When it comes to love, 2021 has been my best year yet. I fell in love with my teenage crush, I became more loving to myself and overall, I have learnt so much more about relationships. These 13 tips in particular have helped me; I believe they are valuable considerations for you to use to improve your love life in 2022.
1. Don’t stick to your ‘type’
Dating types are usually very limiting. And often, not necessarily “right”. Haven’t we all heard a story about someone who swore they would only date tall, dark and handsome, only to have fallen for a guy with blue eyes?
An article on Brides describes how our type can be based on multiple factors including early childhood experiences, past relationships and life situations (where we often socialise). So the image of our ideal partner might not actually match up with what we really want. While I’m not suggesting you say yes to every Tom, Dick and Harry, if you keep an open mindset, you’ll increase your chances of finding what you’re after.
2. Switch up your dates
I started a series on my blog called ‘Unique Date Ideas’. So far, me and my boyfriend have reviewed simulator cricket and a tea workshop. We have also enjoyed visiting beautiful towns, taking hotel breaks, trying an escape room, going to a conservation centre, watching the football at a stadium. When we’re at home, we like to experiment in the kitchen (tapas most recently).
For years, I only ever went to bars and restaurants. I highly recommend going on more adventurous dates, whether you’re in a relationship or in the early dating stages. Unique dates create more fun and diverse memories.
3. Write more love letters
Most of us have busy lives. We’re multi-tasking between work, friends, relationships, side-hustles, fitness, hobbies. All those tasks can make us forget to check-in with our partners and take the time to express our appreciation. And if you’re like me, sharing your emotions out loud isn’t something that comes easy.
Love letters remind the people we love how much we care about them. They’re a great pick-me-up whenever your partner or friend is going through something difficult.
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to pen one. If you struggle with what to say, lists like ’10 things I love about you’ can act as a great guide.
4. Rely on your own love life advice
That probably sounds strange coming from a relationship blogger. However, what I share is merely a source of guidance. Something that you relate to or gain a different perspective on.
It’s important to trust your own instincts and listen to your own voice.
Many years back, I met someone who thought love wasn’t a big deal. They much preferred the idea of being with someone who could offer financial comfort and stability. Whenever she asked for my opinion, I would offer a critical response. My advice wasn’t the best because it wasn’t tailored to her, it was tailored to me and my beliefs.
Rarely are friends able to take themselves out of the equation when they share advice. Their input is usually based on what they want out of a relationship. Plus, they only have a small insight into what’s actually happening. Unless you’re in a toxic/unhealthy situation, I believe we have the answers deep down and it’s a case of trusting ourselves enough to follow through on what we feel.
5. Don’t wait for fate
If you want to improve your love life in 2022, take action. I know it’s romantic and charming to imagine that one day you’ll stroll past your local bakery and bump into Mr. Perfect. You’ll be in a coffee shop and Mrs. Perfect asks to sit on your table. I mean, sure, if you’re the type that wins the lottery, that could potentially happen.
Realistically, you have to take action to find love. In the same way you job hunt to find a new career and network to make new friends. Rather than waiting and trusting in, ‘if it happens, it happens’, put yourself in new situations for something too happen. Be active online, say yes to invites, go to events you tend to shy away from. Put yourself in places where you’re constantly meeting new people.
6. Be your own self validation
Throughout my twenties, I relied on other people to give me validation. First it was through men and then through social media. Validation can feel like a drug you constantly want to consume. I remember playing stupid games with guys, asking them if I was pretty enough or if they’d seen anyone better looking. (Cringe!). I had such low insecurity that I couldn’t cope without ongoing attention.
Part of why I’m in such a good relationship now is because I’ve worked and continue to work through these issues. Poor self-esteem can really impact couples. Mind Body Green looked at a study that found people with low self-esteem can misinterpret ‘positive affirmations from their partners.’ They’ll interpret a compliment for instance, as something critical.
7. Date without pressure
When I first started online dating, I put pressure on myself to be perfect. It was about making sure the date liked me enough as opposed to figuring if we were a good match or not.
Dating in general can be extremely stressful. There’s the fear of rejection, the feeling of disappointment, the need to sell yourself. If you remove that pressure, you’re more-likely to enjoy yourself and have better dates. What if dating was simply two people talking over coffee? Not two people judging each other and deciding if they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together.
Consider treating your first and second dates more casually. Try to hold off from grand expectations.
8. Support your partner’s victories
In a large social group, I witnessed a woman completely shut down her partner’s achievement in front of all his friends. Her partner confidently discussed a proud moment which she carelessly dismissed. You could see the embarrassment etched on his face.
Regardless of whether you think a goal or a victory is boring or unworthwhile, if it matters to your partner, why not cheer them on. I know my boyfriend doesn’t care about social media and has little interest in dating tips, but it means a lot when he congratulates me on a new blogging goal or praises an article.
9. Accept your feelings without judgment
Seeds for the Soul is a fantastic book by Chuck Hillig that offers many nuggets of wisdom. One that struck me in particular was a section on how our feelings don’t actually bother us, it’s how we think we should be feeling. For example, if you go through a bad break-up, you may feel hopeless and lost. But instead of accepting that feeling, you might feel angry and annoyed that someone has made you feel so low.
To improve your love life, think about the relationship you have with yourself. How often do you blame yourself after a break-up or become self-critical after rejection?
10. Accept people as they are
While we’re on the subject of acceptance, here’s a reminder that you can’t change people unless they want to change. I have a friend who for the past year, kept going back to a guy she believed would eventually commit. Although he only gave her his word and demonstrated little physical change, she was determined he’d one day alter his habits and become the man she wanted. It’s a story I know personally all too well.
I’ve learnt that it’s our job to love someone as they are and not how we want them to be. The people in our lives are not tissue paper; they don’t mould and crinkle to how we decide.
11. Look at rejection as a new direction
Project Love share an amazing quote on rejection: ‘Rejection isn’t failure, it’s just feedback’. I’m grateful today that every person who rejected me decided to reject me. Because for whatever reason, we weren’t compatible.
At the time of course, rejection feels awful. It can be encouragement for a negative voice to crawl through our brains and say:
* This proves your unworthy
* No one will ever love you
* You’re not capable of making someone else happy.
When you face rejection, try to avoid digging yourself down this type of hole. The truth is, rejection takes us a step closer to finding the right person. Rejection helps us understand what we want and what we want to learn about ourselves moving forward.
12. Initiate more often
I never thought I liked surprises until my partner began spontaneously holding my hand and putting his arms around me.
My love life has really improved since paying attention to the balances in my relationship and friendships. If a friend for instance, has reached out to me first, I try to make sure that I then contact them first when we next speak. Or if my boyfriend cooks a nice meal, I try to surprise him with a nice dinner. It doesn’t have to be so back-and-forth – that can quickly become a points game of who did what when. But trying to keep a balance let’s people know that they’re a priority.
13. Stay the same
I love change. Change is arguably inevitable and apart of growth. With that said however, there is decisive change and then there is change that happens because you lost track of your priorities.
As an example, I care about having a balanced diet and staying active. But in my relationship, I stopped exercising regularly and began snacking on foods I would usually eat here and there. I used love as an excuse to relax. A friend told me about someone who use to be incredibly active and enjoyed going on different adventures. But a few years after being in a relationship, they suddenly stopped.
There’s a difference between meeting someone whose lifestyle inspires you to adapt yours, to letting your love life impact the hobbies and goals that were a big part of your life.
Which of these tips to improve your love life in 2022 is your favourite? You can read more of The Style of Laura Jane via my newsletter below or through following me on Instagram. Let’s connect!