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Are You Guilty Of Making These Dating Mistakes?

Dating

You would think that a word as simple as "date" wouldn't be as complicated as it is, but y'all. First, there's the dictionary definition of date—"a social or romantic engagement or outing". OK. I think most of us can agree on that. But then, if you put "What is the purpose of dating?" in Google, you're gonna see a lot of Christian websites discuss how it's so you can find out who is suitable to be a spouse or not.


I mean, that might be the case for many people, but what if you're someone who is currently happily single and just want a little company and not a lifetime partner (at least not just yet)? Then, to make things even more confusing, there's a study that was published on USA Today's site a few years ago. The gist is that 2,647 people between the ages of 18-59 couldn't seem to get on the same page about what constitutes a date and what is more like simply hanging out.

So yeah, let's start right here. When it comes to all of the dating mistakes you could probably make, perhaps the most slept on one is going out with someone thinking that you're on a date, while they're out with you thinking that it's something else entirely different. Or, to add to that, going on a date believing that he feels one way about you when that might not be the case at all.

When two people aren't even on the same page about why they're spending quality time together or what they ultimately desire to come from doing so, it's almost expected that some other dating faux pas will ensue.

Ones like what? Let's begin with some of the ones that we as women have the tendency to make.

Interrogating Him

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Last spring, Vox published a piece with a subtitle that particularly caught my attention—"Calling 911 means different things to white and black people" (LISTEN. SMH.) It was basically delving into how dangerous—and I'll throw in the word "ridiculous", for safe measure—it is for white people to call the police on us (Black people) for no good reason.

What does this have to even remotely do with the first dating mistake that far too many of us tend to make? We as a people—especially our Black men—find ourselves in unfair (and honestly, illegal) situations where we're interrogated by law enforcement. So, the last thing we need is to go on a date and be inundated with a billion-and-one questions; especially if they come with a tone and delivery like the answers are demanded and not simply requested.

Although dates should be about getting to know someone better, any information that is shared is privileged not a right. It's always important to remember that.

Having Unrealistic Expectations

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Several years ago, I did a radio interview with a pastor (yes, pastor) on singles and dating. Even with as much as I talk about sex, he even threw me off when he said (on air) that he advises high school and college-aged men to masturbate so that they won't be "too forward" with the ladies.

If you were a Being Mary Jane fan, you probably recall the time she used a vibrator before she met up with David so that she wouldn't be tempted to have sex with him (again). I get that. But is it just me or did the pastor sound more like he was trying to keep young men from being low-key sex offenders?

Anyway, the overall point is this. If I were to give advice to young women, I'd probably say in the 48 hours leading up to a date, don't watch a rom-com, reruns of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette or anything else that will have you wishing that you were going on a date that has a four-figure budget, rose petals on the floor and maybe…just maybe a helicopter.

Why? It's simple. If you go in with super-high—which usually means totally unrealistic—expectations, 99.5 times, you're probably gonna be disappointed. And get this—it won't be his fault. It'll be yours.

Rambling About Your Ex

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If you've been rocking with us over here for a while, you know that we've all got interesting insights in exes. One of us shared that she thinks it's healthy to remain friends with an ex. Another talked about how she still has sex with her ex. Another sistah shared how her ex ghosting her turned out to be a good thing. I've thrown my two cents in about what to do if you can't seem to find closure with one of your exes.

Whichever one of these stories you can relate to, let me tell you who doesn't want to hear much about it—the current guy that you're dating. Bottom line, unless he comes right on out and asks you about your experiences with your ex specifically, keep that topic of conversation to yourself. Just like you would roll your eyes if he went on and on about his past lady, it's totally understandable if he shuts down if you went on and on about an ex-boyfriend (or ex-fiance' or husband).

Ignoring Red Flags

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Not too long ago, I wrote an article about things men say on dates that are red flags. The purpose of red flags are they help you to discern things on the front end that could start off being minor irritants or inconveniences; however, if you let them slide, they could become huge issues up the road.

A man who flirts with a server in front of you, takes calls while on the date, doesn't have enough money to cover the check, expects sex out the gate, doesn't answer direct questions, gives backhanded compliments, doesn't make you feel emotionally or physically safe—girl, I could go on and on, but I think you get where I'm coming from. If something in your gut is telling you that something is off, something somewhere probably is. And to ignore that feeling could turn out to be a colossal mistake.

Not Being Open to Trying New Things

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Every once in a while, Maverick Movies (on YouTube) will capture my attention. In one of their movies about four women and their relationship journeys, a lady came really close to missing out on a good man all because he took her on a picnic instead of to an expensive restaurant. Without giving too much of the flick away, yes, his money was tight, but it was because he was investing in his own business.

The thing that was a trip about her is she admitted that, although it wasn't the kind of date that was her preference, she actually ended up liking it a lot. Moral to the story—some of us miss out on great date potentials in the real world because if it's not the kind we're accustomed to, we build up a wall.

If the man you're seeing (or are thinking about seeing) suggests something that is totally out of your comfort zone, why not give it a shot? At the very least, he gets an "A" for originality. Plus, you'll know that he's someone who thinks out of the box. I don't know about you, but that kind of man is a major plus in my book.

Falling Too Quickly

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All of us have that one girlfriend who loves being in love with love. All she has to do is meet a man, establish a mutual attraction, go on two dates and she's hopping on Pinterest to figure out what kind of save-the-dates she should send out. While we might tease her for being this way, if it's a pattern, it really isn't much of a laughing matter.

One type of addiction that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it deserves is love addiction. In a nutshell, it's the kind of people who want to be in a relationship so badly that they'll settle, put themselves in compromising situations or become so intense in the beginning stages of a connection that they run the person off.

Guys are able to sense love addicts from a mile away. If you don't believe me, ask some of your male friends how many they've dated before. Out of all of the dating mistakes I've shared, this might be the one that freaks them out the most. (If you want to take a quiz to find out if you are a love addict, click here.)

Mimicking Perfection

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I can't tell you how many married couples I've dealt with whose main complaint is the person they married isn't the person they dated. It's not because they are dealing with a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (so to speak). It's because their partner was so busy trying to be perfect that a lot of their "humanness" caught them off guard once they jumped the broom. They weren't confrontational while they were dating, so now they seem contrary and difficult. They never saw them without make-up (or wigs or weaves) and so, waking up in the morning is…an adjustment. They were always in the mood before marriage and so the many sex droughts are throwing them off. Waaaaay off.

Author Brene' Brown once said, "When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver!" What I'll add to that is perfection is the ultimate form of "false advertising" because you're presenting an image that isn't fully authentic. It isn't truly you.

Not one is saying to belch or fart on the first date but, once a true connection has been established, if you're hiding parts of yourself because you're afraid he want love, like or want you if he finds out, that's not only a big dating mistake but a serious relationship one too.

Rushing Exclusivity

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Whenever I ask my male friends about the biggest mistakes that women make (according to their estimation and experience), what tends to come up A LOT is many ladies rush things. And that ends up ruining things.

Now, I'm not talking about if you've been with someone for a year, met his mama, bought him a birthday and Christmas present and you're wondering what's up (check out "Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time?"). I'm talking about after three great dates, all of us a sudden, your online status is "in a relationship", you're tagging him in all of your posts and giving him the third degree for not calling you back or texting you every day.

The best kind of relationship is the one that organically evolves over time. Don't sabotage a good thing because you're so busy trying to get to the next chapter that you can't sit back, relax and enjoy the one that you're currently in.

Out of all of the dating mistakes that you could make, this one could end up causing you to lose what will come to you in due time. Set your standards but try not to rush the process. Aight? Cool.

Featured image by Getty Images.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Why Every Woman Needs To Invest In A Dating Roster

5 Things That Are OK To Require On A First Date

The Things Men Say On Dates That Are Huge Red Flags

So, What's A Pre-Date Anyway?

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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