As we head into a new year and decade, many people are reevaluating their lives — personally and professionally. For some people that means making resolutions and for others that means simply surveying what’s going on in their lives, so as to not box themselves in with over-reaching promises.

Over the next few weeks as part of a “New Vision in 2020” series, The Philadelphia Tribune will be looking at ways people will be leveling up in their personal and professional lives, including careers, relationships and health.

Many people look at the new year — or in this case — the new decade as a chance to hit the reset button on bad habits or a chance to change their behavior to get the results they want.

We do it with fitness, in our careers, so why not it in our love lives? Certified life and relationship coach and the owner of Eli Simone, LLC, a boutique matchmaking and coaching firm, Julie Wadley says there are a few dating practices that need to get left behind in 2019.

“I think ghosting should just stop. Ghosting is when one person abruptly stops communicating with the person they were previously dating. It’s a cowardly thing to do and makes the other person make up their own reasons for the way things ended,” Wadley says. “Just being honest and upfront with someone make be difficult and slightly awkward, but the benefit is that it is a clean break, both parties understand the reason and both can move on.”

She says we could learn a thing or two from the way our parents used to date.

“I think group dating should come back. You find out a lot about someone when you are around their friends and they are around yours,” the matchmaker says. “The pressure to say and do the right thing is reduced, and it’s about having a good time and determining fit. It’s also safer; you don’t have to be alone with someone you don’t know that well and your friends can help pick out some things that you may not see at first.”

Wadley also says many of today’s dating and relationship problems are caused by a lack of self-examination.

“Two of the biggest missteps that people make are investing too soon into a person and/or relationship and mistaking what we want in a relationship for what we need. Most people, when you ask what they are looking for will list all of the qualities that they want, like a certain look or lifestyle and assume that they will come with the basics like just being a good, honest, person with the same values and outlook on life as us.

“We get so wrapped up in the aesthetics that we immediately invest all our eggs in making it work, glossing over the red flags. When the red flags get obvious, we fight against ending it because we’ve already invested all of our heart, expectations, and time into it,” she says. “We end up upset that we ‘wasted time’ on someone. The actual waste was you not listening to your intuition and ensuring that they had the basics.”

The love coach says don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve the idea of the ultimate “Black love.”

“Social media creates the illusion of perfect love and the more people think they are seeing it in others, the more they feel like they should have it too. The problem is, you don’t know what that couple has been or is going through to get to where they are now. Some people are just faking it to make it,” Wadley says. “Perfection is an illusion. It sells, but it’s not real. What is real is being in a relationship that fulfills you and complements the life that you want to lead. One that makes you a better person, pushes you towards your life goals or brings you joy.”

The matchmaker warns that dating, whether online or in real life, requires us to be just as smart as we would be meeting a stranger at a bar.

“Like all tools, dating apps can be used or abused. It’s really no different than meeting a stranger off the street. You have to be careful who you are communicating and investing time into. Some people are definitely looking to exploit weaknesses and it’s your job to not be a victim,” she says. “Be smart about how you are using dating apps; don’t give out too much information, make sure you do your research if you can, never meet somewhere private, and always have an exit strategy. This is not just for online dating, but dating period.”

Wadley says the keys to dating in 2020 and beyond will be good old-fashioned communication.

“Dating will continue to suffer as people depend more and more on technology to do things for them. My hope is that the millennial generation and beyond will find a way to create innovative ways to bring back good old face-to-face communication and connection, she says. “There is nothing new under the sun and everything that is old will become new again. I hope that this will be a ‘fresh’ concept when it comes to dating again.”

The new year can be a time for a fresh start and Wadley has a few tips to help you hit the ground running, whether you’re single or in a relationship.

“Nobody should press ‘pause’ on their life because they are single. Do something different. Try something new. Don’t wait to go on that trip, buy that house, move to a different city, or date that person you’re on the fence about,” she says. “Take chances and learn something about yourself. Have an entire ball and you will attract those who are meant to be in your life.”

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