New Year, same old single self? You might be doing the dating thing all wrong.
If you want to finally find love in 2019, heed these tips from relationship coach Aileen Santos that will help correct common dating blunders and open you up to the possibility of meeting the right guy. Even if you end 2019 still single, your big ol’ heart will be all romance-ready from here on out.
Ditch the belief that love will just land on your lap. (Sorry, hopeless romantics.)A common mistake single girls make is wanting love yet not really working to find it—instead, they believe that it will “just happen,” no thanks to all those memes and quotes and well-meaning friends that hammer that idea in.
Santos says this is particularly true for women who have been successful in their educational and professional lives, but throughout the course of their success, did not consider developing their relationship skills. She advises these women to think of love as a worthy venture like a career or your studies: You can’t expect to succeed in them unless you put effort into them.
“Think of the steps that brought you to your dream job or business,” Santos says. “What makes you think something as important as a relationship would not take the same amount of effort?”
Find out what kind of partner would be a good fit for you, because newsflash: The type you’ve always gone for might not be it at all.According to Santos, another common dating mistake is committed by women who do try to find love, yet have the wrong patterns for going about it because “they have a wrong filtering system, or they really have not figured out the kind of partner who’s a good fit for them.”
To overcome this dating blunder, it’s essential for women to really get to know themselves first, which would then elucidate the qualities in a partner that would make them tick. “They need to really take stock of what kind of partner they actually need and not just want,” Santos says. “I have met so many women who are so attached to a certain type, and that type is not necessarily a good fit for them.”
Consider this your cue to officially dump that bad boy type you’re always so hung up on.
Have you sworn off love for good? Ask yourself if you’re really done with dating or are just scared to get hurt again.The third common dating mistake cited by Santos pertains to women who’ve been hurt before and have pretty much resigned themselves to growing old alone in a house full of cats. Some of these women’s commitment to a partner-free life is legit, and power to them, but other women might have simply given up out of fear of getting hurt again.
“The only question they need to ask themselves is this: ‘When you say you don’t want be in a relationship anymore, is it coming out of fear, or is it coming out of an informed decision?’” Santos says. “It’s okay if it’s an informed decision, but if it’s coming out of fear, everyone owes it to themselves to overcome their fear so that they could really give their best shot at something that, deep down, they actually want.”
It’s not enough to want love. You have to make space for love in your life.How many of us keep pining away for the perfect guy, yet when asked if we’re dating, are quick to snap, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
“You can’t tell yourself ‘When I have a boyfriend, I’ll make time for that,’” Santos says. “You have to make time now.”
Create space in your life for the possibility of a partner by setting aside the amount of time in a week you would normally allot for a partner on meeting new people and deepening connections with them. Pretty soon, regular movie nights with the gym crew might turn into regular date nights with a new boo.
Look for love in the right places. (Hint: Not at a bar.)Once you’ve made space in your life for meeting prospects, it’s important to do so in settings that actually encourage meeting the right kind of guy.
Santos cautions against boyfriend-hunting at bars for these reasons: “First of all, it’s likely that you won’t have anything in common. Second, it’s going to be hard to keep the conversation going when you are not going to meet in other venues elsewhere; it just so happened that that weekend you were at that same bar.”
Instead, get involved in groups and activities where you are likely to meet men who have the same interests and mindset as you do. Bonus points for groups that meet regularly, which will give you a chance to take a promising first meeting much further. Because let’s be real here: Apart from movie characters, nobody realistically develops a deep connection after just one meeting.
Go ahead and find prospects online…but build the connection offline.
With dating apps offering busy singles a convenient way of finding a match while on the go, Tinder and its ilk do come in handy. But it’s best to treat online dating as a means to cast a wider net in the search for love, all the while turning to face-to-face means to keep that catch.
“These apps are giving us more opportunities to meet people, but deepening the connection also needs to happen,” Santos says.
And as with #5, Santos recommends going beyond dating apps and signing up for meetup apps and event apps as well, which are more likely to bring you face-to-face with people of the same interests who won’t just send you a message in the hopes of a quick lay.
Instant spark is overrated.Raise your hand if you’ve written off a perfectly good guy just because you didn’t feel a spark. *raises own hand guiltily*
Instant spark does happen, but Santos advises also giving a chance to that guy who ticks all the important boxes yet falls short of making you feel like Julia Roberts in a romcom montage right away. “There’s a kind of spark that comes after actually getting to know someone,” Santos says. “That’s a bit more reliable.”
Just because you’re ready for a relationship now doesn’t mean you should lock it down with the first person who comes along.So you know yourself well enough and have the relationship skills down pat already? Good girl, but hold off on making it official with Marco here who thinks you’re cute, because the only reason you should pursue a relationship is because you found someone worth being in a relationship with—not because you’re just itching for a relationship.
“It’s not a casting call; you don’t say ‘I need someone to be my boyfriend’ and then you just pick someone who is a good fit for the role,” Santos admonishes. “Put yourself out there, meet a lot of guys, get to know these guys, develop a deeper connection with them, and then when you find someone who makes you laugh, who makes you feel safe, who makes you feel like you could have a future with him—and this guy also feels the same way because he is also pursuing you or verbalizing to you that he wants more than a friendship—that’s when you consider having a boyfriend as the next step.” Duly noted.
When coming up with a love resolution, do better than “I’m going to have a boyfriend this year.”To make your 2019 love resolution more likely to deliver results, turn it into an action goal you can work on without just leaving it up to fate. Santos recommends switching from “This year, I am going to have a boyfriend” to “This year, I’m going to find out what kind of partner is actually a good match for me” or “This year, I’m going to join groups where I’m more likely to meet this kind of partner.”
Sounds doable, right? GO, YOU.