How to Date as a “Late Bloomer”

Book Suggestion: The Accidental Tsundere: Dating for Late Bloomers, Loners and Misfits by L.M. Bennett: https://amzn.to/3Jvctr1

I am 32 years old and I am definitely what would be considered a “Late bloomer”. At this point most of my friends have been dating since they were teens or at least young adults, but this has not been the case for me. Since high school, I have been hyper-focused on school and work. Secondly, I never had much male attention throughout the years possibly due to the fact that I spent most of my time in predominantly white environments. For a long time, I was not interested in dating, and now I realize that I have had a fear of dating and intimacy for most of my life. My fear has pushed a few potential dates or mates away. If you are a late bloomer in the current dating world, the following tips could help.

Be Patient with Yourself

If dating is new, you may be hard on yourself to be perfect. You might also project this perfection on potential partners, or dates. Be patient with yourself and realize that having anxiety is normal and veteran daters probably have anxiety in this area as well. You may overeact to things that other people may not understand, you may panic, and you may sabotage a potential relationship before it even gets off the ground. Be patient with yourself! Remember that you cannot undo a lifetime of dysfunctional behavior in a few dates, a few months, or even a few years. You will mess up and that is okay. Just apologize if you hurt someone along the way and keep working toward healing. Recently, I learned that my social skills were stunted because I spent my childhood and my teen years alone. There were not many opportunities for me to be around kids or teens my own age outside of school, so this effected how I related socially as an adult. I cannot expect to fix my lack of social skills in a few years, so I have to be patient with myself and you have to be patient with yourself too.

Go to THERAPY

Therapy revealed many underlining issues that probably led to my late bloomer status. Many of us may have had what looked like a normal childhood, but you find out that you were emotionally neglected or had poor examples of what healthy relationships should look like. I have been my own emotional support since I was a child, which makes intimacy difficult with people in general, not just in a romantic relationship. We learned many coping mechanisms in dysfunctional households that no longer benefit us now. I plan to remain in therapy for life to continue my personal growth. If you want a relationship, you must continually work on being the best you possible and therapy can make this happen for you.

Seek out Fellow “Late Bloomers”

This may not be too easy because most people are not open about being a latebloomer. However, I am learning that being a latebloomer is more common than people think. It is just not advertised as much. Fellow latebloomers will understand what you are going through. Dating is like driving a car. The older you are when you learn to drive, the more anxiety you will have about driving. The same is true for dating, what seems so fun and simple to everyone around you in your age group, is not that simple for you. I think if people have dating experience or have been married for awhile, they may forget how challenging dating was for them in the beginning. They may not understand the intense anxiety you are feeling because they have been dating since they were teens, so this is like a driving a car for them. Fellow latebloomers will empathize and understand your apprehension.

Research

The internet may become your bestie in this area. There are many forums and youtube videos about fear of intimacy, lack of dating experience, as well as therapists giving relationship or dating advice. There are all types of people on the internet. You can find people who have little to no dating experience and you can find success stories of late bloomers as well. Sometimes getting advice from total strangers is better since they do not know you personally, so they are not biased. Research what to say on a date, what to wear, how to get a date, and, the best dating apps to use and why. Google your way to becoming an experienced dater!

Best dating apps: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/best-dating-apps

Have Fun

This may be the hardest tip because if you are anything like me, you probably overanalyze, overthink, and push people away at the slightest infraction when it comes to dating. Stop, take a deep breath, and relax. One of my friends told me recently to, “relax, relate, release.” This is a line from the 80s tv series, “A Different World”. Dating can be fun and it should be fun. Late bloomers have a tendency to run at the sign of anything out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is small in the dating world because you have little to no experience, so you will feel alarmed by almost everything. This is probably because you have not built trust with anyone other than a few close friends throughout you entire life. Get out of your comfort zone, and have fun with dating.

Conclusion

Dating can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Find yourself, heal yourself, and begin showing the best of yourself within a relationship. This takes time so please be patient with yourself. If you think you need more time to heal, just date for fun and see what happens before getting into a serious relationship. If you want to do Christian courtship, then hold off on dating until you feel you are ready. No one knows you better than you. Remember there is nothing wrong with being a late bloomer, life just happens. Certain life circumstances and situations create late bloomers. This does not mean there is anything wrong with you. It just means that if you want to date, you will have to unlock your inner self to and show your inner self through a romantic relationship.

Hope this helps! Happy Dating!

Dominique Duarte

Are you a late bloomer? If not, do you have advice for late bloomers? Comment below!

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