The State of Dating For Millennial Women

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Feb. 13 2013, Published 6:33 a.m. ET

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“I am at the point where I want to enjoy another individual’s comfort and vibe. I am not looking for marriage or anything right now,” those were the words from my little sister Nadine — similar to the thoughts of a lot of women these days. It was our usual heart-to-heart conversation, Nadine and I exchanged stories of steamy nights that would make our mother blush. Although we are a few years apart, we came to the conclusion: dating was thrilling, daring and downright exhilarating. It becomes complicated, too, when you involve the opinions of others. Those thoughts can make you operate from a fear-based space, lose focus on the relationship you are developing with your partner and give into the Millennial woman’s age-old question: “Where are the available men (that you actually want to date)?”

Love is geography and your location (culture) molds your expectations.  Laurie Essig of Forbes Magazine states, “Dating is a pretty modern affair. You need urbanization, leisure time, a consumer culture (e.g. restaurants and movies to go to) and a very modern idea that a woman ought to have some say in who her husband will be.” Therefore, observing what type of men are in your environment gives you a chance to gamble with the ratios.

It is believed: “Millennial women have taken it for granted that they will pair up with equal partners. But increasingly, there aren’t enough of these men to go around. Women now outnumber men on college campuses, and single, childless women out earn their male counterparts.” But most important factor to consider is, you will always win no matter your dating outcome with a person. Not every man you meet will make boyfriend material but all men can give you insight to navigate the dating scene better.

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It can be heard throughout city streets, restaurants and in the office regarding professional women: “They have this list of qualities (smart, has a job, knows something about culture or the world, etc) that seem pretty reasonable, but so few men meet the requirements,” says Melanie Shreffler, a marketing consultant on Millennial culture in an interview with Forbes.

“Going back centuries, it was just a contract between two parties. Love and even friendship or liking each other weren’t important. If you were lucky, they developed over time. But now, we think we can find a guy who will be our best friend, our other half, who we will love before we marry. Finding that in a guy that we also find attractive makes the probability of finding a “good match” even less.”

But, we’ve heard all this before, so what can you do about it? How can you change your dating karma? Creating a dating intention never hurt anyone. It makes a good qualifier when deciding what you want out of your dating life.

“I make sure to understand what it is I am trying to get out the date before I even go on it,” remarked Tiffany C. a 23 year old photographer.

“The kind of guys I am interested in, attend events I am interested in. They are at art shows, events at museums, local music showcases, etc. Not to say the dudes who attend all of these things do not frequent the club but the circumstances which we engage in are different,” added Monique H., 23, a Graphic Design Artist.

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When the dating gods grant an available male of your choice and desire, what is a woman to do? Here is some keen insight as well as honest responses from Millennial men:

1)  Do not create a novel out of romance.

You and your partner are not characters in literature. When one believes in images and compares how her love story is “suppose” to go to that of others, it is a telling sign of emotional infancy. Do not limit what you can create with another person based on what the Joneses are doing.

“I expect a woman who is comfortable with herself and knows what she wants. Best way to attract a guy, in my case, is by being honest and straight-forward. It is nice to put down my girl-talk decryption device and simply talk,”says Brandon Jean, 23, a Literacy Instructor.

2) Develop your survival skills.

Becoming domesticated is not for men but for you. Life coach Triena Parham believes when a woman acquires certain domestic skills it shows she is able to function independently without depending on restaurants or cleaning services to help manage her household unit.

3) Invest and love the life you live, first.

It is easy to turn the person you are dating into an emotional crutch. Understand what makes you feel co-dependent or inadequate.  It will help you genuinely appreciate what your significant other has to offer you; rather than you depending on him to make you feel good enough.

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“I look for a girl that is family oriented, open to new experiences and generally friendly. She has to know how to dress and put an outfit together. All guys like having that pride in their woman when they are out together.  It is important to have a girl with ambition because it is good to know you have someone grinding as hard as you. You both will be able to pick one another up when you get frustrated or tired of fighting for your dreams,” adds Phelan M., 25, a Legal Assistant and actor.

4) Cultivate a sense of self- worth.

Focus on what sets you a part and craft the woman you want to become. Building your brand takes continuous effort; never become lazy with developing the force to be reckon with, who is ultimately, you.

“A man just wants a woman with a sense of humor.  If you can laugh and have fun with a person, that is the easiest way to be attractive. I also think most men might not know it, but I think all men want women who play, “hard to get.”An elusive woman is attractive. The best way to build attraction, and I think this goes for any gender, is to delay social gratification just long enough to keep the person always looking forward to you. No one says, “Sandra is sexy because she instantly texts back, or always answers her phone, or responded to my FB friend request instantly.””The longer the journey the sweeter the arrival.” I think that’s true for attraction, especially when “the arrival” is not sex, it could just be a first date.” – Jordan P., 23, Manager

Remember: “When you read, ‘Here’s what to do to get your man to stay,’ or to love you, there’s an outcome you want,” Dr. Hendrix states.

But when you create something real with a real person, you will have the outcome you need. Happy Dating!

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