In the Netherlands, abortion is freely available on demand. Yet the Netherlands boasts the lowest abortion rate in the world, about 6 abortions per 1000 women per year, and the complication and death rates for abortion are miniscule. How do they do it? First of all, contraception is widely available and free — it’s covered by the national health insurance plan. Holland also carries out extensive public education on contraception, family planning, and sexuality. An ethic of personal responsibility for one’s sexual activity is strongly promoted. Of course, some people say that teaching kids about sex and contraception will only encourage them to have lots of sex. But Dutch teenagers tend to have less frequent sex, starting at an older age, than American teenagers, and the Dutch teenage pregnancy rate is 9 times lower than in the U.S.

I endorse evidence-based medicine, and evidence-based activism.

Dx’s Dating Tips #1


I was going to put this in a giant masterpost, but then I felt pity for your dashborards. Basically, I’ve had a crappy week or two, and giving advice is something that relaxes me and makes me feel happy and useful, so I thought I’d get round to expressing some of the thoughts I’ve had.

I have to admit I did a little reading around before I restarted the whole dating thing; some advice out there is really good, some is common sense, and theres stuff out there that is just plain… manipulative.

So we start with a few things I noticed about dating that rarely get acknowledged; mainly that it’s actually important to get yourself into a good mindset before you start.

The Dating Mindset:

  1. Dating
    requires accepting that your life will change.
    In order to date, you
    need to be open to the fact that you’re interviewing to fill a position
    in your life, and that this will slowly change how you live as someone becomes a bigger part of your life. That position doesn’t have to be the same for everyone; one person might only want a casual relationship, whereas someone else is hoping to find the love of their life or the mother of their children. What matters is that you understand that the change you desire will also affect your life.

    You can’t
    expect to live exactly as you do as a single person and also have a life partner; that’s not
    fair to them; people are not accessories that slot into our life at our convenience. people who want to date without any effect on their life
    may not be ready for an actual relationship or have less than realistic ideas
    about what intimacy with another person will be like.

  2. Dating
    is also a gradual process; it’s important to focus on and enjoy the
    here and now, and take each stage as it comes
    . It is not  about what someone might be to you in a year’s time (or ten years’ time).
    Sometimes people get very enthusiastic early on, but it’s important to
    have realistic expectations from the outset; that you just don’t know what will hapen.

    This means accepting that
    right now, your romantic life is a WIP. You aren’t in a relationship,
    you aren’t loved romantically and that there’s no guarantee you’ll find
    someone. For lots of people, this can exacerbate feelings of loneliness even more than being
    single because you’re actively focusing on that deficit, and when you go through unsuccessful dates or short relationships, it might feel even more raw because you’re trying so hard.  When you’re happily single,
    it’s easier to accept that romance isn’t a part of your life, and fill
    your life around it. 

  3. Dating is a process that
    requires self-reflection about who you are, and what you need from a
    ; you can’t find what is right for you if you have no idea
    who you are and what you need
    . This will probably mean confronting some home truths about yourself. For example, I realised that I am much more of a homebody than I like to admit; but that’s fine because there are plenty of people who are OK with that. It’s not about blaming yourself or thinking badly of yourself, just appreciating what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what makes you tick. A good partner is complementary to
    yourself; similar enough that you have things in common, but can also
    work with your weaknesses rather than exacerbating them. 

    If you’ve had any recent breakups or deep relationships that have left lasting impressions, it might also mean reflecting on how they affected you, and what things you don’t want to replicate in future relationships.

  4. Along a similar vein, dating means recognising that what you were doing before is not working for you. No exceptions.  After all, if it was working out great, you’d already be sipping tea with the love of your life, right? This is not a personal criticism of you; it does not make you a bad person. We can all have patterns that make our lives more difficult or don’t quite work for us as well as we hoped. But what it does mean is that if you keep acting just as you do, and being as you are, it will be very hard to get different results than the ones you’ve been getting.

    Perhaps you never make the first move; you’ll miss out on so many people who might be interested if you worked up the courage to let them know you were interested. Perhaps you call too often and scare people away because you are a bit intense. Or perhaps you don’t call enough and people don’t think you’re that interested so they don’t keep it up because they don’t know you like them back. Perhaps you have a ‘type’ that never works for you; try to figure out if there’s a reason your type is not working out, and whether it might be good to try to see people who differ from that mould.

    This doesn’t mean doing everything wildly differently,or trying to be a completely different person. It does mean that you need to stop making excuses, and start working on creating healthier thought patterns and behaviour. 
    For example, I’m pretty shy, and I’ll never be out there snogging
    strangers on the dance floor. But I grudgingly had to admit that I have
    to assert myself more than I’ve done in a while, and make my feelings
    and intentions more clear, if I don’t want interesting people to pass me

  5. This
    also means thinking about what would genuinely make a good match for
      My tip is this: you want as few criteria as possible, to avoid
    excluding people who are perfectly nice but might fall foul of some
    minor criterion. Focus on what you feel would really make someone impossible for you to be with, and what you feel is most important to you, and try to be as open minded about as much as possible.

    example, mine were something like: 30s because I want someone with similar life experience. Nonsmoker; sorry, it makes me cough and feel sick).  Someone who is compatible with my
    political/religious leanings. For me, it was important to find someone who writes/speaks well and enthusiastically and has a similar sense of
    humor. And someone who accepts or shares my interests and nerdy hobbies because nobody wants to be with someone who views the things you enjoy with frustration and contempt. My life is pretty busy, so I thought it was important for them to have a 
    life of their own own (friends and interests) because I am a busy person and
    needed someone who can enjoy themselves when I’m working or out with
    friends. I have an idea of the kinds of personality traits that might work well with me, as well as ones that might not, but really you have to get to know people to see how well things work in practice.

  6. Talk to your friends and family, but be aware that
    you are all very different.
    There is no universal ‘right person’ for everyone; what everyone would consider right is actually pretty different.  What your friends need and want out of a
    relationship or partner is not the same thing that you will need and
    whilst their advice or opinion may be very useful, bear in mind that nobody can choose for you.

    This is why your friends and family can sometimes (with the sincerest of
    intentions) set you up with people who are totally wrong for you; they are thinking of what they think is important or suits you. For example, my relatives almost always try to set me up with people who they think are attractive, financially comfortable and just a bit taller than me, because that’s what they think I want; I care little about height, don’t necessarily share their opinion on looks and pretty much expect most people I date to earn less than me.

  7. Dating requires optimism and acting in
    good faith.
    You’re gonna meet lots of people, with the aim of having fun, getting to know people and maybe meeting someone special! It’s exciting!

    Try your best to engage other people seriously and with
    sincerity, and without letting negativity from prevous dating
    experiences weigh you down. I found it so demoralising when I’d be messaging a guy and he’d start talking about how he never had any luck with this site/app or dating in general, and the entire conversation or date becomes negative because the focus ends up on why dating is terrible. When you start off talking, you just want to learn some fun things about someone and get to meet them.

  8. Be prepared for the long haul. Finding the right person takes time. You might be lucky and meet the love of your life on the first go, or you might be in for months of meeting people who aren’t quite right, so don’t pressure yourself to get it right first time. It’s OK to get  excited if you find someone you quite like, but remember that it’s still really early.

    Remember that it’s also a learning process; you’re gonna learn more about what works for you) and doesn’t work for you) the more people you meet, and the more things you don’t work out. So you never really lose.

    Unfortunately, it does also mean that you might get hurt, but that’s the price of being known, and of caring. There’s no way to get to know someone deeply without also being open with them, and gradually becoming vulnerable. Unfortunately, that can mean things hurt more if they don’t work out. I have no advice on how to dodge that particular bullet, I’m afraid.

  9. You are enough, by yourself. You are still loved, and valuable, and amazing whether you have a partner or not, and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.  A lot of my friends are coupled, but honestly that has not made most of them treat me any differently, or make me feel awkward about it. If anything, I just feel that some of them are couple goals. However, some of my single friends report that their coupled friends can be difficult to socialse with as singletons, and within the context of a society that often aggressively pushes romantic love as an essential part of our lives, I can see why some people would feel really bad about it.

    Dating isn’t about completing you as a person, and it won’t fix your life and it brings with it a whole new set of challenges. If there are issues in your life that need improving, you’ll still need to deal with those and honestly, that’s easier to do before you start dating because dating adds another layer of drama.

    However, even a fun life can be improved if you meet someone who enriches your life, makes you happy and you enjoy spending time with. Spending time with a cool person that you like is a great feeling.

    People feel differently about being single. Some people are happy with it as a state, others aren’t, and most of us flip between the two depending on what’s going on in our lives. As someone who was happily (or even, indifferently) single for a long time, I’m all for positivity about being single. However, it’s OK if you feel unhappy about being single. It’s OK if you crave attention, or affection, or sex, or want a life partner, etc. Many people find that they feel a need for deep human connection. Regardless about how you feel about being single at any given point in time, it still doesn’t make you any less.

Feel free to add your own.

so much effort in this post

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