Valentine’s Day is filled with meaning for everyone who cares about love. Often, it’s our relationship status that dictates how we approach the holiday. Like me, your cynical side (maybe rational side?) probably speaks to you about how it’s all media hype; that somehow buying into it is being herded like sheep all the way to your Visa account.
Being single in this love-crazed mentality makes it difficult to feel anything other than disheartened, lonely, and even embarrassed. But being in the wrong relationship is much worse, and we can all be subject to the “grass is always greener” state of mind. So if you have found your way out of a bad marriage or relationship there is a lot to celebrate.
What we all really want is to be in a truly loving relationship--and that is not only possible, it’s probable if you do what it takes.
First, you have to clear your heart of all the hype, and fill your rational brain with a plan. Your search for love is like any other search for something of value in your life. Here are my 3 essential dating tips that every single person must master to get out of the habit of being single and get on with finding the love of your life!
Widen your proverbial net. We all have our laundry list of what we wish for in love. Our potential partners in love have their wish-list too. The reality is that when we choose our partner, we don't “get it all”. We all have to make some compromises. In my work as a dating coach, I ask my clients to make a list of their “must-haves” and “non-negotiables”. Unfortunately, most of these lists are impossible to achieve. No one has ALL of the qualities we want. And remember that when we think about accepting someone else’s baggage, they will also be accepting of ours.
After reading these lists, sometimes I feel like tearing them up and saying, “Now we can talk”! Once I have a sense of your “ideal” mate we can have the “real” talk about what’s out there. And that means widening your net and opening your mind to love.
I read an article recently about women and their experience searching for love. On their lists being short was at the top of the list (not to mention bald) of non-negotiables. What I can tell you, having gotten recently engaged to the man of my dreams who is my height (5’5”) and pretty bald, I was in disbelief. I am happier than I could have ever predicted. BUT the only way that was possible was if I set my list aside and allowed my heart to fall in love.
It’s one thing to have those expectations when we’re 25 (and even now, how many of you have been in a horrible relationship with a tall guy who had a great head of hair?). But when we’re 50 and up--and wanting to find lasting love--our thinking must be more flexible and our priorities re-evaluated.
Evaluate your priorities. Ask yourself how important finding love really is? If you don’t make time in your life to date, you will never find someone special. It really is that simple. You have to make time in your life to go out on dates, get to know new people, take care of your body, your mind and even your heart.
Sometimes that means seeing a therapist so you can move past an old love. Sometimes that means getting healthier so you attract the kind of man you really want. Sometimes it means getting a makeover or some new clothes so look as excited as you feel about the new person you’re dating. And sometimes it means passing on a time consuming new project or volunteer opportunity because you simply can’t fit it into your life AND date.
However you slice it, what is necessary is to clear some space in your schedule so you can explore life to its fullest as a single person.
Date Against Your “Type”. We all have a “sense” of who we want to spend time with, which of course includes important qualities on our “list”, but also includes unconscious impressions that our brain makes snap judgements about, both positive and negative. Maybe this is how so many of us have patterns of choosing the wrong person time and again, even to the point of dismissing undesirable qualities because “other than that he’s perfect!”.
One answer might be to investigate people who aren’t your “type”, like the guy who doesn’t turn you on because he’s “too nice”. Or the one who is more soft spoken and gentle and seems less “masculine”. Or perhaps has blue eyes, instead of brown.
The wisdom here is to NOT let a list or a lack of immediate chemistry push great men away. It is through the experience of dating- even someone who isn’t intuitively “for you”- that you will learn what makes you happy--and happiness is rarely guaranteed even IF a man is 6’ tall.
Thinking about it, if it’s between a man who looks good on paper vs. genuine happiness, the smart woman picks happiness over her list.
As you consider your New Year’s or your Valentine’s Day plans, ask yourself if you’re really serious about love? And if the answer is YES, which I think it is, follow these 3 tips and take a risk to walk away from the plans you thought would bring you happiness, and move into some action steps that really can bring you love. And believe me, it works. By following these tips, long before sharing them with you, I found the love of my life. You can too.
Dr. Sue Mandel is a psychologist and dating coach who specializes in relationships and the psychobiology of love. She brings 27 years of unique experience helping individuals and couples find and keep love in their lives. To schedule your FREE 20-minute consultation contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.