For as long as I can remember, I’ve been curious about peoples’ love lives – what works, what doesn’t, and why. I was a boy-crazy teenager and a serial monogamist through my twenties, but over time, those habits evolved into a deeper fascination with the nuances of dating, sex, vulnerability, and relationships. Finally, after going through a brutal break-up on my 27th birthday, I recall thinking one thing: “I need to talk about this.”
At the time, there weren’t a ton of podcasts about dating; it was a sea of true crime and news shows. So I decided to keep things simple. I invited my friend over to my downtown apartment where we drank wine, smoked a little weed, and recorded ourselves venting about the ugliness of Millennial dating. Our conversation was meandering, laid-back, and messy, but it was also honest, and people could relate to that. I called it We Met at Acme.
...after going through a brutal break-up on my 27th birthday, I recall thinking one thing: “I need to talk about this.”
For the past five years, the show has been an unfiltered, inside look at the myriad forces shaping modern dating (ghosting, fetishes, porn, IVF, DM etiquette, even Zodiac compatibility) as well as a record of my own experiences out in the field (we covered my journey to sobriety, and later, how I met my husband). In my conversations with dating coaches, matchmakers, sex therapists, couples’ counselors, authors, comedians, and lots of friends, I’ve learned so much that I wish I’d known when I first entered the dating pool. Below, I’m sharing a few key insights that have stuck with me over the years. I hope they help you find the one.
Resist the urge to ‘DTR’ too soon. I’m a hetero woman, and a lot of my listeners are hetero women, so I’ll preface this advice by acknowledging that a lot of it may feel gender-specific. In my experience, it’s often women who ultimately ask their partners to define the relationship. And while “What are we?” is usually a fair question, it can also be such a killer! Allow things to evolve naturally while he continues to pursue you. And, most importantly, try to enjoy the ride.
Don’t rush to the finish line. I’m extremely sex-positive, so this tip isn’t about shaming anyone’s choices or encouraging prude behavior. It’s about pacing and suspense. When you’re dating, you want to give the other person a chance to really get to know you–long enough to want you in a genuinely intimate way. In order for that to happen, there needs to be time and space for tension to build. Sex on the first or second date totally short-circuits that. Draw it out.
Allow things to evolve naturally while he continues to pursue you.
Evaluate your drinking on dates. I used to record the podcast with a joint in my hand. I was always the last person at the bar. Then, a few years into recording the podcast, I decided to get sober. It completely transformed my life. Aside from feeling healthier, sleeping better, and seeing dramatic improvements in my personal relationships, it made me realize that dating and drinking are a tough match. My podcast is known for having rules about dating because I believe there are concrete ways to tell if someone is actually interested in you. Being sober–or at least, thinking clearly–is key to observing those rules. When I began dating the man who is now my husband, I was finally able to follow my own advice–to move slowly, maintain my independence, and exercise a certain level of patience–because I was clear-headed and fully myself.
Let him lead. I'm a feminist, but I’m also a realist, and the truth is that dating operates on old-school terms. Guys, for the most part, still prefer to set the tone of the relationship, whether that means scheduling a dinner date or taking things to the next level. And women are too eager to make excuses and do the heavy lifting. They say, “He hasn’t texted me yet, so whatever, I'll just text him.” My take is: Guys aren’t that complicated. If he’s into you, he’ll text you. I know that probably sounds horribly regressive and anti-feminist, and believe me, I wish things were different. But my show is about the realities of dating in 2022, and my experience says to trust the process.
If he isn’t leading, he isn’t interested. This point is essentially a follow-up to the last one, and is inspired by something I’m always telling my friends: “If you’re confused, he isn’t interested.” As women, we tend to believe that we can change someone when we should be going for someone who is already a finished product. We ignore people who say they “aren’t looking for something serious,” or worse, we take it as a challenge. But I’d like to see more women take men at face value. If they want to be more than friends, trust me, you’ll know.
I decided to get sober. It completely transformed my life. Aside from feeling healthier, sleeping better, and seeing dramatic improvements in my personal relationships, it made me realize that dating and drinking are a tough match.
About Lindsey Metselaar:
Lindsey is an American podcaster, entrepreneur, writer, influencer, and New York City dating expert. She currently serves as the host of the We Met at Acme Podcast.