If Valentine’s Day has you thinking about finding love, the holiday could be a good motivation to start. Our experts offered these 12 tips to boost your chances:
1. The ‘You’ll find love when you’re not looking’ approach may be wrong.
That’s like saying, “You’ll find a job when you’re least looking for it,” said Pepper Schwartz, a relationship expert and sociology professor at the University of Washington. It’s possible, but rarely happens.
“For the most part, people who wait for a job are unemployed,” she added. “For me, it’s just an excuse for being scared to go and put the effort in. Yes, it happens, but no, it’s not a good strategy.”
Schwartz does agree with the underlying sentiment of that saying: Don’t be desperate. Put the effort in to find someone, but don’t act like any breathing body will do.
2. Go where people like the same things you like.
You can skip singles events if you don’t like them, but you have to go where you can meet people, Schwartz advised. Join social groups or meet-ups; be a worker bee in a cause you believe in; get involved in political parties. At the very least, you’re doing something you like and at the very best, you’ll meet somebody like-minded.
Bite the bullet and try online dating for a big pool of potential candidates, Schwartz added. If you’re already online, try a different dating site.
3. Look up from your phone.
Good men and good women are everywhere — if you’re looking, noted Bela Gandhi, a TODAY contributor and founder of the Smart Dating Academy in Chicago. She’s amazed people often complain they don’t meet anyone, but then go out and keep their heads down the entire time, staring at their devices.
Wherever you are, be present and look around the room to see who is looking at you. Make three seconds of eye contact with the cute stranger and smile — that’s an invitation for him to come over and talk to you, she advised.
4. Don’t seek romance, seek partnership.
Romance is for dates, and it’s fun to have on occasion in your marriage, but it’s partnership that will get you through the rough times, said Tina B. Tessina, a California psychotherapist also known as “Dr. Romance” and author of “How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together.”
“Don’t look for someone who sweeps you off your feet. That indicates a control freak, and you won’t like what happens later,” she advised. “Look for someone who likes give-and-take, who seeks your opinion and considers it, who cares about what you want, too.”
5. Happy people attract people.
Maybe the biggest issue in not being able to find love is that you’re not feeling good about yourself. Like yourself and like your life — really work on that, Schwartz advised. You have to be the person that you’d want to meet.
6. Take time to be by yourself.
It’s important after a divorce or any break-up after a long relationship to take some time to be alone, said Nicole Baras Feuer, a divorce coach with Start Over Smart in Westport, Connecticut.
“You will be in better shape to meet the ‘right’ person if you have time to heal, spend time alone to figure out who you are again, reflect on what went wrong,” Feuer said. “So you don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
7. Understand your own needs.
Do you need a lot of space? Desire lots of affection? Have to know what’s going on all the time? “Whatever your style is, it’s OK, but you need to know it and be able to communicate it to your future spouse. You can train each other if you both know what you need,” Tessina said