If you feel like you can’t be happy without your ex or a new partner; you’re repeating unhealthy patterns; or past trauma is affecting current relationships, then seeking professional help from a counselor, coach or psychotherapist can be key to becoming happy within yourself first
Personal development courses (I’ve benefitted from Landmark and iDiscover 360) and books can also help us to up-level different areas of our lives. The wholesome “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” by Henry Cloud, and Tracy McMillan’s more cheeky “Why You’re Not Married Yet” are both great books for singletons looking to find a long-term partner.
Taking the idea of “competition” out of your mind is also a useful thing to do. Try being the best and truest version of yourself to attract the best and most compatible partner to you – rather than comparing yourself to other single men or women. Someone you deeply click with isn’t going to care that you might not be a supermodel and, if they do, they’re not right for the long-term anyway. Trust the process and that if you’re really being yourself and you’re open, you will attract people who want the kind of partner that you are.
To read up more on healthy relationship dynamics, try “Attached” by Amir Levine; Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages”; “Conscious Loving” by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks; and David Deida’s “The Way of the Superior Man”. You can find summaries of these reads and more here.
Building meditation and yoga habits also helped me to stay present and healthy when I was going through a tough break-up and the subsequent ups and downs of dating.
As with most things, if we take responsibility for guiding areas of our lives like our romantic relationships, we are much more likely to get to the place – or person – we want to be and to be with
Avoiding mood-changing substances like alcohol can be a good idea when you’re dating too, particularly if you’d like to be with someone who is not socially reliant on them. This will help you stay level-headed when deciding about someone’s partner potential, and prevent unwise decisions that can happen when our inhibitions go out of the window! If you feel like you can’t date without it, it’s better to address the underlying issue of why that is by speaking to a friend, professional or support group about it, rather than numbing difficult feelings.
Getting clear on what kind of partner you want, how you might find someone like them, and what you could work on to be the best version of you for yourself and your future partner, can help you become more proactive if you feel stuck in the heart-driven process of finding a compatible partner, which often doesn’t seem to have logical rules.
As for me, I slightly smugly smiled when I realized my own ideal partner list from a couple of years back pretty much describes the person I’m dating now.
Go somewhere quiet and take a pen to paper, or open up a note file, and answer each of the following questions on a new page. Remember this is an exercise for your eyes only, so try to be as honest and specific as possible:
Your answers to the above questions (particularly “3. How do they spend their time?”) should give you the clues you need to increase your likelihood of bumping into someone like them.
If speaking to one person doesn’t seem to help, keep searching – therapists work differently for each of us. Sometimes past hurts can affect us more that we realize, until we seek a professional third party perspective.