Between your career, your friends, working out, paying the bills and your family, dating can be the kind of priority that just keeps slipping further down the list. As the new year approaches and resolutions abound, it’s a good time to dedicate yourself to looking for (and finding) love.
Relationship expert and dating coach Matt Titus points out that a steadfast focus must become part of your schedule to get good results. “You can’t hope and rely on a serendipitous event to help fulfill your romantic life,” he says. “We all get caught up in our lives. New York’s pure hustle to pay your rent, save your money, buy the necessities and you want some money leftover to do fun things — all that stuff gets in the way and when I try to schedule [clients] to do our sessions or schedule them for a date, they’re too busy just trying to make it. That can truly inhibit how you facilitate a relationship.”
Finding time is not the only key — having a strategy is also important, says Titus. “There has to be a proactive plan of action. Mr. or Mrs. Right isn’t going to be in your apartment complex especially in a city where the women outnumber the men. In order for something to happen, a proactive action plan is what I advocate.” That dating investment involves shuffling your schedule so maybe that three times a week yoga class isn’t a must-have compared to going to a meetup or birthday party to meet new potential dates.
Creating time and space are definitely important, notes Kailen Rosenberg, relationship expert and author of “Real Love, Right Now.” In fact, Oprah’s Love Embassador recommends looking at your love life like a bank account. “You’re either depositing or withdrawing. You feel immediate effects in your bank account. This is the same – it needs time and consistent dedication and if you don’t, it harms and dilutes the relationship that you have or could have.”
This can include juggling your priorities and hectic schedule once someone special with chemistry is in front of you. “It’s time to put some of these other things aside and rediscipline yourself differently,” she says. “You need to treat it no differently than your education — like setting aside time to study. The same applies to love prior to a relationship and in a relationship. You have to say, ‘OK, it’s important at least we spend two to three nights a week to get to know each other.’”
Regardless of the outcome, she mentions there’s still a return of investment in the end. Either you’re going to end up in a relationship with someone special you gave enough time and dedication to find out who they truly are or, she says, “You’ll end up in a situation where you learned a lot anyway, you learned about yourself and what you want and don’t want for the next time. And you honored yourself at the end of the day.”
Create an action plan
Figure out the type of person you’re seeking. Titus recommends creating a selection criteria that’s “really focused and accurate as to who you want to be with.”
Think about where these people hang out. There’s many different ways that people of that age or religion or that cultural background or that type of interest spend their time.
Carve time out of your schedule and show up. Titus explains, “On Sundays, I would look at the upcoming week and say, ‘I’m available on Tuesday night, Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. I’m going to go to these specific places and try to make something happen.” Walk up to people you find visually interesting and try to start a conversation.
Treat online dating like a job. He suggests Sunday as the go-to day to send out emails to potential dates. “More importantly, there’s a lot of time wasting with online flirting with no intention of meeting. After two or three correspondences, make plans to get together. Have a cup of coffee or drink. If that doesn’t happen, move on.”
Continue the schedule. Once you find someone to pursue a relationship with, Rosenberg advises against having a weekend-only relationship; continue having weeknight date nights. “It’s really hard to establish a true emotional connection over constant texts and emails.”
Keep your eye on the prize. Her advice? Sit down in silence and ask yourself at the end of the day, “How else do I want to experience life? Would I be happy doing what I’m doing alone until I’m 80? Most people will say no, that starts to sound, feel and look lonely.”