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  • Writer's pictureBethany Lynne

Worth Men-tioning: My 2023 Takeaway Nuggets

Updated: Jan 3

I’m not an expert on dating, though I do feel eight years of experience earns me some level of street cred. It’s been a wild ride that most people gawk at when I regale them with my stories. This year topped the others for most audacious, unkind, and unwarranted. As I sit here attempting to work my gaping jaw closed and construct sense of the nonsense, I find myself with some assemblage of takeaways. And being the non-expert that I am, but as someone who learns best from observing other people’s experiences, I figured I’d share in hopes of helping a fellow human wading in this seemingly perpetual dating pool.

For better or worse, here is what I learned this year for the first time or, what I knew in theory was confirmed in practice, and a few of my own assertions that just may help a poor soul avoid finding themself where I’ve stood. 

(As always, one's advice or current stance can be taken with a grain of salt. We're all on a journey with many beliefs to be reformed, hearts to be healed, and exceptions to meet.)

  1. If they wanted to, they would. And, if they respect you, and wanted to but couldn’t, they would communicate it. 

  2. Silence is communication. 

  3. Let them. Don’t try to change people’s actions. Let them do what they do. Their consistency will demonstrate what kind of person they are. 

  4. True love isn’t driven by fear or control. 

  5. Don’t give them a chance to live up to low expectations. Raise the bar and encourage them to strive for it. 

  6. If they can’t take care of themself, they will not be able to take care of you. 

  7. It can be courageous to stay, and it can be courageous to leave. 

  8. You should not have to ask to be made a priority. 

  9. Actions reveal intent, not words. Rely on the former.

  10. If they are invested, they won’t wait for you to bring up what’s wrong. They will seek to understand you and be proactive to prevent future pain.

  11. Complacency can be fatal to any relationship.

  12. Having someone’s phone number is a privilege, not a right. Don’t abuse it. 

  13. Don’t stay where you aren’t fought for. 

  14. Healing isn’t linear. 

  15. Look for someone who is proactive, not reactive.

  16. Breaking things off via text is cowardly. 

  17. Wait until the pangs subside before sending that text or making that call. 

  18. Don’t give someone the opportunity to abandon you twice. 

  19. The bare minimum is too low a standard. We all can expect and meet better. 

  20. There is a difference between saying sorry and asking for forgiveness.

  21. If they are willing to work for it, they will ask for clarity, be patient with your needs, and make every effort to affirm their intentions. 

  22. Just because she’s making eye contact with you, does not mean she’s asking you to kiss her. Always ask for consent. 

  23. If it’s right, it shouldn’t be confusing. 

  24. Don’t start dating someone if you are not able and willing to also stop dating that person with maturity. 

  25. If they love you, they will know the things that hurt you most, and will not continue to do those things. 

  26. They should be eager to be a part of your world, and to let you into theirs. 

  27. Their intimidation or jealousy of your success is a reflection of their insecurity.   

  28. They deserve 2nd and 3rd chances. Beyond that, your kindness is being taken advantage of. 

  29. You are your own best advocate. Ask for what you need and what you want.  

  30. The breakup isn’t the painful part. Healing is. 

  31. Pressure reveals what a person puts their faith in. Wait until you've observed how someone responds under stress to seriously move forward.

  32. A special occasion is not the only time to treat someone special. Wait for someone who will look for ways to make you feel special often and will celebrate you because you are worth celebrating. 

  33. Maturity is being self aware, knowing when you’ve made a mistake, and being the first one to apologize. 

  34. If it’s all on you to set the boundaries, walk away.  

  35. Trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. 

Every December I end the year with a series of journaling prompts. One asks to list out the worst moments that occurred in that year so you can examine the common denominator and know what to avoid in the next. In my column of “worsts” this year, I had listed the names of six men. I guess I have my New Year's resolution. 

I wish my single friends the best to find what you seek, and my coupled friends continued growth and love for one another. As for myself, I’ll be taking a break from the wading pool and resetting a high bar. 



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