Sparking Up a New Romance
During this time of aesthetic and mental housecleaning, you should start thinking about the person you’re looking for. Instead of storing these ideas in your head, you should write them down on paper and create a composite dream date. “Make lists of the values you want, the style you want and the temperament you want in another person,” says Jackie Black, Ph.D., a relationship coach who serves as Maxim magazine’s relationship expert. “What do you want and expect from a relationship? What do you offer and provide?
However, a big part of finding a new relationship involves letting go of past hurts. Recognize where former relationships went wrong and acknowledge the mistakes that were made; this will prevent you from repeating the same patterns all over again. For instance, if your former significant other was the jealous, possessive type, search for someone a bit more easygoing. As Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Get Out There
You’ve updated your wardrobe, put your finances in order and evaluated your past dating experiences. Now what? If you’re just waiting for “The One” to knock on your door while you watch yet another “Seinfeld” rerun, you’ll probably wind up with a few George Costanzas. “People want a relationship to happen magically, the ‘natural way.’ I don’t even know what that means!” Slotnick says. “You have to spend time searching. I recommend my clients spend 15 hours a week on their search. People gasp and say, ‘How am I going to find that kind of time?’ But think about it: If you’re in a relationship, you spend about that much time with your significant other because you make the time. Do the same thing while you’re looking.
As Natalie discovered, the internet is a great dating resource. According to Alexa.com, a web information company, there are more than 130 matchmaking sites on the web. Think of internet sites as dating shorthand: These resources offer a lot of personal information that date-seekers wouldn’t otherwise know at first glance. “I’m a big advocate of the internet—it’s actually how I found my husband,” says Robyn Spirtas, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship expert. “I think it’s a great way to weed through and find people who are more compatible with you right from the beginning. If you don’t want to date someone who smokes, you may meet someone at the grocery store, but you have no idea if that person smokes. On the internet, you can eliminate people more easily. And it also brings you to so many people you would never have run into.
A lower-tech, but possibly more costly option is a matchmaker service or dating agency, in which a third party hand-selects date participants. Though this may sound like a stodgy, old-world method, high-end matchmakers have become very popular in recent years among busy professionals. Some agencies arrange painless dating events, such as lunch, which allows participants to size each other up during short encounters.