The sun is finally shining, but for some people, it might seem like everyone is wandering off into the sunset with someone special except them. Luckily, Relate Bedfordshire and Luton, the UK’s leading relationship support organisation, has advice for anyone who is looking for love this summer.
Relate counsellor Diane Whitmore said: “If you’re single this is a great time to start opening up to the idea of finding love. It feels like all around me friends, colleagues and acquaintances are all thinking about meeting new people and forging new relationships. So here are my top ten tips for finding love and dating.”
- Be happy first
Make sure you are as happy and fulfilled as possible before trying to get into a new relationship. Looking to another person to make you happy will not last and is likely create unwanted pressures and resentments down the line.
- Keep your friends close
Develop and maintain a strong network of friends and family support around you. These people are your counsellors, cheerleaders and your safety net to catch you if you fall.
- Be real
When you are getting to know someone be honest about who you are and what you think, don’t say things just to make the other person like you. In order to find a real lasting connection you have to be your most authentic self.
- Take your time
Listen to your head as well as your heart and your hormones! Really get to know the person before rushing into a relationship, a premature commitment, or bed.
- Make a list of your ‘non-negotiables’
Think about what you absolutely cannot accept in a relationship and stick to it. If you want kids and your date explicitly tells you on the first date they can’t stand them, think carefully. Hanging around hoping they’ll change their mind could build up frustration that you want different things, when they told you from the outset how they felt.
- Be curious, be interested
During dates, as much as you talk, also ask questions, listen and be curious about what makes the other person tick. People like people who are interested in them.
- Make eye contact and smile
In a study, pairs of strangers were asked to reveal intimate details of their lives and then to look into each other’s eyes for four minutes. Many of these couples reported feeling deeply attracted to each other and two of these couples in the study actually married afterwards!
- Be safe
In our modern culture of online and virtual dating, people can present themselves however they want, so always make sure you keep yourself safe. Let someone know where you will be and get them to check in on you.
- Find support
If you have had bad relationship experiences in the past or are worried that your ‘radar’ is off, you might find it useful to work through some of your issues with a Relate counsellor either before you start dating again or during the process. They can help support you to become more aware of your patterns and make better choices.
- ‘Rejection is protection’
Finally, when you open yourself up to love you also open yourself up to the possibility of heartbreak. If you are rejected, try not to take it too personally. There is no point dwelling too much on what happened, what you did wrong, why they didn’t call back etc. It could be any number of reasons, none of which are about you at all. I love the quote ‘rejection is protection.’ Think that this person was not right for you and they did you a favour letting you go so you could find the person who is.
Don’t lose heart, keep going and don’t give up on your search. It will all be worth it in the end.
Relate Bedfordshire and Luton offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of relationships, including helping people to find love and start out in new relationships.