was ready.
I thought that once I was ready, everything would fall into place, but I was wrong. I all of a sudden I had to battle with the patterns I created, walls that I’d built and the bad taste in men I’d developed over the years.
Our 20’s may be a time where we shouldn’t worry as much about our future. We should experiment and have fun, but we must do so while knowing that it’s a vital time in our life where we are practicing for our future.
In our 20’s we are establishing our boundaries, how we relate to others and the type of romantic life we want. If in our 20’s we are practicing being distant, emotionally unavailable and dating the a-hole, guess what? In our 30’s we turn out distant, emotionally unavailable and still dating the a-hole.
If you’re in your 20’s now I urge you to look at the dating habits you are establishing for yourself. Date men who are good, and kind. Date the guy you wouldn’t mind marrying. Practice having the right relationship. Establish those good patterns with good men, so that when you are ready, you don’t have to battle the patterns.
I want to be sure that you understand that this isn’t me urging you to get married in your 20’s. By all means you should focus on career, your personal development and becoming an amazing human being. But while you’re at that, be sure to create positive relationships habits as well.
For those women who are out of their 30’s and still single, you don’t have to go through a traumatic event in your life like I did to start figuring this out. Start taking a look at your past and what patterns in dating you created for yourself and actively work to break those habits.
Take a piece of paper and make 3 columns. At the top of the page write the names of the last 3 relationships you had. Write down the qualities you liked in each man under his name. Take a separate piece of paper and do the same thing, except this time list the things that you didn’t like and why it didn’t work out.
Start to look for the pattern. Be mindful of the typo of men you spend your time with now. Start dating outside of your type just because that’s the type you’re used to. Step outside of what you’re comfortable with. Practice the right dating habits with the right type of men.
Don’t make the same dating mistake that I did.