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Ashley Kelsch’s Dating Resolutions for 2022

The romance and relationship coach takes her own advice and sets intentions for the new year

As I ended 2021, I was slightly bombarded with, and a bit confused by, what “dating season” we were in. 

My social hours were dominated by conversations of people telling me it’s cuffing season and others that they were confused by the holiday edition of F-boys, along with an endless array of speed dating sessions that sounded more like networking, plus all my divorced parent friends lamenting about exes and kid schedules. (This is to be understood.)

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It started to feel like ’tis the season for dating love and relationships because I couldn’t remember a time where I heard more on the topic than this one.

On almost the last day of the year, I received a text from a friend I haven’t spoken to in some time. Before she even asked how I was doing, she asked who I was dating. Was it assumed that my response about my dating life would be synonymous with how I was doing?

Dating and relationship guru Ashley Kelsch.

As much as I love love, dating stories and all of us finding happiness through relationships, I was reminded of a commitment I made to myself some time ago: I would never love “we” more than “me.”

Now, hear me out before you call me jaded.

At heart, I’m a die-hard romantic, but I will never lose myself to someone the way I have before. The idea of falling so hard for someone that your entire life becomes them and when it doesn’t work, you don’t know what’s up or down — that’s not a good space to exist. 

I understand that you, my sweet reader, are probably already in on this but we must acknowledge that this is not what we have been taught. We only need to refer to TV, lyrics and literature to know it’s a rebellious act for any of us to put self love first. We’ve been taught to place great importance on romantic relationships and prioritize them. Even when we aren’t in them, we are talking about them.

It consumes our minds and conversations. Who and how you met. What happened next. You’re not sure how to respond to his last text. Should you end it already? What’s going on now? Did you meet anyone? Let’s go out and meet people. It goes on and on and on, but in all actuality, you have more going on in life than your dating life.

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All things being equal, I know how easy it is to slip.

I was a bit wrapped up in a little dating drama recently and was astonished to sit back and watch myself. As were my friends…. though I think they were more entertained by the show.

I went from “Why would someone ask me who I’m dating and not how I am doing?” to psychoanalyzing a text conversation line by line while drinking martinis with friends.

It’s always humbling when the dating coach forgets her own playbook. What can I say? I’m only human.

But I have found the sweet spot, and I want you to, too.

It’s called interdependence and it’s what we are doing in 2022. We’re also two stepping, but more on that later. 

It’s entirely possible to maintain a life, date, talk about it, share all the things with a person(s) and still have a sense of Self that is separate from a relationship. 

I propose as we move into 2022 that we date and have all the sexy fun, while not losing focus on ourselves or letting our status define us. Here are a few tips that can help:

  1. Me before we. If you aren’t already clear on your boundaries, priorities, values, non-negotiables and long-term life goals, do this now. Write it all out. Then, ask yourself how you came to believe and want those things. Do they still align with who you are or who you’re evolving to be? Do not date people that aren’t in agreement or alignment. It’s important to keep your work schedules, commitments and obligations. 
  2. Avoid getting lovesick at all costs. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, spinning out and obsessing over their Instagram or texts, wondering when they will call and where they are or wondering if it’s going to turn into more. You may find you have little else to talk about. It’s mentally all-consuming. To reduce the risk of getting lovesick, remain diligent in loving yourself and staying focused on your career and/or kids, while remembering it’s not worth settling for anyone just so you can have someone.
  3. Complaining about exes. You can talk about the past in a way that doesn’t leave your potential new dates wondering if you are still living it. You can bring up your ex without calling them names, insulting them or airing their personal lives. If you must, ask if you can CONSCIOUSLY COMPLAIN. Keep it all factual and limited to less than 15 minutes and bear in mind, your friends are not your therapists.
  4. Date available persons. I’m not talking about the ones in relationships (duh) but instead, those who have no time availability or emotional availability. These persons may have you questioning what’s wrong with you, but I assure you, it has nothing to do with you. People who are unavailable talk and text a solid game about wanting to hang out and making plans, but there is little follow through. They talk about their own life often, and show little to no interest in yours. Ideally, thoughtfulness, consideration and making time for one another will be reciprocated 50/50 when dating. And if you are the unavailable person dating, remember that clear is kind and your date can handle the truth more than the ambiguity, I assure you.

Ashley Kelsch, former owner of Teddies for Bettys, a lingerie and well-being store, is a top-certified coach who works with parents and caregivers of teenagers and young adults who don’t understand what their kids are talking about when it comes to gender identity and sexual preferences. She helps guide her clients from confusion and conflict to curiosity and connection by teaching them how to manage their thoughts and emotions. She has a weekly podcast called House of Other: a modern update and sex-positive education about human sexuality, gender sexual diversity, intimate justice, trauma healing, consent and loving relationships. Ashley continues to explore “your brain on dating, love and relationships” through her writing and with her private clients. You can follow her on Instagram @house_of_other and read more of her Tribeza columns here.