Ready for a committed relationship?
Here are 30 tips to finding a committed partner. Some of them are just basic common sense; others might surprise you. Even if you don't follow them exactly, follow them in spirit. They are positive, communicative, fun and respectful.
1. Do plan the first date to include an event, such as a movie, museum, concert or walk, along with talk time. Don't just think you can sit and bare souls all evening -- unless you agree to limiting that time to a drink or coffee so that if you don't particularly like his soul, you have an easy out.
2. Do practice seeing the other person's perspective. Always a good habit.
3. Do bring out the best in other people -- in addition to making them feel good, it automatically makes you seem more charming.
4. Do acquire a multitude of subjects you're able to talk about. Women who talk about their work all the time are no more interesting than men who talk about their work all the time.
5. Do compliment people. The most impressive person I ever worked with never spoke negatively about anyone even when I knew there was plenty that could have been said. It's a great character trait.
6. Do treat your lover as well as you treat your friends. We are capable of being nicer to strangers than we are to the people we love, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Be courteous to everyone -- but especially to the ones you love or might love.
7. Do one thing every day to promote your relationship goals. This helps break procrastination. For example, call someone and say, I'm interested in serious commitment and am looking for someone I might date. Do you know anybody?" You could also start a dating profile online, attend a singles mixer, or simply change your route so you run into new people.
8. Do get out of your house and go where there is a chance of meeting a potential partner three times a week.
9. Do know what you want to change about your past relationships so that you are not doing the same things in new ones. There is always some room for self-improvement.
10. Do realize the sexiest, most attractive person is not necessarily the best choice for you.
11. Do be available. This means you need to check your email, voicemail, etc. and respond. Indicate to him that you have time in your life to put into a relationship.
12. Do develop your communication abilities. If you need to be a better listener, practice listening. If you need to be more self-revealing, practice expressing yourself more. You can't feel loved if you don't feel comprehended. And you can't be comprehended if you are unable to tell him or her who you are.
13. Do count on some negatives from anyone you're in a relationship with. Deal with them straightforwardly and as quickly as possible.
14. Do be assertive in letting himor her know you would like to go out or go out again. This could mean calling to say you had a wonderful time or sending a note. But genuine and expressed enthusiasm toward him or her usually works equally well.
15. For women, Do remember that some of the people who make excellent candidates for mates are not the ones with the fanciest footwork. Some people who are really, really great on dates are well-oiled by all the dates they've had. The man who is more invested in commitment may sometimes a bit clumsier than the guy with nothing to lose.
16. Do realize that part of courtship is being willing to see his or her flaws so you'll know if you can love him or her flaws and all. He or she is flawed. You are flawed. We are all flawed. There is no perfect person or perfect relationship so don't dash off as soon as you're disappointed. Ride through it to find out if it settles down into a doesn't-matter compartment, or if the two of you can resolve the difficulty.
17. Do be genuine. Know yourself and act accordingly.
18. Do carry business cards with you so you can make yourself known, and easy to find!
19. Do ask questions. It's a good way to get to know him and find out if he or she is open and a good communicator.
20. Do be prepared for rejection -- it happens. Get really good at handling it. Move on and find the person who does want to be with you. You may have already experienced pain and sadness after being left and lived to see the day you were thinking, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for dumping me." When the abandonment waves have passed, you sometimes realize that being left by him or her was a lucky break.
21. Do be enthusiastic if you want to see him again. "I've had a nice time -- thank you," is inadequate. Be excited.
22. Do keep the conversation positive.
23. Do give back, whether it's time, money, or thoughtfulness. This can include calling back to ask if his or her sore throat is gone, whether the deal came through at work, or if he or she had a safe trip.
24. Do send articles that pertained to topics you discussed on your date. It's a great way to remain in communication.
25. Do discuss sex before it becomes an issue. After is too late. Make sure you're in agreement about what it means.
26. Do seriously assess intentions between the third and tenth date. You want someone who's communicating comfort with intimacy, someone who's interested in the long term. If he or she is truly uninterested, then say goodbye. If he or she does have marriage on the mind, you don't need to rush it. But keep the year in mind. By the time four seasons have passed, most people know if they want to marry or not.
27. Do focus on being able to have a good time by yourself.
28. Do admire and respect the person you're choosing. Also admire and respect yourself.
29. Do be willing to touch and be touched. Lovemaking and all forms of physical touch are an area that is very important for you two to be on the same page. Most relationship counselors would say couples problems are about sex, money, or love and usually in that order.
30. Do know the facts about each other so there aren't any terribly big surprises.
The point is to be yourself and work toward and believe in a positive outcome. When you do, dating will be more fun and everything that follows will be healthier and more productive.
Follow Janet Blair Page on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dr janet page