Ingredients for Finding a Meaningful Relationship
Even if you’re looking for “the one,” be open to love wherever it comes. This means accepting a lot of dates and asking out a lot of people. Mrs. Right might arrive in a way you never expected and come in a package different from what you’ve imagined.
Stay in the Moment
Don’t think too far ahead. It’s all too often that we get caught up in thinking of the future once we meet someone we’re interested in, thoughts such as “do they like me, will this become serious, are we going to date again,” are very common. The goal is to reduce “what-if” statements to alleviate anxiety, get out of your head, and enjoy the moment. “What-if” statements can place unnecessary pressure on your date, when you are looking for answers that address what direction your relationship is headed (at least if this is done too early in the relationship). Just enjoy the moment by mentally reviewing what has already happened, and connecting with that individual.
Don’t Become Exclusive
You may be thinking this advice is counterproductive, but becoming exclusive before you’re in a committed relationship can be a mistake. Have you ever stopped accepting dates from other women once you’ve found someone you really like? Well don’t do it! Until you’ve clarified that you’re in a committed relationship keep your options open. This way you can maintain individuality and avoid making one person the center of your world too early in the relationship. Ultimately this can be a win-win situation, by dating other people you will just confirm how much you like that “one” individual more and it prevents you from coming across as overly dependent.
3 Dates Rule
Don’t write her off… yet. Whether your first impression is that she is too opinionated, rigid, short, or heavy, give them a chance. A lot of happy couples weren’t interested in each other during their first encounter but over time they began to see each other differently. Treat each date as an opportunity and if you’re not totally sold on them, give them at least three dates to decide.
If you’re interested, act interested. Body language is a key component that communicates your level of interest, that being open or closed off. Closed body language includes crossing your arms, stiff posture, clenched hands, and frowning. When you’re on a date do a quick check-in with your body language. Drop your shoulders, lean forward or backwards, relax your hands, and smile.
If something bothers you, voice how it makes you feel. If they are continually late, forget to call, or talk about their ex too much, vocalize how these scenarios impact you. Express your feelings in a clear, non-blaming tone that invites your date to be part of the solution. Use “I statements” (I think, I feel, I want…) avoid “you statements,” this puts people on the defense. Be sure to tell them you’re bringing the issue up because you enjoy being around them (i.e. they’re worth investing in). This also helps you discover how they respond to your requests and what changes they’re willing to make.
Don’t pretend you’re something you’re not- it’s counterproductive and delays finding out if there’s a true connection. All of your quirks, different opinions held, or past experiences make you unique. The idea is to let go of the need to be perfect and try not to over-censor your comments, this allows a genuine connection to develop.
Put your Needs First
It’s true that every relationship is a give and take, but by taking care of yourself first your partner will learn that you are a person who knows their worth. If you treat yourself with kindness and respect, people around you will do the same, or they risk losing you. If you are happy and content with yourself it will positively reflect onto your relationship.