By Bob Grant
Most of my clients are single and want to get married. For years I've listened as men and women have expressed their frustrations with not being able to find "The One." When I ask them what they believe is the cause of their problem, most give the standard answer, "I guess I'm just too picky."
My response to them is almost always the same, "I doubt that's the problem." Here's why. When I speak with both men and women who are successful with dating and later marriage they don't talk about not being picky. If fact, the problem for most singles is the way they date. Those individuals who seem to effortlessly attract and keep someone wonderful tend to follow these 5 rules of dating:
1. Know What You Really Want. When most singles hear they shouldn't be so picky, they often believe this means they should compromise on those characteristics that mean the most to them. In reality, what is better is to not have too many items on your "wish list." Understanding what you really want in a partner means there are a few core items you absolutely must have in a partner, but on everything else you can be flexible.
2. It Takes Time to Get to Know Someone. When you're dating someone, here's what your brain is doing. In an attempt to evaluate the other person, you look for clues about his or her personality and character. The problem is after only one or two dates, you may think you know a lot about the other person, but you really don't. What you're seeing is only a "slice" of who that person really is. Unless your date acts in a way that is completely inappropriate, don't stop seeing that person until you get to know him or her better. 3 dates is the absolute minimum.
3. Don't Try and Save Someone. Let's face it; all of us have done this. You meet this very attractive person and you want it to work out so badly. They don't show up on time or they lie when confronted with the facts, but you end up justifying staying with them because, "They're really attractive," or "But he's so successful." The hope is given enough time they'll stop acting poorly and change into the person you know they "really are deep down inside." This approach to dating often causes singles to spend YEARS waiting for their partner to change...and it rarely does. It's better to find someone who's good for you and good to you rather than trying to convince someone to change.
4. Love Can't Fix Problems. Perhaps you've heard this statistic, which relates to lottery winners. Exactly one year after winning the lottery, the person will feel exactly as he or she did before becoming rich. If they were frequently depressed, anxious or bored before receiving so much money, then that's how they'll feel - even when they're rich. The same applies regarding dating and marriage. A relationship can make a happy person happier, but it won't take away feelings of loneliness.
5. Notice How They Treat You When They're Unhappy. Dating is about getting to know another person. Some singles view dating as a magical time with a person who makes them feel wonderful, and yet that dream simply isn't possible...all of the time. I promise, no matter how amazing of a person you pick, there will come moments when they get discouraged. There will be other times when both of you disagree or even argue. How they treat you during those nonromantic moments is the best indication of what kind of marriage partner they will be.
The truth is in those moments, they aren't being driven by their feelings, but by the simple fact of do they care enough about you to be gracious to you...even when they don't feel like it.
Bob Grant, L.P.C. is the author of the bestselling relationship book, "The Woman Men Adore...and Never Want To Leave." For the past 20 years he has provided unique and powerful insights for thousands of men and women in over 50 different countries. You may visit him at www.relationshipheadquarters.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com