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Will I Ever Find "The One?"
You've tried online dating, singles groups, speed dating, and even considered hiring a matchmaker. You've lost count of all the articles you've read on how to attract and flirt with that interesting stranger, best places to meet people, tips on writing a great personal ad and effective relationship communication--to name a few. You know you have a lot to offer and everyone tells you what a great catch you would be for some lucky guy/woman. You are successful in your career or at least on the right path, and feel you are really ready to meet that right person. So, what are you doing wrong?
Let me begin by stating that I'm not sure this is the question folks should be asking themselves because it implies that they are doing all the wrong things--and that doing the right things will change their luck. My guess is that many of you have taken some great steps, made wise choices and been persistent and creative, yet, still no relationship gold was to be had. So, let's begin with the assumption that you have not been wrong--just in need of looking at your dating and relationship challenges in a different way.
Experience has taught me that certain elements are more critical than others when it comes to successfully finding, building and sustaining a healthy and satisfying intimate relationship. These include relationship readiness, taking calculated risks, going beyond your comfort zone, and increasing your self-awareness and self-confidence, to name a few. Read over what I have to say about each, and give them some real thought as I offer my perspective and best tips for addressing each one.
* Relationship Readiness
Relationship readiness is not about age, marital status of friends and peers, income level, or the feeling that you should be in a committed relationship. It is about being adequately capable of handling the many challenges, changes and unforeseen occurrences that come with every healthy, intimate relationship.
If you find yourself feeling the pressure to get into a relationship because you are lonely, all your friends are coupled and moving on, and/or you are uncomfortable with always being the fifth wheel in social situations--step back, take a deep breath and examine your true readiness for this step.
Begin by asking yourself if you know what you want from a future partner and relationship. Think about your values and life/personal; goals- and what kind of person would mesh well with these. Next do a review of your dating and relationship history. See any troubling patterns? Are you often attracted to the wrong kind of person? Are there leftover issues from a past relationship that need to be dealt with? Are you lacking in any real experience? If so, why? Your answers will tell you if you need to work on these before taking the very serious step of making a commitment to a new relationship.
Now, take an inventory of your self-esteem, and ask yourself the following questions. Do you like yourself? Are you accepting of your flaws yet open to working on them with the goal of being the best you can be? Are your forgiving of both yourself and others? Do you have a positive view of the world and the life you have created for yourself? Do you know yourself well, and like what you know? If not, what can you do to make a positive change in your self-worth? Positive people are VERY attractive to others. Feeling good about you is key to attracting that right person.
Take my relationship readiness quiz located on:
* You always meet someone when you are not looking
Where does this expression come from and does it have any truth to it? I think it does, but not for the obvious reasons. When someone is "not looking," they are often at ease, more open to those around them, and less defensive in general. Isn't it easier to smile at or approach that friendly and open stranger? If you had the choice between an attractive someone who presented as guarded and stiff or one who is smiling and relaxed- who would you choose? Consider getting into the mindset of not looking before you head out to a social gathering, to work, the store, your place of worship, etc. Some interesting stranger may see you and feel comfortable enough to make that first important move.
* If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting the same results
Do you have a good social support system around you? Do you try new activities very often, or find that your interests and leisure activities are limited to the same few ones--that often leave you wondering if you should have stayed home with a good book? Pick one new interest and do your homework on the when, where, how much, etc that you will need to know to participate. It doesn't matter if you don't know anyone else who will be there, just do it. Best ones to try are those activities you have always had a strong interest in, but never got around to doing. Be creative, open and committed to following through.
* The higher the risk, the greater the potential return on your investment
Become a risk taker. This is not the same thing as being someone who takes foolish risks. It's about going beyond your comfort zone by trying something new, and trying it all alone. It's too easy to find reason why you can't do something. It seems the lack of time, energy and money are all heavily used ones. Don't fall into this self-defeating trap. Go for it. Do you know anyone who achieved great personal or professional success? Talk to them about the times they reached beyond the familiar, and how this made all the difference.
* Don't be too quick to judge a book by its cover
Can you remember a time in your adult life when you ruled out someone as a potential date or partner, and regretted it later? Too often we jump to quick conclusions about another person when we don't know anything about them. These can be based on their dress or vocation--or on the chemistry (or lack thereof) that you feel during the first encounter. Unless someone is repulsive to you, consider giving them another look. The next meeting could reveal someone with a great sense of humor, keen mind, good communication skills--or someone you think "hummm" about when he/she comes into the room. If not, what did you really lose by seeing them a second time?
* You may need to do less to get more
If your social life has felt like a series of commitments characterized by feelings of being rushed, anxious and frazzled--and asking yourself things like, "am I having fun yet;" you may need to slow down and choose more carefully. Be wary of the magical thinking that tells you; "If I miss one thing- I will miss the one."
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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