Here's Why — & How — I'm Drastically Changing My Love Life

I dated a lot last year. Like, a lot. I had one night stands, months-long flings, and revisits with exes. But I finished the year pretty much single, and I made a lot of mistakes. I took someone back who I knew I shouldn't have; I spent way too much time with someone completely inappropriate; I hooked up with a lover's friend; and I foolishly tried to turn a fling that was obviously not going anywhere into something bigger.

I like being single, and I love dating — those first whisky-blurred nights, the butterflies, the moment your crush messages — and I don't intend to give it up. But I have given too much time this year to the wrong people, to pining over someone who would only ever invite me out at 9 p.m., or watching in horror as an ex's new relationship unfurled on social media, or weeping at a bus stop because someone who everyone said would let me down eventually did.

Dating now is a minefield of ghosting, social media stalking, and longing. It can be rough out there, and you have to feel the roughness before you realize that you not only need to protect yourself, but reserve your time for the people who are worthy of it. So, here are my dating resolutions for 2016 to ensure my personal life is fun, rewarding, and empowering — not a trial. I'm ready for you 2016.
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1 of 9
Not only will I stop looking at the Instagram accounts of the people I am sleeping with (I’m talking about checking their tagged photos and their activity; it’s fine to follow them like a normal person), but I also vow to stop inspecting their ex-girlfriend’s Instagrams. And the girls whose photos they are ‘liking’. It’s best to just not go there, or I end up reading into things too much.
2 of 9
It can be scary how long you can hold on to feelings, but some partners you get over remarkably easily, and others take months, years even. And it’s not always the depth of feeling during the relationship that dictates how the break up plays out. I can hold on to anger and resentment, and feel embittered about someone I broke up with long ago. This year, I’m going to try and make like Elsa and let it go.
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3 of 9
Sometimes I am super careful with partners; in other instances I play Russian roulette with my vagina. It's not big or clever, and in 2016, I plan to never have to make emergency visits to the pharmacy or the doctors "just in case."
4 of 9
You’ve been dating casually for a few weeks or months. They’ve met your friends; you’ve met theirs. You've had passionate nights, as well as sexless sleepovers together. Things are going somewhere, but you’re too afraid of ruining it by actually having "the talk." You know, the "Where is this going, are we exclusive?" talk. And then you get drunk, and apparently a bit of Dutch courage was all you ever needed to launch an all out investigation into what exactly is happening between the two of you. Then you wake up the next morning and can’t remember what was said because you were wasted. I have managed to do this twice in 2015. No more.
5 of 9
If you’re feeling a bit horny, it’s so easy to get in touch with someone you’ve already done it with rather than go out and actually meet someone new (the horror). And so I've found myself calling up old lovers when I'm in the mood. But every time I've gone there, I've just ended up confused. Move on.
6 of 9
Wondering when to text? If to text? It shouldn’t be that hard. If two people want to see each other, they generally will find a way to do that. If I’ve had a couple of great hook ups with someone but they’ve gone quiet, instead of running it into the ground, I intend to shoot off one message to make my interest clear and then if nothing… move on. I've given so many excuses to why people might not be getting in touch but, really, if they want to see me, I'll hear from them.
7 of 9
Sexts; unwarranted angry messages; drunk declarations of interest. If I’ve had a few G&Ts, then it is not the time to be chatting to anyone I'm just starting to date. Instead, I'll put the phone down, and if I still want to send that message in the morning, then I'll do so. (Spoiler: I probably won’t.)
8 of 9
If their prime source of income comes from fiddling with a guitar, banging drums, or whining into a mic, I am not letting them anywhere near my knickers. Where da accountants at?
9 of 9
Don’t think you’re being treated the way you deserve? Move on. I spent far too long in 2015 on people who, quite frankly, didn’t really give a shit about me. It was pretty obvious, and deep down, I knew I was kidding myself. So, in 2016 I intend to do as famous dating guru Mark Twain preached: “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” Self-respect: locate it.
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