Natasha Burton_6 Dating Habits to Break in 2014

Being at the start of the New Year, January is the quintessential month for new beginnings. As cliché as it might sound, it’s also the perfect opportunity for you to revamp your attitude about dating and relationships — after all, you have to choose some sort of resolution for 2014, right?

At the very least, kick off the year by making this the one in which you banish completely unhelpful — and counterintuitive — dating habits from your life for good. Here are six things you should stop doing.

1. Not making the first move.

Whether you’re a guy or a gal, you should just put yourself out there. The outdated rules that men have to send the first message or make contact first are old fashioned and, really, kind of silly at this point. Besides, ladies, would you really want to marry a guy who was turned off by the fact that you got in touch first? Thought not.

2. Constantly checking your inbox.

Of course you’re going to be itching to see if the person you messaged wrote you back — that’s completely natural. But don’t let your dating life rule your life-life. First, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Second, you’ll miss out on deepening the real connections you already have with friends, family, and coworkers. Be sure to unplug when it’s time to be fully present in the flesh.

3. Writing off a potential partner for not being “your type.”

So, a woman who messages you is a couple years older than your “ideal.” Or, a man who gets in touch has less hair than you’d prefer. If you let yourself be ruled by superficial qualities, then you better get used to being single. I know, that’s harsh, but it’s true: Giving off a too-good-for-others vibe is a sure-fire way to make yourself completely unattractive to other people — and, trust me, those you message will pick up on your attitude. Rather than rigidly sticking to what you think are must-haves and discounting anyone who seems to have a deal-breaking quality, start being flexible. You’ll be glad you did.

4. Excusing unworthy behavior.

On the flipside, stop trying to rationalize bad behavior: A guy who says he just wants something casual won’t make a good potential husband. A woman who says she’s not interested in starting a family won’t be the mother of your children. Listen to what people say to you and take their actions at face value. Being aware is key when you’re looking for a life partner — when someone tells you something about him or herself, you need to believe them!

5. Putting off your bucket list until you’re in a relationship.

I know I was guilty of this in my single days and I’m sure many others are as well: Just because you’re flying solo doesn’t mean you need to put your goals and dreams on hold. If you’re dying to climb to the top of Machu Picchu or learn how to tango, don’t wait until you have a romantic partner. Grab a friend or a family member, or even start ticking items off your bucket list alone — there’s no reason to wait. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet…

6. Unnecessary stressing about your relationship status.

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with women especially is waiting in limbo while they wait for men to define their relationships. If you’re not sure if you’re exclusive, or if someone is your boyfriend or not — ASK! It’s that simple. Sure, you might not like the answer, but, hey, you may also be pleasantly surprised. All I know is, life is too short to be wondering what you are to someone.

Changing your dating habits is a process — luckily, you have a whole year to practice getting rid of these all-too-common patterns. But, no matter how long it takes, I assure you that doing so will lead you to a healthier, happier relationship … or at the very least, a better single life.

And, to help you navigate your coupledom when you do find your significant other, please check out my latest book, 101 Quizzes for Couples, which is chock-full of helpful questions to ask your partner — and yourself — to help make your bond deeper and your relationship more fulfilling.


Natasha Burton is a relationship expert and author who’s been featured by Maxim, MSN, iVillage, and more. Check out her books: 101 Quizzes for Couples and The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.

  1. Funny, but I thought Nissan was the first month after Rosh Hashana, not January.

    And if you need more help, here are all the months of the Jewish calendar:

    1. Nissan
    2. Iyar
    3. Sivan
    4. Tamuz
    5. Av
    6. Elul
    7. Tishrei
    8. Cheshvan
    9. Kislev
    10. Tevet
    11. Shevat
    12. Adar I
    13. (Adar II)

  2. The most important question is, ” Are you currently unmarried?” It doesn’t matter if your date is divorced,widowed, or never married, but a single who’s serious about looking for a marriage partner can’t waste time and emotional energy on people who are not leggally available for marriage ( determing emotional avvailability is more complicated). YOu might not have to blurt out, ” Are you currently single?”, but you should gear the conversation to get this information. If you date is separated, that’s a personal call. I would advise against getting involved wth a separated person until his/her divorce is finalized, but I understand that the separated person is biulding a new life. Or some people are looking for adultury! ( BAD boys, BAD girls). Whatever your dates current marital status is, you need to know from date #1.

  3. I was in a relationship before where 8 and 1/2 years ago, he wanted to marry me and have children with me. I am not sure if it was the financial strain, the lack of intimacy or a combination, but as time progressed he wasn’t interested in marrying me, but really never said it. It progressed into a fighting, bullying, and only intimate while he was sleeping in a touching and snuggling kind of way. I am not interested in getting bqck with him, but would like to know what kind of ways do go about finding out if that guy really wants to marry you and go the next steps.

  4. I think the most important question would be, “Can you share what you went through while deciding whether or not to take part in a venue like J-Date.”

  5. I want to know if my date has interests that coincide with mine. In addition to his status as a separated, divorced or widowed, I need to know what he enjoys doing and what direction he seeks for himself in the future with a woman that he chooses. If he is newly separated and still talking about his wife, he is not ready. If he is divorced and in an intense lawyer fight and making bitter comments, he is not ready to share himself. If he is widowed it is desparate to reattach, it is possible that he has not processed his grief and may be needy and fearful of being alone.

    I believe that being comfortable with himself, secure and open to new experiences is a sign of emotional health.


  6. I think the most important question would be to ask, how well do you communicate with other people? If the other person balks at answering this question, that will tell volumes about their ability to relate to you in the long run. All virtues not withstanding, the ability to listen, communicate and be honest are key ingredients to a successful relationship and the groundwork for future success as a couple.

  7. the answer would depend on when during the first date the question is posed. toward the end of the date, when each party has had some opportunity to form an impression, the question i would ask is ‘when can i see you again?’

  8. not too deep, what do like to do when you’re not working?

  9. I always try to ask when the last trip my date took and to where. It shows me what kind of personality my date has. If you both don’t like to travel then you know you will always be with someone more grounded however if your date likes to travel then it leads to a lot of conversation of sharing experiences of trips and places you went or want to go to maybe even together. I feel that you get to know a person when thy share their experiences like if they want to club and party or like to lounge.
    It allows you to get to know the person on another level.

  10. I think the most important question to ask is what types of qualities or characteristics he/she is looking for in a mate.

  11. “Are you close with your family”?

    There are reasons why a person might unfortunately not be close w/his family- but the answer will be telling- and give me an idea of how this man treats and relates to those who have been closest to him. It also gives a picture of what my life might be like w/”extended family” or lack thereof were we to become a couple.

  12. “Are you close with your family”?

    Not too deep/prying for a first date- while at the same time netting very useful information.

  13. If you had to pick one thing what would the most important thing you would look for in a woman?

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