Love. It’s the thing that we’re told it all amounts to. And when you’re not in love, it can seem like everyone around you is, and you’re missing out on something. A relationship can be a beautiful thing, and the process of finding the right person can be an amazing experience too. But that doesn’t mean either are easy. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, it’s going to take work. But if you’re ready to make it happen, then this article is for you.
Invest in yourself.
This is one of the most important parts about dating, but is often the most overlooked. Everybody wants to be with someone who has it together. This doesn’t mean that you need to have everything up to your eulogy figured out, but it does mean that you have a high degree of self-sufficiency. The most important elements here are financial stability, good physical fitness, emotional intelligence, and a lust for life. It’s ok to struggle in these areas. In fact, many people do. But consider these the characteristics that make you a great candidate for a serious relationship:
Financial stability means you have a decent job. You don’t need to be the number one innovator in your field, but you need to be able to support yourself.
Good physical fitness does not mean you need to look like a model or an athlete, just that you work out regularly and eat relatively well. This isn’t about looks—it’s about long-term health. Looks are just a nice cherry on top.
Having strong emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that you have nothing to deal with from your past, but that you’re aware of your own emotions and those of the people around you. This, in turn, allows you to manage your emotions and navigate personal relationships with empathy and understanding..
When I say you need to have a lust for life, I just mean that you’re living a full life and enjoying it. Have hobbies, friends, family, and interests. Be curious about learning and keep an open-mind.
Meet people everywhere.
The most important part about finding a relationship is, well, meeting the people you might end up in a relationship with. Meeting romantic prospects online is the easiest way in 2019 but don’t let it be your only way. Talk to your family, your friends, or people in your community or place of worship. Let them know you’re single and looking. Meet people in social settings that you have already have a vested interest in like concerts, book clubs, or local political gatherings. Talk to people in grocery stores. You want to meet as many people from as many different places as possible, which takes us to our next step…
Go on dates.
Many people think: when it happens, it will happen. In western culture, love is often presented as the ultimate prize, yet we’re also sold the idea that we should leave it entirely to chance. You’d never leave your career entirely up to chance and you shouldn’t treat your relationships that way either.
Go on dates actively. Go on lots of dates. Meet all sorts of different people. Odds are most of them won’t be right for you. Odds are you won’t be right for most of them. That’s why you have to go on so many. Don’t wait for love to happen to you. Go seek it.
Figure out who you’re looking for.
Once you’ve been on a lot of dates, you’ll probably have a better idea of the type of person you want to be with. Maybe, common interests are important to you. Maybe, it’s shared political values. Or maybe, you want to find someone from your hometown. Either way, once you have an idea of the types of people you’re looking for you can start to narrow your search. Still be open-minded, but look with a bit more care.
But be realistic.
While you’re narrowing down the people you date, also be realistic. Nobody is going to be your perfect mold if you’re looking for a rockstar, actor, who’s 6’4”, lives in the Appalachian Mountains, and rides to his six figure salary job on a sleigh driven by Alaskan Malamutes. Have standards for what you’re looking for, but know that nobody will check every box you have because that’s not how people work. Love and relationships are about celebrating a person for exactly who they are, so don’t get caught up in ideals.
If you’re looking for a relationship, you need to be upfront about it with the people you date. Many people aren’t looking for committed relationships and honest communication will weed out the people that don’t fit the bill. It’ll save everybody time. Don’t waste your time or energy trying to convince someone who’s not looking for a relationship to date you. The right person will be as excited about being in a relationship with you as you are with them.
Look out for red flags.
While someone may have many qualities you like, there are certain negatives that shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re looking for a partner. There are a lot relationship red flags, but an important one to watch out for early in a relationship is someone who doesn’t keep their word to you: they break dates, they lie, don’t do things that they say they’ll do, etc. An important pillar of a healthy relationship is reliability, and this means they’re probably going to get an F in that department.
Express your feelings.
This one is difficult for a lot of people, especially for people who’ve been hurt in the past, but you need to be able to express your feelings to the people you’re dating. A big part of relationships, not to mention life in general, is dealing with your natural emotional responses. In dating and relationships, there’ll be rough patches and times where you feel like you’re soring. Your partner needs to hear them both, and so do people you’re dating, especially as you’re relationship progresses.
Trust your gut.
This one is known alternatively as the feel test. Does the connection with the person feel right? If yes, then process. If no, well, tell them you had a good time, but you’re not feeling it. There’s not a lot of logic to our instincts, but they’re often pretty keen. Sometimes you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong, but you’re gut tells you it is. Trust it.
Prepare for heartbreak and rejection…
The worst part about opening your heart is that it can be broken. And the worst part about heartbreak is that it can happen again and again. And again. And again. You get it. Heartbreak is a part of dating too.
…and get ready to do the whole thing again.
That’s right. When you’re heart is broken, it’s no excuse to give up forever. Take your time to suffer after you’ve been hurt, but eventually you have to get back up and try again. And it will happen again. But that’s part of it. Sometimes you’ll get your heart broken, and sometimes you’ll be the one to break a heart. Neither situation is very fun, but it’s part of how you grow and learn about yourself and the type of people who make you happiest.
Some of you have been searching for years and haven’t found what you’re looking for. My heart goes out to you. It’s difficult, discouraging, disheartening—all the dissess—but it’s out there. Love is a full court press. You want something, you’ve got to get it. Work hard enough and you will. It may not sound grandly inspirational, but it’s the truth: like most things in this life worth having, love is work, having it and finding it.