If you’re dating to find the One, the approach is usually quite different from dating just to have fun. Dating for love requires more thought and a little more effort, but no matter what, it’s always important to be yourself and follow your gut! Here’s how to do things differently when dating for love.
Don’t date for the wrong reasons. When you’re looking for love, that should be the sole reason you’re dating. In other words, don’t just date because you’re scared of being alone or because all your friends are dating. Dating for reasons like that will usually lead you to settle with the first person who comes along. That can actually throw you off course and ruin your chances of finding someone you really do love. “People often feel obligated to go on dates they don’t want to go on. Worse than wasting time and money, you are getting burnt out,” says matchmaker Lori Salkin. “Being pickier with who you go out with limits the amount of times you have to have your friend call with a fake emergency to save you from another minute of torture.”
Be yourself. Dating for love requires you to be yourself. Unlike casual dating where you might just be looking for fun, dating for love is where you’re looking for a long-term arrangement. So you can’t afford to be anything but yourself. If you pretend to be someone else, you might not attract the person who’s right for you in the long run. Don’t worry about lying to impress other people. Just be yourself.
Set your boundaries. Healthy relationships have boundaries. So when looking for the real thing, you can’t afford not to set expectations and hard limits. Let the other person know what a healthy relationship means to you. That might include a discussion about labels, timelines, me-time, and anything else that’s important to you. When looking for love, you should look for a person who is compatible with your idea of a relationship.
Be honest about your expectations. Even though you’re still at the dating stage, it’s important to be honest about your expectations. Do you want to be exclusive? Do you eventually want to get married and have kids? Let them know what you hope for the future. It’s important to be honest about your wants and expectations, so you don’t lead anyone on who’s not compatible.
Look for someone who wants the same things as you. When dating for love, look for someone who wants the same things as you in the long run. No matter how much you like each other, it probably won’t work if one of you desperately wants kids and the other one desperately doesn’t. Issues like this don’t matter when you’re casually dating. But they will eventually cause major problems when you’re dating to find a long-term relationship.
And has the same values as you. It’s also important to look for someone who has the same values as you. You don’t have to agree on every little thing. But you should have an overall similar perspective. People who have opposing political or religious views can make a relationship work. But these differences can cause a lot of tension. Ideally, a relationship runs the most smoothly when people share values and agree on the big things.
More ways to date when dating or love
Work out your deal-breakers. Get clear on what your long-term deal-breakers are. That way, if the person you’re dating has one of your deal-breakers, you know not to let the relationship get any further. When casually dating, these deal-breakers might not matter. But they are worth seriously thinking about when dating for love, because you’ll have to put up with them for the long-term.
Remember you can’t change anyone. When dating for love, remember that you can’t change people who don’t want to change. If you really like someone but they have deal-breakers you can’t cope with, don’t tell yourself you’ll be able to change them. Accept them for how they are now, or call it quits. You can help people to improve and grow, but you can’t force anyone to change to suit you.
Be the best version of yourself. Many dating gurus recommend being the best version of yourself in order to find true love. When you’re the best version of you, you will feel more confident and happier, which will make it easier to attract an amazing partner you’ll want to stay with for life. You don’t have to be perfect. But if you do suffer from major insecurities, these can repel people who might make great partners for you.
Don’t play games. Mind games make dating complicated and can often completely turn people off. If you’re seriously dating to find the love of your life, don’t play games. Be honest and real. Open up about your real intentions and don’t play hard to get or “treat them mean to keep them keen”.
Be vulnerable. As scary as it is, being vulnerable can help you to develop a bond with a potential partner. Still remain self-aware and trust your best judgment, but don’t feel that you have to put up walls to stop the person you’re dating from coming in. It’s this vulnerability that will likely lead to you developing a deep connection with someone and falling in love.
Trust your gut. There’s no right way to fall in love, but the one thing you should always do when searching for the One is to follow your gut. Listen to your instincts as you work out which dates have the potential to stay in your life for the long term. Don’t try to force yourself to fall for someone who looks good on paper. And don’t try to turn yourself off someone you really like because they’re not who you imagined. Just go with the flow and trust your intuition to guide you.
What to remember when searching for “The One”
Even when you are dating for love, that doesn’t mean it’s going to come to you overnight. As you embark on your search, here’s what to keep in mind.
Manifesting love comes from within. Manifesting the love you want in your life starts with believing that you deserve it. “There is no trick for finding love. It is not hiding any place mysterious. We simply need to turn to the mirror and say, ‘Hello!’ with a huge smile to our beautiful selves and say, ‘I am worth it all!'” —Crystal Moore, Ph.D., relationship expert at DrCrystalMoore.com.
Focus on feeling good about yourself. Even if you never find love (which is unlikely to happen), you don’t have to be actively dating to treat yourself to the finer things. As Maze of Love founder Chris Armstrong advises: “Go shopping! Yes, I said go shopping. Finding love starts with finding yourself and loving yourself in the process. And while loving yourself is a state of mind, it is also about feeling you, feeling fresh, and feeling confident above others. So go shopping, buy clothes that give you a fresh view of who you are and why you rock!”
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while. Love doesn’t happen overnight. It can be hard to be patient and stay positive when you’re not coming across the types of guys you see as forever material, but stay strong. “Don’t let a bad date get you down,” says dating expert Kateryna Spiwak. “Instead, see if you can learn from it, then move on.” Your guy is out there somewhere.
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