Five Relationship Resolutions to Start the Decade
By Kelly Neff
It’s a beautiful, brand-new decade, which makes this a perfect time to take stock of our current relationships, as well as where we’ve come from, and our future relationship goals.
One one of the greatest transformations of the past decade is how social media has become central to both finding love and relational maintenance. And while technology has brought us closer together in some respects, it has also left many of us feeling isolated, confused, unworthy, neglected, or downright unsatisfied. Has interpersonal respect and trust been eroded, only to be replaced by getting ghosted, catfished, left on read, or just being made to feel like you’re disposable or not good enough?
If you are looking to bring more authentic, honest connections into your life in 2020, then check out these five tips!
1) Try an Online Dating Detox
One of the chief barriers to finding love in 2020 remains the ways that online dating can sometimes bring out the worst in people. From ghosting to straight up trolling, spending too much time trying to find love online might actually leave you feeling worse (and lonelier!) than when you started. In fact, a 2017 study in the Journal Body Image showed that Tinder users scored lower than non-users on measures of self-esteem, with male users being the most impacted. The take home message? Social rejection can hurt, even if it happens online.
The solution? Take a break from online dating and try out Meetup.com to find events where you can meet people in person! Any Meetup you can think of exists, from meetups for people in a new city, to those who want to play boardgames or Magic the Gathering, lesbian meetups, social singles 55+, vegan meetups, gong meditation meetups, adventurers, writers, real estate investors, etc. In the quest for trust and authenticity, your ability to read body language and follow your instincts about people you meet in person will always be paramount to reading a short online dating bio and looking at a few pictures. Get off the couch and go for it!
2) Netflix and Chill Is So 2019
Speaking of getting off the couch: Whether you are single or attached, if you want honest, authentic relationships, then try to make some efforts to spend quality time with people participating in activities where you can get to know each other better! I know it’s chilly (especially in Denver!) but there are always opportunities to get outside together and move your bodies, from playing in the snow, to cross country skiing, to acro-yoga or hooping indoors, or hitting the art galleries or axe throwing. Try something new and see where it leads you. (And if you’re in a long-term relationship, then it might feel like an effort to plan dates, but it’s important to do this to keep things fresh and fun. Trust me, mommy and daddy still deserve some one-on-one adult time.)
If the only place you go out to meet people is bars and clubs, the get out and play during the DAY! It can be hard to make lasting connections when it’s dark, loud and people are getting intoxicated. In the light of the day, you will be a much better judge of character, and truer to yourself.
3) Don’t be Afraid of Doing it Alone!
It’s a new decade and gone are the stigmas or taking yourself out to a solo show, dinner or solo trip! If you’re single, you can still enjoy life on your own and treat yourself well. You don’t need to wait for a partner to do what you want! (and hey some of us with partners also have rich, independent lives and that is OK too). Who knows, you might just meet your dream person on your adventures. Make a vision board of your goals in 2020, and practice skills that get you into a state of flow. You have no idea where you might end the year compared with where you are starting it if you make little positive changes every day. And whether you find a partner or not, you can rest assured knowing you put the love into yourself first.
4) Be Nice During “Cuffing Season”
Ah, that time of year between November and March when the weather gets cold and we like to get “cuffed” to a partner to keep us warm and avoid being cold and lonely. Please remember that relationships take time to develop- If you’re not ready, then don’t jump all the way in, and be wary when someone is in “love” after two weeks. Staying with someone for the winter just because you don’t want to be alone, while fully knowing you are going to uncuff in the spring, is hardly the embodiment of authenticity (especially if you’re not being honest about it). Please be kind and speak the truth to yourself, your partner and those who are uncuffed. Support your friends and loved ones who might be struggling with loneliness (instead of rubbing it in their face).
5) Embrace Sex Positive Attitudes & Relationships
People often ask me, what does it mean to be Sex Positive? Does it mean you should have sex all the time or that you are always up for sex? No! Sex Positive is a social, political and philosophical movement that promotes and embraces sexuality and sexual expression, with an emphasis on safe and consensual sex. Being sex positive is about healthy boundaries, trust, safety and consent, including respecting other people’s rights to have the same, even if their boundaries or pleasures differ from your own. You can be celibate, single, married, polyamorous, gay, straight, non-binary or digisexual – And you can adopt a sex positive mindset in 2020.
So how does this tie into new year’s relationship resolutions for 2020? Well, if you’re looking for a mindset that emphasizes authenticity and honesty, this is the one! In a sex positive relationship:
Partners support each other’s goals and identity expressions
Partners support each other’s choices and decisions without judgement, guilt or slut shaming.
Partners practice open, honest communication about their desires, wants and needs
Both partners have the right to love their whole bodies unconditionally, right now.
If you’re in a relationship, make sure it is a sex positive relationship!
And if you’re single but looking for love, I hope you keep these tips in mind.
If you’d like to learn more about sex positive relationships, technology and online communication, Sex Positive, by Dr Kelly Neff, is out February 11, 2020.