Finding someone to share your life with can be one of the most wonderful experiences you’ll ever have. The question is, how do you find that person?
We spoke to a few relationship experts to get insight into this complicated issue.
What Is It Like to Be Single Again
First things first: being single again isn’t like it used to be.
“There are many more options today than there were 20 years ago [for finding love],” says Dr. Michael J. Ebert, psychologist and author of “Love by Design.” “Technology has made it easier for people to meet each other. I think that’s a great thing. We should embrace technology and make it work for us rather than against us. Technology has allowed people to stay connected even when not physically present with others.”
Nowadays, online dating sites have become more popular because many have become comfortable using these tools to connect with others. But while online dating apps might seem convenient, it’s important to remember that they are just another form of communication, and they may not always be reliable. “Online dating sites aren’t perfect,” says Dr. Christine Caine, co-author of “Why Smart Men Marry Bad Women.” “For every good match, dozens of others will disappoint you. Online dating is an imperfect way to find love.”
But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to use them. According to a study conducted by Match.com, 74 percent of singles who use online dating sites report having found their significant other through such services. So, if you’re still trying to figure out whether or not a certain person is right for you, then why not try online dating?
Relationships Are Not A Game of Numbers or Statistics
Dr. Ebert also stresses that statistics alone aren’t enough to determine if someone is your soulmate and that numbers alone shouldn’t dictate your decision to pursue a relationship. He adds, “[Statistics] show that the average American man marries four times his number of women. That means a lot of men are getting married more than once. And the odds are that any woman who gets married will have been previously married. So, that means very little about her is unique and special.”
He also points out that looking for a partner doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to settle down. “[Settling down] is a different concept altogether. Finding a soulmate is more than simply wanting to be with a specific person,” he explains. “It’s a feeling that transcends all else and makes you feel complete—like you’ve found someone who fulfills you emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and so much more. This feeling can happen in seconds or minutes, but it will never happen unless you let yourself believe it does.”
It All Depends On How You Look at Love
According to Dr. Caine, we tend to look at love as a series of events. She says, “Most people define themselves by their relationships. We tend to think that the best relationships bring happiness, fulfillment, and joy. We assume that our relationships are the source of our deepest feelings and emotions and the only measure of success.”
However, this isn’t always true. While it’s certainly nice to experience the positive side of relationships, it doesn’t mean that that’s all there is to relationships. Dr. Caine warns, “Some people who have had bad experiences with relationships get stuck here and think this is how it’s supposed to be. Some people who haven’t yet experienced the best relationships in their lives are convinced that they don’t deserve to be happy. They think that people deserve better than them.”
So, what is love? Dr. Ebert explains, “Love is defined by the degree to which you feel loved or cared for. Love is a feeling. Feeling loved is something everyone wants. However, you must recognize that loving someone deeply requires you to give up your independence. It would help if you relinquished control and trusted that your beloved would take care of you. Only then will you experience real love.”
The Right Person Can Make Everything Better
Of course, the ideal situation would be to find someone whose personality matches yours perfectly. But this might not be possible. Dr. Caine says, “It takes two different personalities to create a successful relationship. One of those personalities needs to be able to accept the other without judgment and provide the support and validation that allows the other person to thrive. It’s hard to find someone like that. Most of us are too flawed and self-critical to realize that these attributes are necessary to creating a healthy connection with another person.”
Instead, she suggests you focus on the qualities you possess (which hopefully include a big heart) instead of worrying about what you lack. She reminds us, “Even though we might not want to admit it, we all have flaws. But the key to a long-term, fulfilling relationship is to focus on what you do well, not what you don’t. The right person can make everything better.”
When Someone Makes You Feel Special Even Though They Don’t Have The “Right Stuff”
“I have to tell people that I’m not looking for ‘the one,'” says Dr. Ebert. “I am looking for someone with some traits that make me feel special. I’m not interested in someone perfect. I don’t want a clone. I want somebody unique and interesting. I want someone who makes me laugh. I want someone who will challenge me. I want someone who I can learn from. I want someone who I can teach. I want someone who I can spend time with. I want someone who I can enjoy spending time with. I want someone who I can grow old with.”
As long as you can find someone who fits this description, you’re probably already halfway there. Dr. Caine says, “If you are open to exploring new possibilities and willing to put yourself out there, you’ll find someone worth waiting for.”
You Will Never Meet Everyone Who Meets Your Expectations in Life… But That Doesn’t Mean There Aren’t Good Prospects
While meeting someone who doesn’t exactly fit all of your expectations isn’t likely, it’s also not impossible. As Dr. Ebert says, “A little self-awareness goes a long way. If you are aware of your limitations, you can avoid falling prey to unrealistic expectations. You can see when someone is playing games with your head. You can see when someone is being dishonest. You can see when someone is telling you what you want to hear. But you cannot see everything. You won’t know everything about someone until you get to know them over time. You’ll discover things about them that surprise you, and you’ll learn to appreciate them for who they are.”
And as far as the prospect of finding someone who meets all of your expectations? Dr. Caine believes, “If you truly love someone, you will accept them no matter what their faults are. If you are willing to change, you will allow yourself to be changed. If you are committed to the growth process, you will help your partner grow. And if you truly love someone, you will forgive them for whatever they did wrong. These are hard things to do, especially when you’re hurt or angry, but they are also the keys to making your relationship last forever.”
Don’t Compare People To Each Other Or Think About What Others Might Offer You Instead Of Thinking For Yourself.
In addition to meeting someone who fits all of your criteria, you have to remember that nobody else is like you. Dr. Caine says, “Everyone is different. We each have our own unique set of gifts, strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs.