Modern life is full of catch-22s. Having a partner can ease the daily grind, but exhausting routines can make dating feel like just another chore. But a five year plan could make finding love a little easier, according to a psychologist.
Dr Nikki Martinez told lifestyle website Bustle that a flexible plan can help a person understand exactly what they want in a partner but also what they can offer, too.
While planning too deeply can be stifling and make you blind to unexpected opportunities, Dr Martinez said that goals can keep a person focused.
She suggested first describing your ideal partner on paper, then revisiting the list to evaluate what you actually need from that person. Next, write down what you can offer someone in return.
Then consider a loose timeframe - rather than a rigid guide - to work around flexibly so you and those you date are clear about what you want. Learning from past relationships and not settling for someone that you have half-hearted feelings for are also important.
Of course, finding a loving partner isn’t clear cut and there is not one-size-fits all answer – which makes it all the more fun or tiring depending on your outlook.
Ammanda Major, a relationship therapist at the charity Relate, chimes that evaluating what you want and what you can offer are key to finding love.
“Are your standards of Olympian heights and impossible for anyone to meet?" she wrote in The Independent earlier this year. "Relate counsellors all over the country see clients who long for someone special in their lives but repeatedly reject likely candidates because they never seem able to meet all their needs and desires.”
She also advised against rushing to find a partner and comparing yourself to others.
“While it’s true that some people instantly 'know' they’ve found 'the one', there’s nothing wrong with taking time to see what develops,” she wrote.
Major added that boosting your self-esteem can also speed up the process.
“If you are single, consider whether you are definitely ready for a new relationship. It’ll be easier to attract a happy, confident partner if you are happy and confident in yourself,” she said.
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