This isn’t about whether your intimate grooming is up to scratch or whether your knowledge of popular culture is impressive, it’s a little more subtle than that. Ask yourself three simple questions:
Do you want a relationship?
It’s easy to become immersed in the world of dating – to talk about wanting to find love and an intimate relationship and to get carried away with friends matching you up with plenty of quality matches, but if your heart’s not in it you might not actually want to find a relationship. Maybe you’re still recovering from the last one or enjoying being single too much to put time and effort into finding love. Make a list of what you would gain from being in a relationship and what you would lose. Take note not just of how long each list is, but how quickly you come up with the answers. Perhaps you can see the attractions of being with someone, but your speed at filling in your ‘cons’ list shows your strong need for independence and personal space. Make sure you write down your own true feelings and motivations, not just the clichés about how relationships might improve your life. Dig deep to establish why you are looking for a relationship and whether you truly are ready.
Is this the right time for a relationship?
You may really want to be matched up but there are often external factors that determine whether or not a relationship is likely to work out. From simple practicalities such as being about to move house or job, to still feeling battered after the end of a previous relationship and not ready to move on quite yet. Or maybe you’re not sure what you’re looking for and so it’s not really the best time to experiment. Perhaps your career is very important to you and likely to be a priority in the coming year. Ask yourself what the most important aspect of your life is right now – is it your children, or finding a place to live and getting on the property ladder or changing your job? Be honest about what demands there are on your time and energy. Imagine that looking for love is going to take up a big chunk of time for you – if you were asked to devote 14 hours each week to meeting new people and looking for love, could you find this time? It’s very difficult to be a successful dater if you are juggling other demands in your life, so best save yourself some time and sit it out for a while.
Are you prepared to be positive and have fun while looking for a partner?
Both the previous questions were about making sure that you really are emotionally available and physically able to find time for a relationship. While there’s a lot of truth in the line about love finding you when you least expect it, unfortunately ‘not looking for love’ is not a tried-and-tested dating tactic. To make the best of your dating self, choose a time in your life that you can spend some time and energy meeting new people and getting into a dating frame of mind. You need to be honest with yourself that this could take some time – not just a month or two – and be prepared to adjust your lifestyle to maximise your chances. Being lucky in love is not likely to happen to you if you view dating as a necessary evil. You need to decide that this is going to be fun and find ways of making it about adding interest and fun to your life.