So I’m going to get really honest with you.
I’m sure you’re a great person, and yes, there is (probably) someone out there for you.
But if you continue to stay stuck on doing things the way you’ve always done, or keep thinking about situations and people in ways you always have, you might never find anyone.
Adapt or die, fellow dater.
Below are five truths that will help you make this year your most productive dating one yet – no matter how hard they are to swallow.
Rom-Coms Lied To You
Have you watched The Notebook a few too many times and thought that this was an excellent example of a real soulmate relationship?
Well, here’s the problem: The Notebook lied to you about what a successful and real relationship looks like.
The idea of instant chemistry or that “spark” has taken over traditional dating only to be replaced with Tinder date after Tinder date. That spark is really just initial infatuation, and according to marriage and dating expert Chana Levitan, this infatuation usually lasts anywhere from 18 months to three years. And then what? In her book, I Only Want To Get Married Once, Chana discusses the initial spark of infatuation or lust and explains how this feeling usually doesn’t dictate long-term relationship success. There are too many other factors that happen day-to-day in a relationship and ways couples act toward each other that are far better indicators of compatibility.
So if you go on a date with someone who’s a good person but you don’t feel it instantly, let it grow and give it time before you nix a potentially perfect partner in lieu of that elusive and fleeting feeling known as spark.
Do you still have ghosts of exes past hanging around? Are you still holding out secret hope that you and your ex might reconcile? C’mon, be honest.
Even if you met the perfect person for you right now, you aren’t mentally able to commit to the new relationship and might sabotage a good thing before it starts.
Have you heard of the “White Bear Effect?” It’s when the more your try to suppress a thought, the more it comes to mind. Well, that’s your ex.
So instead of rushing into something new, take the time you need to properly grieve your ex, remind yourself why they are your ex, take time out for you, and make a new list of refined relationship goals. Then, when enough time has passed and you’ve completely exorcised those pesky ghosts, get back out there and find a new love (who won’t haunt you).
Yes, You Should Settle
Settling in our society has gotten a bad rep.
More than ever, we have an attitude that we should get exactly what we want, when we want it… even if we’ve been looking for it forever and the search is making us extremely unhappy.
Reality check: talk to your grandparents who’ve been married for a long time. Chances are they weren’t that focused on looks, education, wealth, etc. when they were seeking a mate Nope, our grandparents knew better and they knew the cornerstones to successful relationships were commitment, caring, and communication. Then they made the choice to be happy, an easy one to make as they experienced the love of a lifetime with someone who loved and supported them for who they are not because of what they do.
Lori Gottlieb highlights this in her book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, as she takes the reader along to experience her dating journey. The single 41-year-old doesn’t mince words as she provides a strong cautionary tale aimed at women, urging them to stop using up their best dating years to nitpick. Instead, she encourages them to focus on the qualities that actually matter so you can get to creating the life and relationship you want with this person.
Realistic Relationship Expectations
Alongside having realistic partner expectations, you also need realistic relationship expectations – and the guy to tell you all about it is the foremost expert on the subject in the U.S., Dr. John Gottman.
In his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, he uses his years of observing and counselling couples to highlight ways people sabotage perfectly good relationships. His “Love Lab” is the place to monitor couples. watching how they communicate with each other, build contempt, and miss opportunities to connect and create trust. He’s compiled this research into a very handy how-to book full of great anecdotes that highlight all he’s learned, which has subsequently earned him the tagline of being the guy to predict divorce between a couple with 91 percent accuracy.
But I’m a Catch
Yes, you are – and you know what else? So are a lot of other people.
People have different strengths and weaknesses and we’re not all looking for the same things in a relationship. So if you’re a lawyer, extremely good-looking, work out every day, and have a boatload of great hobbies, good for you. But unless I’m planning on getting in trouble with the law and I’m in need of a personal trainer who challenges me with new triceps exercises every other day, this might not be what I’m seeking in a relationship.
Though people go into dates with expectations, many trade-offs usually occur and people will rather have someone smart enough who is warm, caring, and wants to have a family and commit to a relationship in lieu of someone who is Nobel Prize smart but is cold and doesn’t know if they want a family or marriage.
There you have it. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. It might be harsh, and a little ugly at times, but if you can evaluate it (and yourself) for what it is and see if any of this can be applied to your life, you might surprise yourself this year by ending it off in a great relationship with someone fantastic.