What Should I Know About Myself Before I Date? A Checklist

Sometimes dating just seems like the thing to do. Even if you arent following a traditional life path of a good career, marriage, and children, you probably still feel some kind of dating pressure whether that is pressure to settle down or to finally just get a date and bring someone home for the holidays. This checklist will give you a few questions to help you figure out what you want when it comes to dating which means you can be more targeted in your approach and find your perfect match.

  1. How much time do you have?

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This is very much going to depend on what point in your life you are at. Maybe youre busy with school or with a new career, maybe you have caregiving responsibilities, maybe you do shiftwork, or have the perfect WFH 9-5. The amount and kind of time you have to date is going to really influence who and how you want to date. Its also going to determine your radius for how far you can travel to date someone. If you dont have a car and dont have a lot of time, long distance is probably going to be really difficult, and even an hour away can be long distance if youre crunched for time. Although, maybe youd prefer having something where you go all-out on the occasional long-weekend. If youre more relaxed though, you probably want someone with a similar amount of free time so you can quickly figure whether or not youre compatible rather than having the occasional date only to figure out after wasting three months that you wont work out after all.

  1. What drives you?

This is the big GOALS question. What kind of job do you want to have? Do you want to travel? Where do you want to live? Do you want kids? What does a fulfilling life look like for you? Your potential date doesnt have to have the same answers to all of these questions as you do if your goals are compatible or if your answers to these questions leave room for something casual and shorter term. Still, these things will be important to how you navigate a relationship because ultimately even if you dont want a life partner, whoever you are with will have to be compatible with the goals you identify.

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  1. What are your important values?

Values are different from goals. Goals are where you want to be, but values are who you are now and what is important to you. Once again, the person youre with doesnt have to have the exact same values you do, but their values need to be compatible, at least where your values are strong. It might not matter as much for a more casual relationship, but if you feel really strongly about something, it might. For instance, if youre a vegan and your potential date only does steakhouses, then even a casual fling seems doomed to failure. Some other values to interrogate about yourself can be things like your political leanings, religion, attitude towards parents and family. and many more. As weve seen lately too, these values can play out in interesting ways. For instance, there are lots of couples that broke up over COVID vaccines and masking. So make sure to do some soul-searching before you put yourself out there, as many of your deeply held values may turn out to be dealbreakers.

  1. What are your priorities?

Okay, so we have the goals, and the values and the where-we-are-at-now but how do we prioritize these things? You will have your internal ranking system about how important your job/school/future goals/values are to you, even if you arent 100% sure what it is. Maybe you want a life partner, but you are also super into your miniature painting hobby and so you want someone who is okay also having a lot of time apart. Maybe youd love to travel overseas but are worried about one day needing to care for your aging parents. Figuring out your priorities when it comes to ranking the things that are important to you is also important to determining how a partner fits into that ranking scheme. Some people might tell you your partner always has to be priority #1, but personally, we think its okay if you rank your partner lower as long as your partner is on board with that as well! Its all about matching those expectations. 

  1. What kind of relationship appeals to you?

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Maybe youve spent your life as a serial monogamist, maybe youve never even kissed someone. Ultimately what kind of relationship do you dream about? It might not be not the same thing your friends have, or what your family might want you to have, but maybe it is. The point is, theres no judgement here. Whether you dream of a one-night stand or of taking things super slow and delving into the deep stuff, thats entirely up to you. Whats important is that you stay true to what you want and really think about it rather than letting expectations you dont care about influence you. 

Self-knowledge is a hugely important first step to dating, and your date will appreciate you knowing what you want and moving forward with those desires in mind. Having this sketch can help you be discerning on dating sites and let you pour your time, energy, and dreams into what you really want.

Here at Mate Machine, we are committed to helping you find your perfect mate.

MateMachine is a Vancouver-based Technology start-up that has invented a unique secret crush search engine that can be used for connecting with the ones that we already know and have hidden feelings for. This happens through a unique and innovative search engine and is usable by anyone.

This work was supported by Mitacs through the Mitacs Business Strategy Internship.

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