The first serious dating relationship we should be looking to evolve and commit to, is the one with ourselves.
Dating yourself not only sets you up to choose who to date wisely, it also builds your confidence, boundaries and self-worth through self-care so that you can enjoy dating from the first time you have a date night and onwards.
We often assume that because we have a desire to date and an ability to, that we are ready to date or are a dateable person!
Unfortunately that isn’t always the case, and hence why so many people get burnout or broken during the process of finding love.
Why self-worth is so important in dating
One of the most important things that you can remember is this: The relationship you have with yourself, sets the standards with the relationship you have with everyone else.
Whilst we may know that self- worth is something we need to be mindful of, we have to start realising just how important it is.
The way in which you value yourself and communicate that value to others will determine the following things in dating:
Your boundaries – By having a clear sense of self-worth, you will feel more confident to put boundaries down unapologetically. This helps you set a healthy standard for the relationships you want to build.
Your standards and expectations – Your self-value will set the standards you have for the way you want to be treated. Self-worth also affects our expectations which in turn helps us keep the people and ourselves accountable during the dating process.
Your choices and responses – Who you choose to date, what you do on those dates and how you respond to the process of building that relationship. Our choices will always be influenced by the way in which we perceive our own value.
The quality – Dating from a place of low self-worth usually means we accept low value dates and relationships. This often leads to unhappiness, settling for second best or finding yourself attached to toxic people.
Your attachments – Self-worth will affect your own attachment style and who you attract and their attachment habits.
Your bounce back-ability – Having a strong sense of self-worth means you are able to handle rejection better. It allows you to heal faster and get through disappointment and break ups easier.
Your level of confidence – When you know your true value and nurture it, you feel more confident in your decisions and own skin. That’s because you are coming from a conviction of abundance and peace, rather than lack and fear.
Not looking out for your own needs will also harm your love life. Find out if you’re a people pleaser here and see what you can do to make yourself a priority!
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What does dating yourself mean?
Dating yourself essentially means to prioritise, and spend quality time in placing value on who you are.
It prevents you from becoming too caught up in a relationship and is especially useful for people who have struggled or are sensitive to depression or other mental health problems.
It doesn’t mean that you’re focused on feeding ego or becoming self-centred. Nor does it mean that you have to go and do years of therapy to work out what is unhealed within you.
We can often confuse dating ourselves with turning ourselves into a project that ‘needs to be fixed’ before we are worthy of finding love.
Truth is you can simultaneously self-date, enjoying personal growth and free time for the benefit of your own mental health while you also make time to have an active dating life. You just need to know where to find the balance.
The easiest way to view it is this: When we think about how we want someone else to treat us, romance us and make us feel- that is what we need to be doing to ourselves! Be in your comfort zone from the start of the day to the end of the day!
When you’re highly sensitive, dating can be a challenge. Here are some tips on how to handle dating well as a sensitive person.
But let’s hit some of the misconceptions on the head so you can be really clear on what dating yourself means:
FALSE: I need to isolate myself – Isolating yourself for long periods of time is not healthy. We are not created to be alone, and wanting human connection is a healthy and normal desire.
Instead try to identify when you need to spend some quality time on your own to recharge your mind and heart.
FALSE: I need to say no to anyone that asks me out – The key here is not avoiding any romantic connections with someone else (unless you really need to do that for a few weeks) but rather identifying WHY you want to date someone.
Knowing the WHY helps us choose the WHO which in turns sets the standards for the relationships we build.
FALSE: There is something broken with me – Taking time out to love on and really get to know you doesn’t mean you are broken. Don’t assign an identity to yourself just because you are going through a season of healing or a pause in dating.
TRUE: There should be a time frame for dating myself – Yes, but it will be different for each person depending on where they are at. Your level of progress during a period of dating yourself will determine how long you need to do it for.
TRUE: I never stop dating myself – Yes that’s right! Why would we stop romancing and valuing ourselves even when we find someone else who does the same? Loving yourself is an important relationship component to leading healthy relationships with others.
Nurturing your self-love is something that should never stop!
How do I date myself? – Tips
So how do we actually ‘date ourselves’ in a way that is effective and balanced? Personal development can be a tricky thing, regardless of whether you are an introvert or someone outgoing.
Here are several practical ways that you can be spending time to date yourself, without turning it into an overwhelming self-development project:
Take time out once a week – If you are someone who is scared to be alone or has a very busy life, then take at least 1-2 nights a week where you spend time only with yourself.
Learning to be content in your own company helps you elevate who you should be giving your time to. You can try this by journaling, going to art galleries on your own, or even enjoying a cup of tea or glass of wine at a coffee shop on your own.
People with low self-worth will either isolate themselves too much or are scared to be alone due to feeling lonely. Evaluate where you sit on that scale and adjust your social and alone time accordingly.
Spend some money on you – When we think of someone taking us on a date, there is usually some spending involved! But when was the last time you spent money on yourself? You’re worth far more than any first date you’ll ever find, after all!
Whether this is buying yourself something special or taking yourself solo to a dinner or a movie.
The goal is not how much you send on yourself but rather how it makes you feel.
Give yourself some compliments – We love to hear affirmations from someone who we are dating, so here is your chance to start verbalising all that love onto yourself.
Accepting compliments that someone gives you or speaking kindness and positivity over yourself daily is a great way to boost your mood and improve your confidence and self-worth.
Put effort into your appearance – It’s normal to want to dress up and impress our dates with the way we look, so why not do the same for yourself?!
When we look good, we usually feel better about ourselves and have increased confidence.
Don’t wait for a special occasion to spend extra time on your appearance, instead integrate this into your normal daily routine.
Whether it is dressing up a little more for work drinks or choosing an outfit for the gym that make you feel more confident.
Practice Self Intimacy – Intimacy is a huge part of dating and building a relationship, hence why we should be engaging in it even on our own.
Whether it is self-pleasuring, allowing yourself to feel emotions or connecting to yourself through meditation, these are all great ways to take a moment to really get to the core of who you are.
Being vulnerable with yourself helps you heal, release trauma and sets you up for a loving relationship with yourself.
How to improve your self-esteem in dating
Dating can be a rough road full of rejection and heartache. So how do we improve and maintain our self-esteem during dating?
Here are several ways to make it seem realistic and achievable:
Embrace the process – Dating won’t always be easy, and that’s ok! Don’t take ever rejection personally, instead look at it as a redirection or an opportunity to learn something new!
Set yourself up with love education – By knowing the fundamentals in dating, meaning what to look for and how to identify them you then are able to make wiser choices.
Dating shouldn’t be a guessing game that leaves you feeling lost or hurt. Get educated on how to date smart, not hard! This will also help you feel more confident in yourself and your decisions.
Know your limits – If you have a strong foundation of self-worth it becomes easier to say no when you know you need to. Try and keep healthy boundaries in place and know when you need to take a step back.
Identify the red flags early on– Knowing what toxic signs and behaviours to look for early means you can protect your value and keep your self-esteem higher.
Have an outside opinion – Getting a subjective opinion on your love life helps keep things in perspective. Ideally engage in a professional or someone who can be trusted and has a healthy mind-set themselves.
Never stop nurturing you– Lastly never stop pouring into you! Loving ourselves is an ongoing project that should never stop just because someone else also loves us!
You are the common denominator in your life and the key to your own growth and happiness , so treasure the relationship you have with yourself daily.