11 Things I Learned from Dating 20+ Muslim Men
I certainly don’t recommend meeting 20+ men in order to find the One and don’t believe it’s necessary at all (see point #9 below), but through well-intentioned advice from friends and family that I initially took, I decided to put myself out there this past year or so and this is what I learned:
1. Put stock in yourself.
You don’t ever have to change yourself for someone else to like you. You want someone to connect with the real you, so that’s who you should be. Be wary of advice from people who tell you to dress and act a certain way. Of course, have restraint and use discretion when revealing too much about yourself on a first date, but don’t put on a front either. Be authentic and present and know your own worth that can’t be shattered by anyone else’s opinion of you.
2. If he tries to initiate sexting as early as date 1, 2, and 3, run the other way.
The Muslim dating community is not immune to sleazebags. I want someone who respects me and my boundaries. If the guy starts initiating sext-like messages (10pm text — “I bet you’ve got a great imagination ;) Maybe you could help mine…”) you better believe I won’t progress things with this individual. It shows me a lot when a guy is not willing to wait to approach this boundary before a serious relationship leading to marriage has taken off. He should be willing to wait all the way until marriage if that’s what you want him to do. Sexting and early physical advances are huge red flags that show he isn’t serious at all. Stay the hell away is my best advice.
3. There’s no stigma in going online and letting your friends/family know you’re looking.
Let’s face it. Not all of us will meet our future spouse at a coffee shop by chance or at a party or through work/school. For a lot of us, grad school came and went and we still didn’t meet the One. I met most of my dates through friends, family, and Ishqr. Some people were super chill and others were not my type at all, but I never could have met this many people without the help of going online and asking my family and friends. I used to put a lot of stigma on those two avenues, but in this day and age, and especially as a Muslim looking for someone else who shares their faith, it’s practically mandatory.
4. Shitty first date? Don’t worry, you can reuse the date location if the food was good and have an awesome date with someone else.
A guy once asked me to meet him at a Mexican restaurant that had L-shaped seating where the guy had the perfect opportunity to sit closer to me rather than right across as per usual. The food and ambience were great. They made the guacamole in front of us! The guy? Boring as hell. I later suggested this as a date night spot to someone really cool I met later on and he took the opportunity to sit next to me, enjoyed the food as much as I did, and we had an awesome night. I literally took a negative experience and turned it into a positive one.
5. Don’t get hung up after a series of terrible first dates.
Rejection is a part of the process, doling it out and receiving it as well. Don’t get hung up after a string of rejecting/rejections. There’s nothing you can do about it and you want someone who can’t get enough of you and you can’t get enough of them. Realize that it’s simply just not a match. NEXT!
6. Know what you want so you don’t get swayed by every smooth talker who’s not really a match for you.
Be aware of subtle red flags and know your deal breakers. Yeah he might say the right things, but is he flaky? Doesn’t really have any ambition? No real personality or conversational skills other than trying to pick you up? You’re super responsible and he’s super lazy? Compatibility is what I look for now, although a little charm never hurt anybody if it’s coming from a genuine place.
7. Stop coming up with superficial and ungrounded reasons for why this person is the One.
If I find myself justifying why someone is meant to be, basing it on how serendipitously we met, or how we have every last thing in common, I know I’m deluding myself. Sometimes we want to believe we’ve found the right person so badly that we take every little thing and create it into a reason for why something is meant to be. If they’re truly your soulmate, you’re going to feel it on a different level, you’ll just know in your heart. Maybe not right away, but there will be that moment where you just can’t deny it.
8. Be firm and clear when you reject someone.
I once had to reject a guy I met 3 times. He wouldn’t take NO for an answer, so I blocked his calls. I met someone really awesome afterwards whom I really liked. Small world, these two knew each other and the guy I rejected told the new guy that I didn’t really reject him and he still had hope. The rumor couldn’t be further from the truth but my new beau ran the other way. The moral is, you don’t know if someone you met 3 times has integrity, is malicious enough to spread rumors, or what their maturity level is. Be cordial, but also crystal clear that you don’t see a relationship with them so they don’t create their own story. On the flipside, if you like someone, let them know! Playing hard to get is outdated and not cute.
9. It only takes one.
Despite the fact that I’ve met about 20+ men so far, I don’t think it’s a numbers game at all. You don’t have to kiss 100 frogs before you find your prince…It’s okay to be picky, because it only takes one good date to turn into one great relationship. So for now, I’ve put a pause on actively meeting people. I’m a lot more selective now, and have faith that the one meant for me will cross my path. Muktub (It’s written).
10. Don’t downplay yourself, your accomplishments, or your hopes and dreams.
If the guy in question can’t handle the fact that you bring more to the table (on paper at least), he’s not for you. I went out with guys who got hung up on this fact (and made it clear in their actions and words), and then there were other guys who never brought it up and were confident in themselves and thus I never noticed the difference anyway. If somebody really wants you, this fact won’t stop them (so stop using it as an excuse for being single as well). Note to guys who want to pursue a #girlboss: Every woman searching for “the One” wants companionship, don’t let her success intimidate you if you really like her, but know that in order to keep her interest, you should be running towards your dreams and goals, too.
11. Don’t take yourself too seriously and stay positive.
It’s easy to become jaded and cynical, especially after meeting so many people, but know that ultimately, it doesn’t serve you. If you don’t take this process too seriously and focus on yourself first and foremost, you’ll keep your natural optimism and positivity intact. If the first three things that come into your head when your hear the word “men” are: they all suck, all the good ones are taken, there’s no one out there for me or any other variation of that, please, do yourself a favor and STOP DATING! Trust me, you don’t want to become that person and no one wants to date that person either.
About the Author: Carrie is an East Coast girl who still isn’t down with the cold weather. Main addictions include sushi and coffee.