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5 Ways To Prepare For The Love Of Your Life

Still waiting for the "The One"? Stop blaming outside factors; find out how to look within and be ready for this love when it arrives.

Things we hold accountable for the absence of a good man in our life: the immature/insensitive/cheating boyfriend, the "regular date" who just wouldn't commit, the crazy work schedule, the family obligations, the lack of decent men in this country...the list goes on. But, you ask, where is that great, soul-satisfying intimate relationship we keep hearing about and wish to finally experience?

Thing is, the wisest thing to do for now is prepare your own self (and your dating habits) for the right guy and the right relationship—even if it has yet to happen. If you're not prepared, you might miss out on The One even when he's staring you in the face.

Take, for example, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) in the movie Something Borrowed, who couldn't admit that she had feelings for Dex (Colin Egglesfield) while he was within reach (she was too afraid to be "uncool"--read on to find out why this is so detrimental.) Meanwhile, her friend Darcy (Kate Hudson) was so focused on getting married at a ripe age (see number two--"Pacing Yourself"), that she may not have taken into account the kind of person she really wanted. Both Rachel and Darcy needed to figure out what they were truly seeking (check out the fifth item in the list below).

Read up on how to be ready for the love of your life when he does come around.

1. Forget The Fairy Tale

From fairy tales like Cinderella to Sweet Dreams romance novels, Prince Charming a.k.a. Mr. Right has always been depicted as tall, dark, and handsome—not to mention rich, smart, responsible, and capable of giving you a happy-ever-after life. It's no wonder women tend to look for these impossibly high qualities in a guy.

Eventually, however, you have to loosen up the crazy high standards and just meet people. "Know as many men as you can," suggests psychotherapist Rose Yenko, who's been helping couples and singles through therapy for the past 15 years. "There's a whole spectrum of them out there." And, scandalous as this may sound to many Filipinas, Yenko advises to "have as many long-term boyfriends as possible. You never really know a person until you've spent a great deal of time with him." It's possible that you might not even know he's The One until years into your relationship.

2. Pace Yourself

Say you've been on a dating spree: friends are fixing you up in a blur of blind dates, you've been going out with about three guys a week. Problem is, you know that you're serially dating precisely to get over the disappointment of your last date. You're simply "moving on and trying to see other people."

Abruptly switching to get-over-it mode and not giving yourself time to process a relationship or even a dating encounter—what went wrong, what had you not seen, what contribution you could have made to its demise—increases the chances of you repeating the same mistakes.

In the dating spree case, the time and energy that you're giving your dates can be better used to gain some clarity about your situation, allowing you the opportunity to get it right the next time. Yenko suggests identifying a pattern. "Come up for air first," she says. "Take time for much-needed introspection."

3. Be Uncool

Yes, you read right. Be. Uncool. It's. Okay. Sometimes, we do have to let down our guard, swallow our pride, and be vulnerable enough to let someone be part of our life.

Did you ever tell a guy that all you wanted was a "fun, casual thing," when actually, all you'd been daydreaming about 24/7 was a beach house and kids with him?

When your mind is saying one thing and your actions another, you significantly lower the chances of getting what you want. Expressing what you wish to happen in your life is crucial to moving you toward that goal and attracting the things you desire.

"Project your reality," Yenko advises. Even if that reality includes being a sap who likes to carve hearts on tree trunks and is an old-school believer in forever and forever. Be uncool. Risk looking like an A-grade fool for love and tell him already or at the very least, drop the act. It's a small price to pay for someone who may just be The One.

4. Complete Yourself

It's not uncommon to find people who are hoping to find in a partner what they themselves lack. The sedentary bookworm, for example, may be very attracted to the hyperactive athlete. But a relationship based on this kind of "completion" doesn't necessarily last.

"We tend to project our frustrations about ourselves, as well our desires, on our partners,” says Yenko. We subconsciously gravitate toward people who may be what we think we cannot be. By doing so, we become too focused on having a partner who compensates for what we lack, turning him into a space filler instead of seeing his true qualities.

Be the person you wish to be. That way, your relationships are not about filling a void, but really finding a deep, satisfying connection with another person.

5. Know What You Want

Not knowing who you are and what you want is akin to running around like a headless chicken. First, you're not going anywhere. Second, it just ain't pretty. 

The work of finding the person who's perfect for you and who makes you happy begins with asking yourself what exactly makes you happy, what makes you tick. Once you know, you're on your way to being confident about what you're looking for in a partner and what, in turn, you can bring to a relationship.

This confidence isn't something that just happens, says Yenko. "Knowing oneself is a process that takes time, patience, and much turning inward."

Keep a journal to stay in touch with your thoughts. Date and befriend men—but do so mindfully. Look at it as a way of educating yourself about the colorful array of men out there and to find out whose "colors" attract or blind you.

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