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The New Rules for New Year Dating

January 5th, 2009

Dr Petra

This time of year it seems we can hardly move for dating advice. Magazines, newspapers, TV and radio are all running features about how to find the perfect partner, with various dating gurus rolled out to tell us how to find true love in 2009.

With a new year we are often looking to make changes and improvements. For many who are single, Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time and people look forward to the next 12 months in the hope they can meet someone. Not all singletons feel this way though, and some feel under pressure for not being in a couple.

There are plenty of dating advisors giving tips right now, some of it useful advice, much of it not so helpful.

So here are five tips that you might find work for you, not just for the New Year, but for the next 12 months as well.

1. Only you should decide if you want to stay single
Although your friends, family, workmates and sometimes even strangers have opinions on your relationship status, ultimately it’s up to you whether you want to date or not. If you are happy being single, or don’t feel confident enough to try dating right now, then it may not be the best thing to push yourself into a relationship if it’s not what you truly want. Take a look at the groundwork (see tip 5 below) and tell those close to you what you want and to support you, and explain them putting you under pressure isn’t helping.

2. Don’t put pressure on yourself
It’s very easy to make New Year’s resolutions around how you’ll meet Mr/Ms Right this year, what they’ll be like, and how your relationship will be. It’s great to have aspirations, but sometimes making lots of promises to yourself can increase the pressure on you, and make you feel more anxious if you find time is passing and you’re not meeting who you want.

Rather than setting up a standard that you will meet your perfect partner this year, set yourself more achievable and enjoyable tasks that will guarantee you have fun and bring you into contact with other people to give romance the chance to blossom. For example you could promise yourself that you’ll take up a new hobby, go out socialising, join a dating website, or join a gym.

3. You have a whole lifetime to make changes
Making New Year Resolutions often means people feel they should expect change to happen immediately. You may want to decide to change your relationship status this year, but you don’t have to feel bad if it’s not happened by the end of January. Instead focus on a fun filled and productive 12 months where you enjoy life and work on any issues you may have. That way you’ll meet people during the year and you can decide if this might develop into something more. Rather than aiming to be in a relationship by the end of the year, aim to have a great year where you feel stronger and more confident by the end of it. That way, if you don’t meet someone this year, you’ll be better placed to find someone next year.

4. Remember, a lot of folk depend on you feeling bad about being single
While there are some excellent and ethical relationship advisors and therapists out there, it’s worth noting there’s also a whole load of folk who’re not really qualified, aren’t all that ethical, and who only make money if they can make you feel you need their help. That’s why you see so many of them in the media this time of year; it’s their big chance to drum up business. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with seeking advice or help if you want to sort out your relationship status, but a reputable coach or counsellor won’t make you feel bad about being single as a means to sell you their products or services. They also won’t try and push you onto any of their programmes within the New Year – a kosher therapist or educator will work with you at any time during the year. So if you see someone telling you that you shouldn’t be single, ask yourself why they need to be giving you this message?

5. Do the groundwork before you date
If you’re single and want to change that in 2009 here’s some dating advice including answers to your common relationships worries (courtesy of Mansized) and a stepwise guide to getting back on the dating scene. Both are practical solutions designed to help you build confidence and manage relationships.

Have fun!

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