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Relationships

10 Secrets to Lasting Love

3. What brings you together isn't what keeps you together.

Key points

  • Be intentional by reflecting on who you are and what you want. Identify the patterns and behaviors that have been holding you back.
  • Your goal isn’t to mold someone into your long-term partner — it’s to be in a loving relationship.
  • Only date those who have your values and goals and want to share them with you.

When it comes to relationships, people have lots of questions. But there’s one I get more often than all the others. People word it differently, but it’s always some version of “How do I find the love of my life?”

It’s a great question because it’s an important one. Having that special person will surely enhance your life, but that person can be difficult to find. It’s not your fault; if lasting love was easy to find, we all would have found our forever partner by now. The fact is, it’s anything but easy. It’s complicated.

To simplify it, I gathered an all-star group of top relationship experts and asked each one the million-dollar relationship question: “What’s the secret to finding lasting love?” In other words, what do people need to do to find not just any partner but the right partner for them? Here are their insights:

1. Trust Yourself. The secret to finding lasting love is to trust your intuition, your knowing. You are the expert of you. You are the one who knows what makes you happy. If you feel you are talking yourself into a relationship, that's a "no." Know who you are, know your worth, and you'll never settle for less. When you've found your "person," you'll know it: mind, body, and soul. Your intuition will never steer you wrong. Trusting yourself and honoring how you feel will ultimately bring you to the love waiting for you, not just any love, but the right love for you. (Jaime Bronstein, LCSW; author of MAN*ifesting: A Step-By-Step Guide to Attracting the Love That's Meant for You)

2. You Can’t Hurry Love. The biggest secret to finding lasting love is clear expectations and clear communication. We have seen so many rom-coms and fairytales that we begin to believe the myth that love is just going to fall into our laps. I have my clients develop clarity around their ideal partner based on values and goals, the two biggest predictors of long-term compatibility (not height, income, or a cute face.) Then, if you clearly communicate your feelings and desires to your partner, you’re more likely to get your needs met along the way. Lasting love happens slowly, in small increments and there’s no fast-forward button. (Damona Hoffman, host of The Dates & Mates Podcast and OkCupid Dating Expert)

3. What Gets You Together Isn’t What Keeps You Together. The strategies that help you attract a partner aren’t the same ones that support a fulfilling long-term relationship. When dating it’s easy to focus on “Do they like me?” But for long-term success, the better question is “Are they good for me?” For lasting love, emphasize friendship, connection, and compatibility. Don't get distracted by superficial physical qualities. When finding a partner we emphasize excitement, but lasting love is more about comfort, stability, and security. (Dr. Gary Lewandowski (me), author of Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship...and How to See Past Them)

4. Love Is a Contract. The secret to lasting love is understanding the game. Love is much more about skill, than luck. Lasting love doesn't just happen. The negotiation for commitment begins with the first text. And the "lasting” love contract gets renegotiated for years with good communication skills and boundary setting. Love can be learned. (Wendy Walsh, host of iHeart Radio's Dr. Wendy Walsh Show)

5. Be Intentional. If you want to find lasting love, it’s time to start dating intentionally. That means taking a step back and reflecting on who you are, what you want, and why dating hasn’t worked out for you yet. What are the patterns and behaviors that have been holding you back? Are you too picky? Not picky enough? Ask some close friends for feedback if you’re struggling to identify these on your own. The sooner you identify your dating blindspots, the sooner you can overcome them and find the relationship of your dreams. (Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science at Hinge and author of How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love)

6. Confidence Is Key. The key to finding long-lasting love is building your confidence, knowing your value, and raising your standards until you meet someone with all three components of our lasting love formula: Attraction + Compatibility + Friendship. Furthermore, having a support system or a community to guide you through the ups and downs of dating will drastically increase the likelihood of success. (Adam LoDolce, founder of LoveStrategies.com)

7. Focus on the Relationship Not the Partner. Commit to creating a loving relationship vs. committing to a person. Your goal isn’t to mold someone into your long-term partner — it’s to be in a loving relationship. There is always a chance that once you get to know someone deeper, they may not be the partner you are able to create your ideal relationship with. If you’re unable to have that with the current person, it is time to move on. (Dawoon Kang: Co-founder and Chief Dating Officer of Coffee Meets Bagel)

8. Become a Good “Filterer." In order to find lasting love, we need to be mindful of our partner selection process. This begins by filtering out the type of people who do not share our romantic goals and value system. Get clear on what you want to experience within your partnership. That knowledge will assist you in qualifying those who are prospective partners (and a good match). Choose to date only those who ‘want what you want and want that with you.’ (Susan Winter, author of Breakup Triage and Allowing Magnificence)

9. Sustain All Three Basic Mating Drives. Pick someone you can trust and confide in; who respects you; whom you find physically attractive; who makes you laugh; whom you find interesting to talk to; and who will be a good parent to your children. Then during the relationship: express empathy; control your emotions; and focus on the positive aspects of him or her. You might also sustain all three basic mating drives: Have sex regularly; do novel things together to sustain romance; and stay in touch, (kissing, holding hands, hugging, etc.), to drive up the chemicals of attachment. Last, have fun together. People who play together, stay together. (Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and Chief Science Advisor to Match.com)

10. Find Alignment on Key Dimensions. Find a partner with whom you are naturally compatible in key areas. Although you won’t find someone who is in complete alignment with you in everything, similarities in things such as values, fundamental beliefs, and the way you want to live your life can make your relationship smoother. It won’t feel like a chore or like you are sacrificing who you are to accommodate each other’s preferences, because the gap isn’t that far to bridge. (Anita Chlipala, LMFT; author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love)

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