How to Keep Options Open While Dating

by Amanda Ford

About Amanda Ford

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Amanda Ford is a writer and creative thinker with a knack for cultivating love wherever she goes. She is the author of several books including KISS ME, I'M SINGLE: AN ODE TO THE SOLO LIFE and BE TRUE TO YOURSELF: A DAILY GUIDE FOR TEENAGE GIRLS. Amanda's work has been featured in Real Simple, The Chicago Tribune and The Seattle Times. With a sweet and soulful style, Amanda hopes to help her readers deepen all the relationships in their lives using kindness, compassion, understanding and play.

As the saying goes, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. This is definitely true with dating. You know how it goes: you meet somebody whom you are super excited about and the two of you dive totally into a relationship, but then, just as forcefully and quickly as the romance begins, it ends. A new romance is exciting and it is natural to want to go at it with total gusto, but the ability to keep your options open while dating instead of zeroing in on one person right from the start is a good skill to learn, because it keeps you from giving too much of yourself too soon and protects you from crashing and burning out on dating. Have you learned how to keep your options open while dating? If not, may these tips be your inspiration!

Understand the purpose of keeping your options open. Dating is about getting to know all different types of people so that you can be certain when you finally decide to settle down. If you close your options too early in a relationship, you limit the chances for dating a variety of people.

Move slow. Don't rush around the bases. Hell, don't even rush to a first kiss. Stare in each other's eyes. Hold hands. Trace your finger down his leg. Gently play with her hair. Let the romantic tension build. Have sex only when you feel really ready.

Keep your friendships in tact. Never, never, never, NEVER cancel, postpone or avoid making plans with friends because you are devoting all your time to your new special somebody.

Keep your goals in tact. Similarly, do not change your plans, alter your vision or stop striving for your dreams. In the early stages of a relationship it can be tempting to change your lifestyle and personality to seem more perfectly matched to that of your new love interest. These little lies and changes are certain to resurface down the road, so you might as well be honest from the start. Stay true to your course. If your new crush is meant to be your lifelong partner, then he or she will be supportive of you reaching your dreams.

Keep flirting. Everywhere you go, keep smiling at, flirting with and talking to the opposite sex. Don't avoid other romantic possibilities simply because you've got a new crush.

Say it straight. From the start, make it clear that you are not interested in jumping into a relationship right off the bat. It is fine to date multiple people at once, just as long as you are not lying about it.

Approach dating as an exploratory journey, not as a predetermined destination. The more you appreciate the unexpected element of dating, the more likely you will be to keep your heart open to the different options for love that cross your path.

See "failed" relationships as important learning experiences. Learning what qualities you don't want in a partner or date is an essential part of discovering what you do want.

Remember: it takes time to really get to know somebody. In my experience a person's true nature doesn't show up for 6 months or more. Up until that point the other person seems ideal. I say, don't commit to somebody until you've seen his or her dark sides.

Remember also: trust takes time to earn. You must earn trust of the person you are dating and, perhaps most importantly, you must make the person you are dating earn your trust. I'm not saying that you should be suspicious of people you date, but you shouldn't throw your total trust into somebody you just met. Trust wisely.

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