Sparking Up a New Romance
Natalie West was terrified. There she was, sitting in a New York City coffee shop waiting for her date to arrive, and he was late. Nine minutes late, to be exact. And she had arrived five minutes early. That totaled 14 excruciating minutes of waiting, deciding whether she should go ahead and order (she didn’t), wondering if this Jason character she met online was going to show (if not, how typical of her luck), wondering if he’d already come in, seen her and walked back out the door (if so, how embarrassing). The tension and fear roiled in her stomach. Maybe this online dating thing was a bad idea after all.
But then, Jason Stratsburg walked in. He looked just like his profile, only a bit leaner, and maybe his hair was lighter, as well. He glanced around the coffee shop, spotted her and broke into a grin—a big grin. And suddenly, Natalie’s terror began to drain.
As singles, we are often intimidated by the dating scene and unsure of how to weed through the throngs to find the perfect match. Natalie took a leap of faith by entering the dating arena, moving out of her comfort zone and actively pursuing a new relationship.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 98 million singles in the United States. That’s 98 million fish in the sea—and a heck of a lot of opportunities for love. The secret is to welcome the challenge and view the dating process as one of adventure and self-discovery. Using tips from the experts and testimonials from successful love seekers, you can create a firm foundation for your first 30 days of finding a new relationship.
Change Is in the Air
Just as you take a shower before work, clean your living room before company and paint your house before putting it on the market, you must prepare to jump into the dating pool, say the experts. “I advocate a ‘fix up, paint up’ approach,” says Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington and author of Finding Your Perfect Match. “Go to the gym. Get a haircut. Get new clothes. Get ready like you would for any big thing. If you’re living with your parents, you’ve got to move out. If you’re a guy, get some money to take a girl out. It’s really a planning phase of looking at a bunch of categories and making sure you’re ready.
If a total revamp sounds scary, remember that this is one time in your life when you have no strings attached and no romantic obligations—this is a time when change comes easiest. Since it’s important to accomplish as much as possible in the first 30 days, you should start your self-evaluation and metamorphosis immediately. “I don’t think life change comes gradually; it comes all of the sudden,” says Nancy Slotnick, CEO of Cablight.com, a web site that helps people with love life management. “When you’re trying to make a change in your dating life, you want to make sudden and extreme changes. If what you’re doing isn’t working, change it. It can be scary, but it’s also exciting because you’ll get new results.