Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.57.22 PMToo often I hear women enter the dating realm with high expectations, rather than living in the moment.

In my opinion, dating is an opportunity for you to learn about—drum roll please— you! Recurrently, I hear the same conversation, which usually sounds something like, “I went on a date with such and such he’s so cute I can definitely see myself with him.” Keep in mind this was just one date. Immediately women make the rash decision to stop dating and put too much pressure on themselves as well as the man courting them.

Dating should give you the opportunity to work on your communication skills and establish socialization confidence. It is an alternative way to hone in on methods to improve how you associate with the opposite sex. For example, if you are an introvert looking for external sources of stimulation, dating can help you step out of your shell. You can learn how to shake your quiet, reserved temperament by schmoozing with different personality types, while improving your confidence.

During this dating phase, you are allowing yourself to broaden your spectrum of suitors. Seldom do women step outside of their comfort zone to date a wide range of admirers. How do you know what you like or don’t t like if you have not tried it at least once?

This period is also the opportunity to reevaluate your standards and/or set new ones. Following the end of any relationship, women tend to think about what went wrong. Instead of focusing on the negative, assess whether or not you set the bar for how you want to be treated. If you never set your standards or was fearful to do so, now is the time to exercise your power. You have to teach someone how to treat you, and what better time than on a date with a new individual.

The best part of this phase is you are not obligated to anyone. You have your alone time to reflect and grow. I’ll admit perhaps you can work on setting your standards, communication skills, etc. alone, but as A.R. Bernard, senior pastor of Christian Culture Center located in Brooklyn, N.Y., said, “We cannot grow in isolation.” For one to enhance their levels of interconnectedness is by, well, connecting with others.

Women are providers, nurturers, who often spend more time caring for others than themselves. Taking this moment to be selfish and date is encouraged, especially if you have no dependents who rely on you.

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