1. Let yourself heal from your last relationship
It takes time to get your bearings and start trusting again. The hardest part is learning to trust yourself again. It helps when you can look back and see where you may have missed the red flags.
Smiling and making eye contact (even if just for a second) will let a good guy know you’re open to being approached. Otherwise, you’ll attract guys who don’t care if you’re interested. Or worse, who want you because they think you’re not interested. (And guys, when you smile at a woman, at first she may not realize that you’re smiling at her. So, give her a minute to smile back.)
3. Find your village*
Andy Whaling talks about how in “olden times” when we lived in villages, it was easier to find a quality person. You probably knew their family and shared similar values. So, the key is to find your village or your “people” today. This could be a church, the dog park, a political campaign… any place where people share values important to you.
4. Run away from your “type
If a relationship with your “type” hasn’t worked in the past, there’s a good chance it won’t work in the future. Besides, initial chemistry just means they fit all the hardwiring in your brain from your family-of-origin relationships. So, if you don’t want a repeat of your past relationships, chemistry may not be your friend. That doesn’t mean you can’t have passion. It just may take time to develop. (Guys, since you’re more visual, you might need more initial chemistry.)
5. The only goal of a first date is – “Do I want a second date?”*
Not — Do I want to marry him? Does he want kids? Should I hyphenate? Talk about hobbies, movies, fun stuff until you know him better. Men can feel it if you’re sizing them up for marriage and it makes them really nervous. (And guys, even if you’re nervous, remember to keep the conversation going with back-and-forth questions. She asks, you answer. You ask, she answers. You both want the chance to share and listen.)
6. Trust your gut
If something feels uncomfortable or weird, it probably is. Pay attention to your instincts and intuition. In fact, when you feel something in your “gut”, that’s actually your solar-plexus, which is connected to your brain.**
7. Remember, this is him (or her) on their best behavior*
This is not the time to give him (or her) the benefit of the doubt. If there are any red flags in the beginning, like substance abuse, lying, meanness, infidelity… now is the time to cut and run.
8. Date, don’t mate!
It’s important to date lots of different people. But, if you get physical right away, you’ll want more closeness and commitment. And if he doesn’t, this can make you clingy and needy. (And guys, if you have sex too soon, you can actually ruin a good thing. So, remember, if you want a real relationship, it’s worth the wait.)
9. Remember, it takes about 3-6 months for infatuation to wear off
The first few months it’s like being on drugs, in terms of your hormones and brain chemistry. Your brain’s caution centers get really quiet. And you’re actually blind to the flaws in your new love.***
10. Is he (or she) the whole package?
Do they share your values? Do you have fun together? Do you have passion? Once the infatuation wears off, do you still like each other? If you answered “yes” to all of these, then you’re on your way to finding love!****
(When I was dating, I attended Andy Whaling’s Sunday Night Singles in Pasadena, CA. I’ve incorporated some of what I learned from Andy into my dating tips.* I’ve also included info. from some of my favorite books: A General Theory of Love by T, Lewis, F. Amini, & R. Lannon, 2000, ** The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, 2006,*** Getting Love Right, by Terence Gorski ,1993****)Dr. Vonda ("Vondie") Lozano is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, former Psychology Professor, and Author. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband. And she loves helping other women find love with her counseling, seminars, and ebooks. Get your *free* copy of Dr. Vondie's most recent ebook, Date, Don't Mate!