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4 Tips to Help Your Love Search

When trying to meet someone feels impossible.

I constantly hear the following from my single patients and single friends-- I never meet anyone, other people have better luck at meeting people, I’m doomed to be single, everyone else is happy and I’m still alone, I never meet the right person, no one ever finds me attractive, even the yuckie person in my office met someone and I’m still alone…So, what’s that about? Are there people who can’t meet people and are doomed to being alone as the result of some unknown reason? Do some people more than others have better luck or just plain find it easier to date?

Let me demystify some of this. Yes, there are some people that have been lucky enough to find that special someone early in their life and with little effort. But, for others, the search is a huge effort. For one thing, my clinical and personal experience supports the notion that if you want to be in a relationship, you’ll be in a relationship. But it might not be that easy and it’s something that is not really in your control. It’s not like you can go into Bloomingdale's and look for someone in the potential partner department. So, how do you meet someone if you’re that person who has had a really hard time meeting anyone or worse yet, someone who hates dating? So how do you deal with the fact that searching for love can be difficult?

1- You need to be willing to invest time and energy into dating.

It boils down to the fact that dating can be hard work and you need to build a tolerance for that. For starters, you need to be willing to invest time and energy into dating in order to be present to the opportunity of someone entering your life. It is not likely that someone will drop into your living room so you really do need to go out and do life-- go out and be present. What that means is that in the course of your life and daily activities, there are opportunities, but those arenas need to be expanded.

2-Change your routine and do extra stuff that you usually don’t do.

Doing life means that most people do a predictable number of activities—work, home, extracurriculars, family, socializing, and are reticent to expand that number based on only the remote possibility of meeting someone. So you need to change your routine and do extra stuff that you usually don’t do. It’s doing that extra stuff that can lead to those opportunities where people usually meet people. It's the meeting that you really didn’t feel like attending, the party where you really didn’t know anyone but went anyway, the out- to- drinks with friends that you have to be dragged out to attend that might lead you to that special someone. It is at the most unpredictable time when unpredictable amazing things happen. And it only takes that one time to change your life. You probably know that and yet when it comes to dating and “getting out there,” rarely do people do it with relish rather it is done with reticence and annoyance.

3-Have patience with the process.

You need patience with the process of wanting to meet someone and actually meeting someone. Of course there are online dating sites, speed dating, networking events, happy hours as well as chance meetings. Online dating, for example, can feel like work but just as you’re looking for someone, they are looking for you too. Be prepared for a process that has you sorting through contacts from strangers who are also searching for that special person who may or may not turn out to be that person for you. You do need to compose a good profile that actually reflects you. Ask a friend to look over your profile and really listen to whether they think it reflects who you are. Be safe by not disclosing who you are until you have some sense of who they are. You'll need to accept the fact that online is one of many ways that you might meet someone. There's a chance that you might meet someone online but know that it might not be how you meet your special someone. You might meet them some other way. And there are other ways.

4- Manage discouragement and impatience.

You need to manage discouragement and impatience. It's really hard to stay encouraged when you're just not meeting that special person. It's particularly important to have the support of someone, a friend, family member or a therapist, who understands that finding someone takes time. Someone who understands that kissing many frogs is upsetting and reminds you that your life is a composite of more than just this moment in time.

Another factor to consider is that people with high sensitivity (Aron, Elaine N. 1996) the dating process can be especially painful. I think that it is because those with high sensitivity have a visceral reaction to all kinds of nuanced behaviors when they meet other people. I've observed that highly sensitives are more quick than others to rule out people they've just met due to having picked up behaviors or qualities that would not work for them--some deal breakers way ahead of people who need to date someone for perhaps months or years before discovering some really annoying trait or characteristic or behavior that would be impossible to live with. It's helpful to understand this and remain realistic about the fact that meeting the right person takes time.

If you were looking for an apartment or looking for a job, you could never imagine looking once with minimum energy and expecting success right away. You’d have to, at the very least, be prepared to search and then be prepared to wait and have patience with days if not weeks or months that go by with little response. Staying patient and hopeful is the key.

More from Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
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More from Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
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