We all have our own #datingtruths. But there is one #dating truth that we all know, and hear all the time. The one thing that our friends, relatives and work colleagues will all tell us when handing out dating advice: don't rush into anything. Take it slow.
In most cases, that's good advice. But I ignored it anyway. Now, I sit here a married man. Me and my now-wife met online, moved in together after knowing one another for six months, and got married just over a year and a half later.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'm utterly insane. No-one said it to my face, but I'm sure plenty of people I know thought the same when I told them we were moving in so soon, and then getting married.
Of course, doing things so quickly won't work for everyone, but I've learned a few things from my whirlwind romance.
1. Know what you want before getting into anything serious
This sounds self-explanatory, but you might be surprised by how many people get into #relationships without actually knowing what they want. Are you looking for a few fun, casual dates or a serious long-term relationship? Do you want a traveling partner or a homebody to settle down with? And, just as important, does your potential partner want the same things as you?
When I was using an online dating site, I would frequently meet up with women only to discover that we weren't on the same page with what we were looking for. It's best to be certain about what you want - and to be up front about it.
2. Know yourself, and accept yourself
I had been single for 5 years before I embarked on a relationship with the woman who would become my wife, and she'd been single for a couple of years herself. These long stretches of singledom can cause their own problems (you can become very stubborn and set in your ways) but they also have advantages.
Our time by ourselves meant that we are certain of who we are, and what we want from life. We are both secure enough in ourselves not to be insecure or jealous (even though we both carry the scars of bad treatment in previous relationships) and we're also content enough to have our separate alone time (even while living together). We also don't always need to be in each other's pockets. This means that our relationship is solid, and pretty much unshakable.
3. Don't worry too much about your baggage - it won't put off the right person
We all carry around relationship baggage, whether we admit it or not. My biggest suitcase (and I realise I'm stretching the analogy here) is my disability. I suffer from Cerebral Palsy, a neurological condition affecting movement and coordination. CP does not affect any two people in exactly the same way, and I suppose I'm one of the 'lucky' sufferers in that it just affects the way in which I walk. I can walk, and talk, and otherwise move without any impact from my CP, and it's never stopped me doing what I want. I've been to university, I have a job, a close circle of friends and I'm happily married. But, for a long time, I thought this would hold me back romantically.
This seemed to be the case particularly online. Most women who showed an interest in me on the dating site would find their interest dramatically cooled once I mentioned my disability. However, when I told my future wife, she didn't care. She liked me for me, and the way I walked made no difference.
It was the same for her with me. She suffers badly with anxiety, and has always had difficulty connecting with people. On our first date, which took weeks for her to agree to and which, I learned later, she almost didn't turn up to because of her nervousness, she was so anxious she could barely speak. She spent the first 20 minutes or so in almost total silence (I now joke that those 20 minutes were the happiest of my life) but I didn't care. I knew from the messages we had exchanged online that she was interesting and funny, and was I happy to wait for those traits to show themselves.
The point is, everyone has baggage and imperfections, but the right person will be able to look past them and see the person that you really are.
4. If it works for you and your partner, go for it!
Our lives are full of dating advice. Hell, I'm giving you some now. But there's only one that really matters. If something works for you and your partner, then go for it. Moving in together so soon, and getting married, felt right for me and my wife, so we went for it. For others, taking it much slower is the right way to go.
I know couples that were together for years before they moved in. I know couples who have been living together for decades, but have no desire to get married. I even know couples who work together and live together, so they spent virtually every minute of every day together. But I also know couples who work long hours in different jobs with unsociable hours and can go several days without spending quality time together. What I've learned from the variety of situations is that those circumstances work for those relationships. There is no 'one way' of doing things, meaning there's no key to a successful relationship. Or if there is, it's this: ignore the advice, and do what is right for you. I did, and it's the best decision I ever made.
What #DatingTruth do you want to share? Leave a comment below with any advice you've learned from dating.
Image sources: Giphy and Pixabay