Love on the brain in 2022? For many people, calling in a new and exciting romantic partnership is on their list of asks for the coming months. As we move away from things that no longer serve us and walk boldly towards the things we want, old triggers, habits and ways of attaching to others may start to rear their ugly heads. Anxiety around communication, commitment and even self-worth can make us repel what we truly desire. If you’ve been hurt in the past, even the deepest desires for love can feel like an invitation for more pain and cause you to make subconscious decisions in order to maintain a sense of safety. However, in order to truly call in love, we must be ready to risk something. Whether that something is old ways of thinking, insecurities or even the tendency to play games in an attempt to gain control over another person, they all must be put to bed if we intend to attract loving, mature partnerships. Also, many of us simply never really learned how to date. Dating should be a time in which we truly collect information on another to decide if they are someone we should invest our time, energy and love into with the full knowledge that it may not be a forever thing. Instead, we go into situations desperately seeking confirmation of our value and ignore red flags to hold onto people we should probably let go of. 

But new year, new you—so, let’s get into things we should all be leaving behind when it comes to dating in 2022. 

Anxiety around initiating communication. 

Though it may be a vulnerable and scary thing to initiate communication with a person, gone are the days of waiting three days to make contact after a date or any other ridiculous imaginary rules. The best way to establish how you’d like to be communicated with is to model that behavior for another. If you want to talk to them, reach out to them. This also goes hand in hand with understanding that because of social media and the false sense of connectivity it gives, we can often assume that someone always has time to be in communication. Newsflash: they probably don’t. Yes, we all make time for what we want to make time for but the way “making time” looks for each of us may be different. As we all struggle to make sense of what another year of a global pandemic may mean, try extending a little grace and taking a breather around communication expectations. 

Forcing attraction in order to prove you can be with someone who is good to you. 

This is for my girls who have been through the ringer in love, especially. Sometimes, when we have experienced the worst of what love has to offer, we work hard to reestablish what and who we are attracted to in an effort to stop opening the door for bad partners. So when someone comes into our lives who is decent, kind and treats us well, we can force ourselves into being attracted to them to prove that we can let in some “good”. You are not broken if you don’t decide to jump at the first person who treats you like a human being rather than a convenience. Because that should be the bare minimum anyway. This attitude does not prove that you are healed, it actually can show you that you still have a little way to go to fully believe that you are deserving of something positive and healthy. Often times we hold on to a safe option because, unknowingly, we think it may be the last good thing that comes along for us. After all, you’ve been so disappointed in the past, who are you to turn down someone who doesn’t make you second guess your place in their life? You are a woman who deserves all of the good there is to have. Remember that. 

Manipulation through head games. 

Now, sis, let’s get into it. A lot of the games we all play in dating are simply to establish control of another person’s emotions to ensure protection. From pretending that we cook more than we do to acting unbothered about things that actually make us feel icky—the behaviors we show in the early phases of dating can often lead to issues as things further develop. It is nearly impossible to keep up appearances as you become more intimate with a person and when the real you starts to surface, it may send you both for a loop. It is very vulnerable to show up 100% yourself and run the chance of someone saying “no thank you” to all of who you are but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Arbitrary rules of engagement from books, movies, songs and everything in between that are really just manipulation disguised as ways to land your ideal mate are the cause of a lot of disappointment. At least if you show up fully authentic, you can more quickly decide who can actually handle you for who you are; which is what you want anyway. 

Repeating yourself. 

Women are naturally much better at communicating our wants and needs because it is more socially acceptable for us to do so. In most of our relationships, we are communicating constantly and finding ways to be open to the needs of others. So, when we meet someone we feel naturally attracted to, we can go into overdrive of making them feel comfortable with who we are and what we bring to the table. And when it comes time to express our expectations and needs, we can often over explain. Here’s a little nugget of wisdom: they heard you the first time. Unless a person has a known issue around hearing and retaining information, chances are they did not miss your first explanation; they’ve chosen to not do anything about it. And that’s ok. In dating, a person can decide how much energy they want to put into investing into the feelings and needs of another but guess what? You can also decide how much energy you’re going to put into getting a person to treat you the way you need to be treated in order to feel comfortable sharing your time, energy and/or body with them. Choose wisely. 

Giving too much too soon. 

In an effort to prove your worth, perhaps you are a person who goes into wifey mode way too soon. Try making a person earn your goodness in 2022. Of course, you want to be treating a person the way you want to be treated but we all know how quickly an attraction to a person can turn into wanting them to choose you—and that, in turn, becomes the catalyst to you doing the most. Matching energy isn’t always a bad thing and can sometimes be a great way to make sure you don’t end up feeling used or mistreated in the end.