It's that time of the year. Love is in the air, and Valentine's Day is quickly approaching.
The single ones are swiping away on a multitude of apps or asking their friends to set them up, in order to have a memorable and romantic day with someone. Some of us are hoping to meet that special someone and start a loving and long-lasting relationship.
When we're on the prowl for that special someone, however, our outlook and priorities change. We tend to be more focused on finding someone instead of enjoying life and meeting someone compatible.
Although finding "the one" and falling in love can attract desperation, the process can actually enhance many parts of your life. Your overall happiness will be positively impacted, along with your emotional and mental well-being.
But, the process can also dominate you and become the center of your life. It changes you, all the way from your thought process to the way you are perceived by others.
I asked April Masini, a relationship expert and the author behind AskApril.com, to expand on these changes:
1. Emphasize the process, not the race to the end.
If you “define the relationship” too quickly and declare someone as your new boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse too fast, chances are, the relationship will unravel just as quickly. Romantic whirlwinds are heady, but relationships that go the distance require self-knowledge and time.
Knowing your own deal breakers and assets (as well as your deficits) will keep you from jumping into a relationship with a single parent when you don't really want kids. It may keep you from moving in with someone after only two months of dating, before you realize he or she isn't quite divorced just yet, even though he or she lives that way.
2. Reconsider being stealth.
Tell your friends and family about the prowl. They have resources beyond the ones you might be able to drum up on your own.
They'll vet your dates without you having to do so, and they'll use social sieves you may not want to use (or be able to use). The family grapevine isn't just a rumor mill; it can be a gold mine.
3. Where you go indicates what you will find.
For instance, Tinder is a hook-up app. So no matter how impeccable his manners may be, if you met him on Tinder, he's probably going to ghost you over the course of the relationship (or after your first hookup).
If you're looking for someone for right now, choose a venue abundant with Mr. and Ms. Right Nows. If you're looking for someone for the long run, look in places where men and women want their relationships to last for the long run.
4. Be open to learning more about yourself.
You may think you want a particular type of person in a particular age bracket, with particular political beliefs and a certain type of lifestyle. Then, you can meet someone who blows your mind, but isn't what you thought you'd like.
I love it when people are self-aware and have self-knowledge, but it's always a good idea to keep your door cracked open. Be open to meeting someone you never thought you'd see yourself with.
Who knows? That person may just be your soulmate.
5. Remember opposites don't always attract.
Democrats and Republicans can find love. (Arnold and Maria made it work for a long time.)
Start at a Republican fundraiser if you're a Republican, or host a Democrat social gathering if you're a Democrat. If you're vegan, prowl the vegan aisles of your favorite organic grocery store for a date. If you're got a few pounds to lose, prowl the gym and find someone to go biking with, and celebrate loss (of weight) and love together.
6. If you're a single parent, scope out other single parents.
Don't be creepy, but do stay opportunistic. We all have baggage, but matching luggage can find you a relationship that works.
Stay away from your child's teacher, though, as the complications aren't usually worth the risk. Keep it on the down-low until it's serious to avoid complicating your life with the kids, exes and community. Besides, sneaking around can be sexy.