1) Figuring out why I was dating!
I know, sounds strange, doesn’t it? “First started dating” is a social rite of passage for teenagers. We yarn to celebrate it. But we don’t really know what it all means. Or why we’re doing it. Or why we get goosebumps while talking to one person and feel as usual while talking to others. When you’re young and dumb, it often comes down to looks and shallow stuff like popularity.
Dating when you just turn 16 is confusing. Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy it that much. If I liked a cute girl, I'd take some time to ask her out. In the end, I inevitably found myself sitting on the other side of the table working on some stilted conversation about school & stuff. Communication skills are something I didn't know existed at that time of life. The worst was the end of the date, and I wasn’t sure if I could kiss the girl goodnight. Had plenty of uncanny dates in high school and college.
2) Accepting that what I want isn't what I should have.
My first long term relationship was unhealthy. I have a tendency to measure my own worth on others’ reaction to me, which means I'm a huge people pleaser. Which means I suffer, a lot.
So when I got out of my first 1-year relationship, my first reaction was to change into someone that people would like. I really wanted people to like me. It's just really hard to find someone who likes you when you don't like yourself enough to actually be the person you are. If being single doesn't make you happy then dating someone certainly wouldn't change that.
I realised that this was unhealthy behaviour, and figured I probably need some time to be single. Cool, I'm fine with that, I can be single. But it's like every time I get a bit unnerved, it's very comforting to date and find someone who approves of who I am that day. It's still not healthy behaviour, no matter how I spin it. It doesn't matter if they treat me right if I don't. And I don't.
Maybe the hardest part of dating is not dating.
3) The confidence to be yourself and comfortable in front of someone whom you Love.
Generally, we are not ourselves in front of the one whom we love. I feel that sometimes being myself would lead actions that can hurt her sentiments And then there's a chance that it takes the person farther away from you. It's like a self-inflicting wound on the relationship. Some kind of paradox of what's right, insecurity in you.
Now if some people say that the biggest challenge is to be truthful/honest on a date is improper because we try to show the bright side of ourselves on dates, which has the possibility of some exaggeration. That makes it far more challenging. I believe it's totally up to you to decide.
4) Not to rush things.
I have rarely dated someone I didn't know or had met before and after breaking up my first long term relationship, I decided to go back to being friends first, before any dating. As it turns out, it's the best possible way. Yes, there is a slight possibility of ending your friendship but that's the risk worth taking.
Dating is hard enough when you consider the awkwardness, nervousness or shyness of first dates, never mind the bad dates you wish could end. Starting out as friends lets you know the person better without the pretext or best behaviour people try to put on. So much of that pretext can become disillusioning over time and can put a real damper on relationships, or worse, excusing the bad behaviour away hoping they will change, or not wanting to break up because we don't want to be alone again.
We are such a connected world in so many ways, yet we are humans that need a different kind of connection, with real humans. Finding someone with a shared interest or hobby, join a club, activity and just start meeting new people is important. There are plenty of sites online, and not just dating ones, so work to find your connection in a friend, perhaps a cute friend, and build it from there.
5) Not to have prejudices
It is something usually possible to avoid by friendship first. After all, for a relationship to work, honesty should be there. Typical prejudice in a relationship isn't always based on colour or religion. It can come from mutual friends. Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. The only solution to it is dialogue.
Nothing heals relationship better than good communication skills.