It's time to find the real deal!
You’re not the only one who has invested months or even years into a relationship because you convinced yourself that you found “The One” only to feel duped later on.
Sometimes you're blinded by the love potion, a neurochemical cocktail that naturally enhances excitement, focus and attention. This leads to that giddy and happy feeling of falling in love. If you throw sex into the mix, the bonding hormone makes you feel even more connected to your partner. It's during this courtship and honeymoon phase that you're oblivious to someone's flaws, or they don't seem like a big deal, only for misaligned values and deal breakers to derail your partnership later on.
Before you know it, the magic has faded, the spark is gone and you're wondering why you just can't seem to find lasting love.
If you're ready to find and create a love that lasts, it’s time to start dating with a purpose and to be more strategic about your love life choices. Follow this blueprint to the alter!
Here's how to help you separate those butterflies from lasting, worthwhile love:
1. Identify the love lessons you've learned from past relationships.
A love lesson is an opportunity to reflect on your experiences – whether it was just one date or a multi-year relationship. Thoughtfully reflect on your likes and dislikes, what you’re willing to compromise on in the future, and your new and firm deal breakers.
Identify negative patterns in your dating behavior, and keep an eye out for these red flags as you meet new dates. It can be helpful to work with a therapist or dating coach, like me, who can more objectively identify these behaviors.
2. Begin dating with intent.
This means to date with the intention of finding your perfect match. The mix of hormones and pheromones can make it really difficult to rationally evaluate whether this new guy is a long-term match, or if he has red flags flying all around him.
At the beginning, it’s easy to put someone new on a pedestal, become attached, and get too far ahead of yourself, especially if you have sex too soon. Rein it in and use your head. It may save you from some heartache later.
3. Have a realistic view of dating.
It’s time to think about dating in a different way. Face it – the majority of relationships and dates you enter into are not going to work out. Ideally, only one relationship is going to last for the long run if you want marriage or a committed life partner. It’s about maintaining optimism and an open mind in the face of rejection and disappointment.
Not everyone is going to click on your profile, send you a message, or approach you in public. When you walk down the street and pass 100 people, are you attracted to all of them? Of course not! They aren’t all going to like you either, and that’s okay, as long as you don’t let this bruise your ego every time attraction goes un-reciprocated.
4. Be careful when you choose which dating apps to use (if any).
Online dating is a wonderful tool to help put you into contact with hundreds of people with whom your paths may have never crossed, especially when you’re stuck in your daily routine. These days, the exact same singles who you may bump into at your local coffee shop are also the ones online — it’s the norm.
But if you're using hookup apps instead of matchmaking sites, the quality of the people you'll meet will be lower, and they won't be looking for a long term relationship. Make sure you're careful about the sites and apps you are using so you don't waste your time on someone who's not interested in something serious. If you're a quality person looking for a quality partner, do yourself a favor and take the time to fill out a thoughtful and genuine profile, and avoid messaging people with blank profiles.
5. Create as many windows of opportunity as possible.
A lot of people make blanket statements like, “I never meet anyone good.” Challenge yourself and ask how many times in the past month did you go to an event and socialize with new people? Of these people, how many were you attracted to that were actually single? And then, were they interested in you too? A few factors need to align for a potential match, so the more people with whom you come into contact, the better for a chance of making a connection.
Say yes to social opportunities and invitations. Join an intramural sports team (you don’t even have to be good), head to a gym with interactive classes, volunteer, go to professional networking events, or check out sites like meetup.com.
If you don’t hit it off with anyone, you can, at the very least, still make tons of friends. These new friends will expand your network and increase your opportunity to be introduced to more people--potentially The One!
6. Be yourself.
It’s normal to be nervous and want to impress your date — we all want to be liked. But sometimes nerves get the best of you, and you wind up doing what I call “false advertising.” This is when you’re not really demonstrating who you are, but rather trying to be the person you think your date wants you to be.
Don’t give in to this anxiety. Bring your personality to the table, and be confident in who you are. The right person is going to adore your quirks.
Remember that this potential partner needs to fit comfortably into your life, too. So, tune out of your own self-talk and into what your date is saying so that you can better evaluate whether you even like him or her. Bring a positive attitude with you, and remind yourself that you are deserving and worthy of a loving relationship.
7. Have a conversation that matters.
Picking someone to love isn’t about sharing a group of friends or enjoying the same music. Don’t get lost in the excitement of the first couple dates—you need to dig deeper at the beginning of your new relationship. This means having conversations about what really matters in life, your core values.
- What is your work-life balance?
- How do you save and spend money?
- What are your family values?
- What are your sexual beliefs and preferences?
- What socio-economic status do you need in order to live the lifestyle that you want?
- Do you want children and what is your parenting style?
- Is religion important to you?
You don’t need to be able to answer all of these questions right away, but you should to be discussing these topics on an emotionally intimate level in new relationships. You will gain clarity on these values and deal breakers as they are put into perspective by dating new people and learn about their beliefs and expectations.
Save yourself the heartache (and headache) by exploring these factors early on. It’s more difficult to breakup after you’ve invested time, energy, love, commitment and finances into a relationship.
This is basically the blue print to finding and landing your perfect match. "The One" is out there, but it's your job to put in the effort to find this person!
Feel stuck in your dating journey? Work with Samantha