Ready or Not: Why There's Never a 'Right Time' to Start Taking Dating Seriously


Timing is everything. But halfhearted connections, unrealistic expectations and misaligned intentions are just some of the reasons why it can feel like you're cursed when it comes to dating.


Whether you’ve heard of it, witnessed it happen, or experienced it firsthand, the inexplicable phenomenon may be familiar: an individual dates someone, often for years, but never actually commits to them exclusively. Then, when the couple breaks up, one of them finds a new partner, gets engaged and starts a family and truly commit in other ways previously unseen. But why? It's down to more than 'right place, right time' - it's also about finding the right person.


There are many reasons why people might feel cheated by the dating game - but we should also remember that finding love is the ultimate reward, and that it is important to try to shake off the narrative of feeling 'cursed' or 'unlucky in love'. These labels are rarely helpful, and even less likely to be true!


Here are three key points that you should be mindful of, that may just be holding you back when it comes to online dating.


1. It is all about timing - but...


The act of finding a compatible companion today is more difficult than ever due to the overwhelming amount of access singles have to each other online.


The number of UK adults who are single and have never married now stands at 16.7 million. Sure - that means that there is a lot of choice out there - but it's also almost impossible to navigate: the likelihood of bumping into 'the one' and for you to be on the same page at a stage of your life is sadly minimal.


Although the timing may be right for you to find someone who’s serious about long term commitment and family, those intentions may not necessarily be shared by potential prospects who you encounter on your dating journey. Especially if you are relying upon a dating app that's saturated with users wanting different things at different stages of their lives.


The takeaway here is that we don't assume that everyone we meet is as ready as we are - but also that many people do not have time to waste - especially if they have already spent so much invested with the wrong person. Don't force connections simply because you’re physically attracted, and don’t be too hasty to dismiss potential matches without considering what they may have to offer, and their own unique scenarios.


2) You may have (unrealistically) great expectations


Have you ever sat down and written a list of your negotiable versus non-negotiable needs? If not, you should do one immediately. For starters, it will unearth the values you feel are most important in a future partner but it will also shine a light on those traits that may edge on the side of superficiality.


Self-awareness when it comes to dating is key. As difficult as it may be, acknowledging the role you may be playing into the demise of your relationship opportunities is crucial. Ask yourself, if I’m such a good catch, then why haven’t I been caught yet, especially when other people around me are finding love and getting married? Once you remove the bias regarding yourself, you may find that you open up more possibilities than you previously had.


Maybe you won't even consider speaking with a guy because he's 5ft 7, and you have narrowed your search to men who are 5ft 8 and above. Ask yourself how important details such as this truly are, when it comes to the bigger picture, and your long term plans for the future.


3) Effort is an investment


It's vital that you put in the effort. With our busy lives, it’s easy to see how tiring it could be to put in time and energy into finding someone new. Invest in your online profile and how it reflects you as a person - write from the heart and project a true image of yourself that you will be proud to put out there.


Equally, when you’re searching for a future partner - who, let's face it, could become the parent of your future children - attention must be paid to ensure that you and your potential significant other are actually compatible in the long term.


Take the time to research the platforms that you feel give you an elevated chance of finding the person that you deserve. Then, try to enjoy reading about potential matches with the same dedication, passion and enthusiasm that you'd apply to a new job, project or hobby.


And if time is of the essence, you don’t want to waste yours - or anybody else’s. Don't restrict your own chances or look back with regret; the time truly is now.