In my book, Dump That Chump, I emphasize the importance of getting clear about the kind of partner you are looking for. To succeed in finding a suitable mate, you have to know who you are first and foremost. All the latest research in successful matchmaking points to the fact that couples have the greatest chance of success in building and maintaining satisfying, long-term relationships when they are more alike, rather than different. Remember- even though opposites may attract, they may not be right for each other in the long-run. Hint: the partner you seek is probably a lot like you…
Trust your gut
This is what I call in my book “paying attention to red flags” while on a date. I find that many women are far too quick to leap into relationships with both feet without listening to the internal messages (i.e., their “gut”) they’ve gotten about a person which told them to run the other way. An example of one of these comes from one of my clients who told me that when she went on the first date with a new man (this relationship ended up being very toxic in the end) that she felt upset because he just talked about himself and didn’t ask her any questions about herself. This is definitely a red flag! If someone can’t even pretend to be interested in you on a first date, imagine how he’ll be ten years from now! So watch, notice, and listen to what your gut tells you right from the start and weed out people who show very little potential from the get-go so you can make room for the ones who have a lot more to offer.
This may sound simplistic, but as a therapist, I can’t tell you how many women tell me that they ‘become someone different’ when they’re on a date. When I ask why they do this, the answer is often, “I’m afraid if I am totally myself on the first date, he won’t like what he sees so I try and become the person I think men would be attracted to”. My answer to that is always the same: If he doesn’t like and appreciate the real you, he’s not the man for you. So you might as well start off being who you really are so that you can weed out the people who don’t appreciate the real you. This will save enormous amounts of time and energy in the long-run and you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself if you hold yourself in high esteem, rather than trying to contort yourself into someone you think is “acceptable” in another person’s eyes.
This is probably the most important resolution of them all! When you have examined yourself deeply, and figured out the type of person who would be a good match for you, don’t sell yourself short once you start dating. Many of my clients tell me that they’ve gone a lot of dates and realized that no one matches what they’re looking for, so they’ve decided to settle on one that is “okay”. I find this very sad to hear because I believe that we can, and must go for what we want in life and not sell ourselves short. Personally, I’d rather be single than in a so-so relationship. Remember however, that finding someone “perfect” is unrealistic, but finding a special someone who brings out the best in you and whom you enjoy spending time with is doable and worth holding out for.
And lastly, you need to learn to be more ‘zen’ about the whole ‘finding the right mate’ thing. There’s a reason for that saying, “All good things in life are worth waiting for”. Remember, you only need to find ONE human being to share your life with, not ten or twenty. It’s a tall order to find someone who fits the bill enough to satisfy, but it’s not impossible. It does usually take time, however. In our instant-gratification world, it’s often near impossible to go with the flow, stop to smell the roses, and wait for good things. We are used to getting what we want right when we want it. Healthy and fulfilling relationships don’t work at high speed- they take time to nurture, grow, and blossom. But when they do, they are like drinking the sweetest elixir ever! Would you rather rush like crazy and take the first guy who shows up? I’m guessing that many of you have taken that road already and it didn’t work out so well…so give patience a try.