I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions, to be honest. You’d think the fact that everyone’s making resolutions right now is going to work in your favour, but actually the opposite is true. In fact, most people fail miserably at keeping their New Year’s Resolutions. Only 8% make it through. That should tell you something about the overall pointlessness of this exercise.
But that doesn’t mean you should abandon all hope. Resolutions fail not because people are lazy or incapable, but because they set themselves up for failure with unrealistic or unclear goals.
When it comes to your love life, you can’t decide you will meet the love of your life this year, because that’s not just up to you. You can on the other hand decide you will do everything in your power to increase your chances. Not quite as snazzy, but far more realistic and sustainable.
So to ring in 2018, here are some realistic things you can do this year to radically improve your love life, no matter how broken it may seem.
1. Go on more dates
I don’t believe each one of us only has one perfect soulmate. You may as well keep believing in Santa if you think a world full of billions of people is only going to have one person truly compatible with you. Just like believing in Santa, believing in one perfect soulmate has its purpose. In cultures where people marry young (possibly with someone not of their own choosing) and are expected to stay together forever. If you have to take your current relationship as a given till death do you part, believing that it’s ordained from above will help you through the rough patches.
A more grown up way of looking at things is realising there are plenty of “soulmates” out there you have the potential to love deeply and share your life with. Which one(s) you end up with will depend on proximity, opportunity, circumstance and sheer luck.
Here’s a great article about how we, as humans, generally suck at picking good life partners. Why? Because society encourages us to make bad, desperate choices to avoid being single, and it discourages us (especially women) from getting good at understanding what we actually want from a partner and a relationship.
The most solid, successful long-term relationships are those that form when both partners have a clear idea of what they want. Yes, this usually means these people have dated lots of other people before ending up together, because getting something right takes practice. But how horrified are some people to hear that a woman’s been with lots of other guys?
You’re going to have to get over this mentality. The best way to find out what you want and then to actually find someone who ticks those boxes is by increasing your pool of potentials.
So make it your goal to use online dating more, go to more singles’ events, socialise more and generally meet and date as many people as you can. Make specific, achievable milestones, too: “this month, I will go on 10 different dates”, for example. This you can definitely control and achieve and it’s the best thing you can do if you want to find someone.
2. Reclaim your sex life
A recent research paper revealed that heterosexual women are most likely to have crappy sex. While straight guys say they orgasm about 95% of the time, straight women only orgasm 65% of the time (cheers, guys!). Lesbians, on the other hand, orgasm 89% of the time. But apart from showing us how crappy straight guys are at pleasing their female sexual partners compared to gay guys and lesbians, the paper also revealed the secrets of sexually satisfied women. Guess what? They’re not just for lesbians.
Anyway, this is what science says you should do to make your sex life more satisfying:
- Ask for what you want in bed
- Praise your partner for something great they did in bed
- Incorporate more of what straight people see as “foreplay” and lesbians see as “sex” into your sexual encounters, i.e. manual manipulation and receiving oral
- Incorporate deep kissing into your lovemaking
- Have sex for longer
- Try out new sexual positions
- Try Anal stimulation
- Talk dirty or express love during sex
- Wear sexy lingerie
- Call or text to tease your partner or talk about sexual things
So now you know. Let’s make it our goal to have more orgasms in 2018!
3. Expect more from those you are involved with
You can’t help who you’ll meet or fall in love with, but you can decide what behaviour you’re going to put up with in your relationships with others. For starters, one of your goals should be to only date people who actually care about you. If you have a bad dating pattern, you may well end up with uncaring people again and again. Don’t accept this as a given. The first step towards fixing a bad pattern is noticing the signs, expressing your dissatisfaction with the situation and being ready to leave if things don’t go your way. Make that your measurable goal.
4. Be honest about your needs
I find it hilarious how dating advice for women is so different when it’s written by men. Men tell women that they shouldn’t push for a commitment too soon, as otherwise the guy will run away. They tell women to wait until the guy is ready, at which point he will push for a commitment himself. Women, on the other hand, will tell you not to waste your time with indecisive losers.
Experience has taught me several things about this:
- Men are generally territorial so when they’re into someone, they want a commitment.
- Men move fast when they know what they want and believe they can get it.
- Men expect to be having a sexual relationship with someone before making a commitment (to be fair, so do most women nowadays).
- Men can be perfectly content to stay in comfortable relationships for years, in spite of, or even because of the relationship not being emotionally challenging (i.e. they’re not actually in love).
So a man can be perfectly happy to stay with you for years as long as you’re sleeping together and you don’t rock the boat by expecting or asking too much from him. Or, to put it in other words: if you are happy to ignore your own needs and comforts in the relationship and let the guy dictate the pace, you can probably keep a relationship going for ages. But if a guy’s had a chance to get to know you for a few months and is not open to or is actively pushing for a real commitment, he’s probably never going to. He’s just sticking around cause being with you is better than being alone.
In 2018, make it your goal to be true to yourself. If you’ve been dating someone for a few months and he’s not forthcoming about making things official, stop and think. Are you happy in the current situation? Is this enough for you right now? Do you want more? Are you OK being in a relationship where expressing your needs could result in being dumped? Are you happy carrying on knowing this guy may never feel ready to make a commitment to you? Only you can answer these questions and there are actually no wrong answers. Just make it your goal to be honest with yourself and make conscious choices.
5. Open your mind
The world is changing. The way people look at relationships is changing. If you’re feeling somewhat confined by heteronormativity, consider acquainting yourself with some alternative lifestyle choices. How else will you know for sure they’re not for you?
Here are a couple of examples.
If your biological clock is ticking but you’ve yet to find a suitable life partner, consider alternative forms of parenting, such as conscious co-parenting (i.e. having a child with someone you’re not actually dating or in love with and sharing parental responsibility). It’s been very popular on the LGBTQ scene for years (for obvious reasons), but is becoming more popular in general. So many people make bad relationship choices because they are so desperate to have a child and end up co-parenting (or single parenting) anyway. At least this way you can choose a co-parents base solely on their parenting skills and your shared values. Once that’s covered, you are free to choose romantic partners based on other relevant qualities.
Similarly, if monogamy is losing its appeal, have a read of excellent books like The Ethical Slut that will teach you about polyamory and other different relationship styles. You may be completely comfortable with living a “normal” life and that’s perfectly fine, too. But if you’re at all curious about living life differently and how it could give you more options, make it your goal to look beyond the norm and try out different ways of doing things.
Whatever you do, I hope 2018 is the year you get to be exactly where you want to be.