You’re committed to finding your ideal life partner, so now you have to do more than talk about it. The time has come for action if it is ever to be more than an idea, a plan, an ambition, an objective. As Flannery put it, finding out how to choose someone you intend to spend your life with “can be scary to say the least, that is if you take commitment seriously.”
The conventional wisdom says that you should date as many prospective candidates as you can in the hope that at some stage you will recognize that he (or she) is the one. But maybe the first thing is to consider what you see as appropriate venues to find someone. As Flannery rightly says, perhaps you shouldn’t meet people in bars if frequenting bars is something you normally choose not to do. Although we know from research that most people met their spouse or partner through school, college or work, that could be because those places are where we spend much of our time. So when you start looking in earnest, think about those venues. If you’re wanting to team up with a sporting person for example, the obvious step is to join and hang out at sports clubs yourself. Make yourself visible in the right locations. And don’t restrict yourself to just one venue. If sports clubs are your first choice for example, join several. Cast your net wider to catch more fish! You may appear just a little too available and a topic of conversation if you accept lots of invitations for dates, all through the same venue.
Another good way of meeting people is to sign up for courses in your spare time. Dance classes are a popular choice, or you could try art (painting for example), or any subject that you want to become more proficient in. Before you hand over your hard-earned cash to enroll though, find out more about those already enrolled, especially their general age group. If you are in your twenties and looking for a partner, you wouldn’t want to sign up for computer classes and find your fellow students were all silver surfers!
You could also try going on a “singles” holiday (as distinct from holidays for “solo travelers”) which is another popular way of meeting someone. Such holidays are generally arranged primarily to allow single people the opportunity to take a holiday with other “singles”, though without any pressure to find a romantic attachment, but they do generally cost more because of that almost inevitable single person supplement charged by hotels.
You could – along with millions of others – sign up for online dating. It’s one of those topics that people tend to be deeply divided about – you either think it’s a great idea or you “wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole!” Having said that, some 40 million people in the U.S. have given online dating a try as of June 2013. On average, each customer of a dating site pays $239 in a year to belong, and around one fifth of all current relationships began online. You do have to fill out a detailed survey though when you join one of these sites. For example, the eHarmony questionnaire comprises around 400 questions!
There’s no doubt that it has become more popular as a way of meeting new people for (mostly) romantic relationships, but there are pros and cons with using an online dating service. Lancaster noted that whilst young people from 18 upwards are using online dating to find a partner nowadays, and it can be a perfectly innocent way of doing it, there are both positives and negatives to consider before signing up:
- Because loads of people subscribe to online dating services, there is ample choice of prospective partners;
- Online dating can bring fast results because everyone signed up is looking for someone;
- If you spend time “talking” to a person online, you can get to know them better before meeting up;
- Using this method gives you the opportunity to meet people you most probably would never have otherwise met;
- Because you don’t have to disclose information thatyou’d prefer not to, the system is relatively secure.
- Not everyone is totally honest when compiling their personal profile;
- Most online dating agencies require you to sign up for (say) several months with associated costs;
- You’re not always aware with whom you’re communicating;
- The relationship may stay on the Internet only, because some people become nervous about meeting up and decline to do so;
- Because of possible safety concerns, it is advisable when meeting face-to-face for the first time to meet somewhere busy and public.
But how likely is online dating to be successful? According to a study undertaken by researchers at Drexel University, entitled “Not Just a Wink and a Smile: An Analysis of User-Defined Success in Online Dating,” the actual success rate varied according to site and to what users considered as “success.” For example, the study found that over 80 percent of users reporting success on eHarmony were regarding marriage as the successful outcome, whereas under 50 percent of the successes reported from using Match.com referred to marriage and in the case of OkCupid just 23 percent of the reported successes were about marriage as the outcome. The researchers found that different sites focused on different cultures, so that should be taken into account when selecting one. Better still, ask around your friends (especially married friends) for their recommendations of the website they might have used.
Assuming you’ve come up with your grand action plan and started to make dates using whatever method(s) you prefer, try not to be overly nervous or anxious, and especially on the first date of what could be many in your quest. Do your best to relax and appear confident (even if you’re not), but also keep your wits about you and remember why you are there. While the date should of course be an enjoyable experience for both of you, your main purpose should be constantly there in the background, and you should be making mental notes as the date proceeds. You are very likely to find that first date somewhat daunting, but will find succeeding ones easier, and will become more accomplished at steering conversations in the directions of your choosing. Also, unless you’re one hundred and ten percent convinced that you’ve hit pay dirt and met your ideal match on that very first date, don’t be tempted to settle for him/her without having at least one or two more dates with other people. What may seem like perfection at the time in the cozy glow of a candlelit dinner may become less so in the light of day and when you have experienced other encounters to make direct comparisons.
And if you do meet a promising someone, ask yourself some of the questions posed in the previous chapter. Don’t waste your precious time on someone who clearly is not interested in commitment, or someone who doesn’t share even those important life goals that you’ve already shortlisted.
- Tell me something interesting I should know about you.
- What hobbies and interests do you have?
- What do you do and where’s your workplace?
- What’s your work like? What do you enjoy most about it?
- Where are you from? Where were you brought up?
- What kinds of food do you like most?
- What’s the furthest you’ve ever traveled to? What took you there?
- Tell me your favorite movie / book / music / artist.
If the date seems to be going well and those ice-breaker questions threw up no nasty surprises, you might want to move on to some of Flannery’s more general (though nonetheless probing) questions, such as the following:
- If you had total freedom of choice of job, what would you like to do? Is there a dream job for you?
- Where do you see your career in five years time?
- If there is just one thing about yourself you could change, what is it?
- What sort of things make you laugh?
- What do hope to find in a romantic relationship?
- Is there anything you did in the past that you now regret?
- Tell me your most embarrassing moment.
- When do you think you were happiest?
- Who do you admire and why?
- What about me do you like most, and what made you decide we should go on this date together?
- How do you think a guy/girl (as appropriate) on a date should be treated?
Then, if it’s all still going swimmingly, you might want to consider posing some of the following “life” questions, though take care not to probe too deeply on that first date; you may by making it seem like an interrogation session frighten him/her off if you ask too many questions, even if you are beginning to think “this one has definite possibilities!” As Flannery suggests, you could be well advised to save some of these questions for the second or subsequent dates. If the person really does seem ideal (and seems to reciprocate the feeling) there will be both time and opportunity to work through all the important topics before you reach the point of making any sort of long-term decision.
- When you’re alone, how do you prefer to spend your time?
- When you’re with your friends, how do you generally spend your time?
- Of all the people you know, which one do you most admire?
- What’s the costliest single purchase you’ve ever made?
- How do you react when someone makes you angry?
- In the last five years or so, what changes have you seen in yourself?
- What has been your most difficult ever experience?
- How well do you think you cope with stress?
- What amount of money do you think would completely satisfy your needs?
- How well do you get on with your parents?
- When you were young, were you closer to your Mom or your Dad?
- When you were growing up, how would you describe your parents?
- What sort of things really get under your skin?
- If I asked your best friends, what do you think they’d tell me about you?
- Similarly, how do you think your family would describe you?
Having asked some or all of these questions suggested by Flannery, you’ll need to consider the implications of the answers you obtained. Although you probably don’t need to get hyper-analytical, you may well feel the need to follow up with other questions, particularly if any of those answers were not what you expected or wanted to hear. If this developing relationship is to continue and grow, you will need to resolve any doubts at the earliest stage possible. By reminding yourself of your goals, you’re less likely to abandon important objectives, but at the same time try to have fun on these dates and – as mentioned previously – be ready to answer searching questions coming in the opposite direction. Your date may be seeking to find out all about you for much the same reasons.
Above all, be persistent in your quest. If the first few dates are disappointing, just put it down to experience and keep dating. Just like job interviews, the more you do the more adept you’ll become. Those important questions will become second nature to you, and you’ll definitely get better at weeding out the no-hopers at an earlier stage in the proceedings. Also, you will grow in confidence, which will make you more attractive to the right person when you finally meet him/her.
Chapter Seven: Awesomeness Takes Time; Miracles Take Longer
That quest for your soul mate takes time and effort; the more effort you make, the less time it will take. The overall strategy to find that one ideal person to become a permanent part of your life requires a combination of an action plan, enhancing your appeal to a significant other, having faith and belief, and investment of time.
Angelini (of New Horizons Coaching) reiterates the widely-held view that what is of greater importance than “finding the right person” is to “be the right person.” By that he means ensuring that you really know yourself, so that you then know exactly what you need in a partner that can share your preferred interests and the ideals that you hold sacrosanct. To know yourself you have to be absolutely open and completely honest about all your qualities – not just the positives but the negatives too. According to Angelini, if you “are in denial about your negative qualities” it’s likely that you’ll project those negatives to others. So you need to focus on a “program of personal development” – getting rid of any bad habits and as a consequence becoming more like the person you would really like to be. Although this may be a daunting prospect, knuckling down to it and taking the time you need to really know yourself and make those improvements will pay off. You will then be better equipped to attract into your life the type of individual who could be your ideal soul mate.
Another valuable piece of advice from Angelini is to never be afraid to be alone As he says, you have overcome any such fear in order to be successful in finding a soul mate. He counsels that it is better to be alone and happy than in a bad relationship and unhappy as a consequence. He also advises that you should never compromise, and to never continue dating someone just for the sake of dating or to avoid hurting their feelings if you end the relationship. You will only be prolonging your real quest for that soul mate.
Another pearl of Angelini’s wisdom is to “listen to your spirit” rather than your ego. That’s because your ego – although it is how you represent yourself to those around you – is not the real “you”, which is your spirit. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t allow infatuation to blind you to the real qualities that your soul mate will possess.
Also, as advised by Angelini, and as mentioned previously in these pages, you must be persistent. Don’t give up if the magic hasn’t happened after first few attempts. Using an old expression which can nonetheless be true: “Good things come to those who wait.” Angelini ends his article with: “Finding your soul mate can be the best journey you will ever make. So, don’t give up hope and enjoy the ride!”
“Tracking down and finding your Soul Mate” (n.d.) offers much the same advice as Angelini in terms of self-improvement, and the need to discontinue dating someone if the relationship is not progressing in the right direction, but continues on to offer help for you to recognize the signs that “the time is right.” These signs could be:
- You share strong physical attraction for each other;
- You have common interests;
- You share much the same values;
- You have mutual major respect;
- He/she makes every effort to demonstrate their passion for you and for the things that you hold as important;
- You meet on common levels emotionally.
If you are fortunate enough to have recognized these signs and are confident that you have indeed found that ideal person, try to take things slowly to make doubly sure. Also, remember that finding him/her is only the beginning of what could be a lifelong commitment and relationship. Any successful relationship requires ongoing effort to succeed and to remain successful in the longer term. Maintaining respect for each other, remembering what the initial mutual attraction was, and keeping alive that magic – all those things will contribute to a long and growing relationship that you once believed might never happen.
Chapter Eight: Enjoy the Process
However long it takes you to find your soul mate, no matter how many dates you will need to share with possibly a considerable number of different potential partners, it is most important to keep your sense of humor, to put those disappointments behind you, and to take the positives from the entire experience. Don’t get anxious however long it takes.
Though it may sometimes not be easy to take the long view, try to remember that every date you go on and every new date partner that doesn’t work out is all part of a learning process and that you will one day achieve your goal of finding that special person. If you allow your mind to focus only on the end game, each unsuccessful date or disappointing new person will cause you to become depressed, which could lead you into a downward spiral of potential failure.
Instead, make yourself enjoy the process. Treat each and every date as just that – a date. Take away the background significance and you will be able to feel more relaxed and just have fun dating, which is as it should be. When you make the inevitable disastrous mistakes in choosing someone for a date, do your best to enjoy the occasion anyway, keep things lighthearted and just look forward to the next one in line.
Most of us will have heard the expression “men enjoy the chase”, referring to the accepted stereotype of the man who enjoy the whole dating process but can lose interest after he has achieved success, which may be measured as persuading his partner into bed, or even just getting her to go out to dinner with him. But women can and do enjoy the chase, too.
While you might be looking ultimately for that long-term relationship, that is no reason to not enjoy the social contacts that don’t lead anywhere. Apart from a very small minority of exceptions, human beings are naturally sociable creatures, and would rather be sharing pleasant experiences with someone than being alone. If you go on dates during your search for a partner and find yourself unable to relax and simply enjoy the occasion, your company and your surroundings, you need to have a firm talk with yourself. If you can relax and keep your dates light hearted, you will enjoy them more and feel better in yourself – which in turn will make you more attractive to others.
And remember, all the time you are dating, even the bad experiences will be helping you move forward, helping you “polish your act”, so that when that special person does eventually come into your life, you will be as well equipped as you can be to give the best of yourself, thus increasing the likelihood that the two of you will be mutually attracted, and signifying what could be the beginning of the relationship that is your ultimate goal.
It’s also important to keep in mind your long term goal when assessing the success of a date. Whilst dates can be disappointing for a whole plethora of reasons, remember that someone giving you the best date may not necessarily be someone who would make an ideal life partner. So, although you need to keep that long term objective in the background during a date, your post-date analysis should focus heavily on the life partner or soul mate aspects.
Another way to look at what might seem like an interminable series of dates after dates after dates, is that instead of going out on numerous dates and sharing your leisure time with different people, probably in pleasant venues such as restaurants, sports events, concerts, etc., you could be sat alone in your apartment watching TV or staring at four walls! So however tedious or boring the occasional dates might be, just bear in mind that alternative and be cheered that you are actually better off doing what you’re doing.
It’s also another (easy) way of learning about new places to go, such as restaurants you might never have otherwise visited, or cultural sites you didn’t know existed. Unless we make a little more effort and allow ourselves to become involved in social activities with others, our world can become a very small place.
And perhaps to encourage you a little in your quest, you should be aware that there is actually no such person as a Mr. or Miss Perfect. But there most definitely is (according to your gender and gender choice) a Mr. or Miss Perfect somewhere out there for you.
Chapter Nine: Rely on the Law of Abundance
One of the most important things to remember for anyone in your position of being single but seeking a life partner, is that however many times you find someone you think could be your ideal partner, but then subsequently are disappointed for one reason or another, there will always be someone else to step forward to take his/her place in your heart.
Whilst each and every such disappointment may seem like you just made a big mistake and cause you to feel like a dismal failure, the Abundance Law can bring logic into the situation by reminding you that there are literally millions of eligible people still out there, who could make a better partner than the one you just rejected (or maybe who rejected you). So whatever you do, avoid focusing on the last mistake / failure, but look forward instead to the next new opportunity.
Quilliam provides some useful tips for anyone who has just come out of a failed relationship in her article “Recovering from a failed relationship.” She points out that although that part of your life is over and that you are starting again now, sometimes the effects of the breakup impinge on other areas of your life (such as your work) and you really don’t feel like you’re at a new beginning.
In the worst cases, you might be feeling that life is ending; in fact Quilliam notes that it can in some instances feel rather like a bereavement. However, she points out that you do have to move on, and recommends that you keep busy and socialize as much as possible, even if your inclination is to curl up inside your shell.
In your case (someone actively seeking a life partner) get back out on the dating circuit as soon as you can. Remember your ultimate goal, and remember that there are literally thousands if not millions out there wanting to meet someone just like you, and one of them will be your ideal partner.
Also, because your confidence may have taken a hit when that relationship ended, make extra efforts to be yourself, smile, and simply get on with your search. It may take a little time, but the hurt of that failure will fade in due course and will be replaced by your enthusiasm and interest in new people you meet on future dates.
As regards, the earlier reference to the Abundance Law, please be in no doubt that there are many, many more candidates out there for you to consider in your quest for your soul mate. As mentioned earlier in these pages the online dating industry is booming. Taking just two of the agencies discussed (eHarmony and Match.com), they have between them no fewer than 35 million members (as of June 2013). Among that vast number of people looking for a partner, there is every possibility that some of them with be a match to your specification for that special person to share your life in the future.
Taking to the literal limit the question: “Is there someone out there for everyone?” the answer must be in the negative because there is probably an imbalance of sexes globally. However, in practical terms in (say) the USA, there are so many people like you that are searching for a partner that there really does have to be at least one that would make an ideal match for you. However, you won’t find each other unless you make the effort. That’s precisely why you should never give up. As long as you still cherish the ambition to share the rest of your life with a special someone, keep on looking. If dating is the way you think works best for you, keep on dating. Those online dating site membership numbers tell their own story. There really are people out there for you. OK they may not live in your neighbourhood, your town, or even your state, but if they seem like they might be the one, why not at least take the first step? Remember that if they’re subscribed to a dating site they’re also seeking a relationship, so are like-minded in at least that important respect.
It’s too easy to reach a point where a series of failed or disappointing encounters have led you to feel that it’s “hopeless” or to feel “there must be something wrong with me.” If that happens to you then there is something wrong – you need to push those negative thoughts aside and press on with your search. One day you will look back and say to your life partner: “I’m so glad I never gave up. If I had we would never have met and become the happy couple we are today.”
An example of someone who almost gave up but is now thrilled that he didn’t is given in an article by Mckenzie, writing in the Bowling Green State University’s campus newspaper The BG News. His article, entitled “Never lose hope, true love is out there for everyone” tells the story of a large man who had years before lived with a woman but did not see the relationship as a lifelong association.
More recently he had started dating again but with little success, until he met someone of his own age called Rachel. As he himself saw it: “I got lucky, make that very lucky.” He related how Rachel had – like him – “had her share of heartaches and triumphs.” He added that she was “educated, smart, funny, pretty, deep, loving, caring and a fantastic mother. Somehow, she saw something in me and we hit it off.”
He recognized immediately they met that she was the soul mate he had long sought and was determined not to “sabotage this like so many times before.” He said without any hesitation or doubt that she was “my destiny.” He says that since they married in December of 2012 he has come to realize that he is no longer “the worthless human I thought I was for all those years” and is “truly blessed.”
The rest of what he had to say is so important for those seeking love and despairing of ever finding it, that it is repeated below verbatim:
“For those of you out there feeling alone, there is hope. For those of you out there feeling unworthy, there is hope. For those of you out there feeling forsaken, there is hope.”
“Just 16 months ago, I was one of you. I was not happy about it either. I put myself out there and I was rewarded with a love I could have never fathomed in a million years.”
“Do not give up. Do not despair. Do not ‘settle for.’ If someone as good as my wife Rachel can see past all my hurt and gloom to the real me, then you will find love.”
- D. Faria. (n.d.). “How to enjoy being single.” Canadian Living. Available at: http://www.canadianliving.com/relationships/dating_advice/how_to_enjoy_being_single.php
- Rev. G. Arenson. (n.d.). “How To Choose The Perfect Mate.” Santa Barbara Wedding Ministers. Available at: http://www.santa-barbara-wedding-ministers.com/choose-perfect-mate.html
- C. Ray. (Jun 2012). “Top 10 Traits All Singles Are Searching For.” Your Tango. Available at: http://www.yourtango.com/experts/carmelia-ray/top-10-traits-all-singles-are-searching-expert
- Jennifer Estes, LMFT. (June 2010). “Single-hood: How to Prepare and be Ready for Your Next Relationship.” Lisa Kift Therapy. Available at: http://lisakifttherapy.com/relationships/topics/being-single/single-hood-how-to-prepare-and-be-ready-for-your-next-relationship/
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- “Dating Doesn’t Equal Relationship! It’s A Discovery Phase Not A Relationship Guarantee.” Available at: http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/dating-doesnt-equal-relationship/
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- Nanice Ellis. (Apr 2013). “How To Use The Law Of Attraction To Find Your Soulmate.” Your Tango. Available at: http://www.yourtango.com/experts/nanice-ellis/law-of-attraction-soulmate
- David Gardner. (July 2011). “Opposites don’t attract when it comes to picking a perfect partner.” Mail Online. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2013208/Opposites-attract-Apparently-according-study.html
- Blake Flannery. (n.d.). “Finding A Husband Or Wife The Smart Way.” Hub Pages. Available at: http://blakeflannery.hubpages.com/hub/Choosing-the-right-life-partner_
- “Online Dating Statistics.” (June 2013). Statistic Brain. Available at: http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/
- Claire Lancaster. (May 2013). “The Pros and Cons of Online Dating.” Female First. Available at: http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/relationships/online-dating-291878.html
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- Raymond F Angelini, PhD. (n.d.). “Finding your soulmate.” Mass Match. Available at: http://www.massmatch.com/articles.php?id=6
- “Tracking down your Soul Mate.” Love-Sessions. Available at: http://www.love-sessions.com/finding_soulmate.htm
- Susan Quilliam. “Recovering from a failed relationship.” (n.d.). iVillage.co.uk. Available at: http://www.ivillage.co.uk/recovering-a-failed-relationship/82191?field_pages=0
- Paul McKenzie. (Jan 2013). “Never lose hope, true love is out there for everyone.” The BG News. Available at: http://www.bgnews.com/forum/never-lose-hope-true-love-is-out-there-for-everyone/article_b77e94c0-5b99-11e2-817c-0019bb2963f4.html