6 Things You Should Know About Dating by the Time You're 30

Including the simple question that could save you a lot of heartache.

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Don't Assume Your Dating Status

You've been dating for two months and things are going well. You're happy, he seems content, and you told your mom about him. You're thinking this could get serious. At this point, it might be a good idea to see how he's actually feeling. A simple "Are you seeing anyone else?" goes a long way in clarifying the direction of your relationship. Some people would say you shouldn't assume the guy you're seeing is single at all, that some creeps are in relationships or married and routinely try to see other people on the side. I'd like to think those jerks are few and far between. In any case, though, it's easy to weed out the losers by simply asking whether you're his only lady.

Flowers Are a Given

Remember the first time a guy bought you flowers? Likely not. Because hopefully, many guys have done it since. These types of gestures are signs a man is thinking of you—and often. Grabbing flowers, chocolates, or other simple things is a guy saying he cares about making you happy and knows this small move will go a bit further than normal to make sure that's the case. You should not have to hope the guy you're seeing is thinking fondly of you; you should be confident he frequently is. If he's not making sweet gestures here and there, then things may not be going as well as you think.

A Man Will Not Complete You

Despite what Disney may try to tell you, you will not find everlasting happiness in a man. You won't just meet "the one" and never have a fight and get along famously with his family. Things will be tough. But more importantly, true happiness comes from self-sufficiency. If you cannot love yourself, you will not be able to love another person. Don't search for something in a man you need to develop in yourself. Don't hope he rounds out your own flaws. Get to know and befriend yourself, and let that be the foundation for any romantic relationship that comes your way.

The Chase is Fun, But Only at First

When you begin dating someone, the fact that you like him doesn't mean you should give it up. "It" in this case isn't necessarily sex. But that's one form of "it." That period when you are getting to know each other and are still unsure of what magic might be developing is fun. So no need to make it too easy on the guy when you initially start dating. Keep him on his feet; unattainable is a good quality to have at first, and the good guys will stick around and pursue you. Those who are impatient aren't the ones you would have enjoyed anyway.

Space Is a Good Thing

There is nothing sexier than a woman who is confident in herself. With that said, men tend to respect women who not only are okay hanging out on their own but desire that. I remember when I first starting talking to my girlfriend about us living together. She said, "I love you. But fair warning: I also really enjoy my own company." I was smitten, even more so than before. Space is a good thing. Saying you need to do your own thing from time to time is actually a turn-on for most men (it means that you're not co-dependent).

What's Good in the Beginning Is Good in the End

Pay close attention to how your guy behaves at the beginning of the relationship. How a man appears at first sets a precedent for how he will manifest as a boyfriend long-term. If he is flaky, dismissive of your feelings, or not respectful, don't assume you can change him. We can't change other people; we can only change ourselves. If it's good in the beginning it will continue to be good. If there are a lot of red flags you think you can "fix," then you are bound to end up disappointed.

Related Links:

The New Dating Rules

50 Things Men Want You to Know Right Now About Dating & Sex

5 Necessary Evils to Compete in the Dating World

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