The pursuit of true love is big business, with the dating services industry worth some $3 billion in the U.S. alone. And it’s no wonder; why not pay $50 or $100 for the chance to find a lasting relationship, and have some fun along the way?
Is a digital dating marketplace like Match, OKCupid, Bumble or Tinder the way to go? Should you let your coworker Chelsey introduce you to her cousin, or finally acquiesce to your roommate’s requests to set you up with her brother’s best friend? What are the odds that you will find true love in the produce section of Kroger, that wine bar on the corner, or at your BFF’s wedding, like something out of a RomCom?
Read on to learn the very best ways to find your perfect match.
Resist the Gimmicks
Speed dating, specialized apps that promise to link you up with other owners of chihuahuas or fellow hot sauce lovers, and other gimmicky ways to find a date? Steer clear. Unless there’s some aspect integral to your identity — for example religion, sexual orientation, or zodiac sign compatibility — that will shape the pool of eligible partners, you’re better off casting a wide net.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with dating sites or apps; just choose one that has a large user base or niche to your specific needs. This is especially important if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area.
If you truly think that a shared passion for mountain biking or a common interest in dancing to Icelandic death metal is the way to go, pursue those hobbies locally rather than looking to technology. It’s simply easier and more organic (read: less forced and awkward) to meet people in person.
Learn How to Love Yourself
Sure, it’s a cliche. But cliches are cliches for a reason — they’re true. In order to find a loving, healthy relationship, you have to love yourself first. If you don’t enjoy your own company, respect the choices you make, or believe yourself worthy of all the blessings life has to give, how can you expect someone else to?
In fact, it’s much more likely that your self-loathing, insecurities, or feelings of worthlessness will attract someone who is toxic him- or herself.
Don’t Be Desperate
Easy for us to say, right? But how many times have you heard that “as soon as you stop looking, you’ll find her” or “he’ll come into your life when you least expect it”? Problem is, you may have to genuinely give up on finding your perfect match; it’s not enough to say you’ve stopped looking, fingers crossed behind your back in case the universe is watching.
Chances are you’ve been on a date (or two, or four…) with someone whose desperation radiates off of them, like waves of heat from a barbecue grill. Were you attracted to them? On the contrary, you probably went running in the opposite direction as fast as your metaphorical feet could carry you.
In a way, this piece of advice is born of the same notion as learning to love yourself. If your goal is simply to get married, that’s easy enough to achieve. If, on the other hand, what you really want is happiness, then take your focus away from the altar and turn it inward.
When they actually manage to reshape their desires this way, most folks find that the puzzle pieces fall into place.
Keep an Open Mind
As a little girl, you always pictured yourself marrying a tall, dark, and handsome man. Or maybe you discovered in your early 20s that your type was actually a petite, blond, athletic woman.
Just because you have a particular “type,” however, doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to people who fit into that pigeonhole. In fact, by doing so, you’re probably greatly reducing the number of eligible singles on your already relatively small playing field.
Stop saying (or even thinking) phrases like “Redheads aren’t really attractive to me” or “I don’t want to date anyone who doesn’t have his Bachelor’s” or “I like older men.” Why dismiss an entire demographic out of hand? Your perfect partner could be three college credits short of her degree. The ideal man might be younger than you.
We’re not saying that you should throw out all your standards, or that dealbreakers aren’t OK. But at the risk of trotting out yet another hackneyed old chestnut, it’s always best to get to know people on an individual basis, for who they truly are.
Of course, you’ll have to be physically attracted to someone for the romance to blossom, but that spark could be there with anyone — a ginger, a high-school dropout, even your old buddy whom you never gave a second glance.
Don’t Forget About Future You
You know the old joke about looking for Mr. Right, but settling for Mr. Right Now. There’s no shame in that game; we all get lonely, and sometimes it’s OK to be with someone you don’t see yourself sticking with in the long run.
But when it comes to seeking your soulmate, think about the person you want to be. You might be loving your freewheeling, footloose life, but know that children are in the cards. Do you dream of moving to the country and adopting rescue animals, despite the fact that you currently live in a cramped downtown studio? Make sure to account for Future You as you get ready to stop sowing your wild oats.
There’s an old saying about how Jesus loves you just the way you are, and he also loves you too much to let you stay that way. Whether or not you believe in Jesus, this attitude is exactly what you should be looking for in a partner: acceptance, but also the desire to help you become the best possible version of yourself.
Is It Possible to Find Your Perfect Match?
The notion that “the course of true love never did run smooth” remains as apt today as it was in Shakespeare’s time, but you can find your perfect match. Expand your horizons, drop your expectations, make sure you feel worthy of the love you want, and don’t waste your time on wild goose chases.
Got a hot date, but you’re not sure where to meet up? Check out this rundown of Toronto’s best restaurants for inspiration!