Has it been years or even decades since you last dated? Have you tried seemingly every avenue to meet that ‘special someone’ and come up ‘empty-hearted’? Are you hesitant to jump back into the dating scene because your heart has been broken? Don’t worry, you are not alone! These days, the dating world scares many singles away. Most people don’t know what to expect, or they are aware of what is out there and don’t like the options or the odds.
I assure you that dating, as daunting as it may seem right now, is absolutely worth the effort. It is possible to find that special someone. Here are the top 3 strategies to increase your chances of finding that elusive (up until now) relationship with the right person.
- Are You Ready? I’m sure you’ve heard the following advice from well-meaning friends and family: “Don’t jump into a relationship now, you’re on the rebound!” or “You need to wait at least a year to get over your ex.” Contrary to what your friends may tell you or you may think, studies show there is no “pre-determined time period” that you need to wait after a divorce or breakup before you are ready to start dating again. You might be ready to date again right after your relationship ends. Or, you might need to heal before you enter the dating world again.
To find out whether you are ready, you want to ask yourself if you are able to trust and care about another person again. Some people emotionally separate from their partner or spouse while they are still in the relationship. When that relationship ends, they’re ready to find love again right away because they have already worked through their feelings. Other people need time to process and work through their emotions, and grieve the loss of the relationship. Despite what people may tell you, love can happen anytime so never listen blindly to someone else’s rules about when you’ll be ready to find someone new.
- Look for Similarity. Many people are attracted to their opposite. Typically this happens because we’re fascinated with people who aren’t like us. However, research studies show that similarities are what actually keep people together for the long haul. There is no danger in having too much in common with your partner. If you’re interested in a committed, long-term relationship, you want to look for someone who is very similar to you (not opposite) in underlying values and beliefs. Does this mean you have to like the same music, food or hobbies? Absolutely not. What’s important is identifying the similarities in your key life values. Partners who have compatible beliefs, values, and lifestyles stay together longer than partners who don’t.
- Identify 15 Partner Qualities. Do you know what the right person would look like if you met him/her today? Ask yourself “what do I need or want in a partner?” You should write down fifteen very specific qualities (no more, no less) that you would like in a romantic partner. It’s important to be specific because qualities like “funny,” “being good with children,” or “tall” mean something different to each and every one of us. Being specific will push you to reflect and think about which qualities you really want in a partner and which ones don’t matter at all.
Once you have your list of 15 qualities that you would like in a partner, share the list with friends or family members, get their reactions and comments, and then revise your list accordingly. Listen to their feedback about why a specific quality may not be best for you. After your revisions are complete, keep your list close to you so you can read, review, and revise it regularly. Also, keep in mind that your list of desired qualities may change over time. If someone meets about 80% of these qualities, that is very good; he/she is someone who you should consider dating.
Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka The Love Doctor®) is a relationship expert for OurTime.com, as well as a professor, therapist, research scientist, and author of 5 best-selling books, including “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship,” available at amazon.com. Learn more about her at: DrTerriTheLoveDoctor.com.