I Was Sick Of Having Short-Term Relationships That Went Nowhere, So I Did This To Change It

I spent years wasting time in unsatisfying relationships that had no long-term potential. I thought I would have to rely on luck to find a serious relationship, but I was wrong. Here’s what I did to start meeting people who wanted the same type of relationship I wanted.

  1. I took a break. After dating around for a while with no success, I needed to reset my entire outlook. I took three months to be single and get comfortable with being by myself and going out with friends. This allowed me to restart from square one and avoid falling back into old habits.
  2. I deleted my dating apps. Another necessary part of the reset was to delete all the apps I had been using to find dates. I had gotten so addicted to swiping and tapping that it had become a game. The thrill of matching with people and the dissection of every message was no longer about finding the person I wanted to spend my life with, but about ego and instant gratification. I had to take time away before I could use the apps productively.
  3. I developed a strategy for dating apps. Anyone who’s used a variety of dating apps knows that each one has its own specialty. Some are good for hookups, some are good for messaging, and some are good for finding actual long-term relationships. Instead of hedging my bets and using all of them, I picked just one–the one where several of my friends had met their serious partners. This meant that I spent much less time swiping left on an endless stream of faces, and more time focusing on a smaller pool of profiles.
  4. I made a list of red flags. Most of us lose objectivity the moment we meet someone we’re attracted to. In that state of mind, it’s easy to overlook little signals that indicate that the person may be incompatible with you. To fix this problem, I wrote a list of deal-breakers. This is a very personal process and there are no right or wrong answers; the key is to stick to it. If anyone I go out with displays any of my red flags, I cut things off at the end of that date.
  5. I Made a list of must-have qualities. It’s also useful to have a list of things you are looking for. That way, you’ll be able to spot the characteristics that really matter to you. The list could include qualities like financial stability, kindness towards strangers, or someone who speaks respectfully about their exes. Again, your list should reflect your personal values.
  6. I considered my long-term relationship goals. While relationships take on a life of their own at some point, it’s good to have a few goals in mind before you meet someone. Do you want to get married? Have kids? Wait a while before “settling down”? Get a mortgage and a dog? Find an adventure buddy? When you know what kind of partner you want, you’ll know what to look out for.
  7. I spoke openly about what I was looking for from the beginning. I used to avoid articulating my long-term goals until months into a relationship for fear of coming on too strong or seeming more interested in the person than I was. But if you want to find someone ready to be in a serious relationship, you need to show that you are ready for one too. Part of that is being direct about what your goals are. The earlier you do this, the more time you will save.
  8. I Talked with my friends. Have you ever been nervous to introduce a guy/girl to your friends because you thought they might disapprove? This was my life for several years. It’s obvious now that this should have clued me into the fact that I was dating the wrong people. Your friends know you better than anyone, and they want what’s best for you. Their input is worth listening to.
  9. I Changed my definition of a good date. I used to think that sexual chemistry and rapid-fire banter were indicative of a real connection. But I learned the magic of those interactions had a lot to do with first date nerves, the excitement of talking to a new person, and the atmosphere. Second dates were therefore usually disappointing. By contrast, the first dates that felt a little awkward and a little slow were more often the ones that ended up leading to something meaningful. Long-term attraction comes from knowing someone on a deep level, not from instant chemistry. Don’t discount people too quickly.
  10. I Didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. I used to fall in love with any nice person I went on a date with. No matter how hard I tried to be objective, I couldn’t help thinking they were “The One.” Since then, I’ve learned that the best way to find a potential long-term partner is to have options. It may seem counterintuitive to date a few people at once when you’re looking for a serious relationship, but it can help you view your options more objectively in the beginning. After one or two dates, you’ll have enough information to choose the right one.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.