Balancing Life While Looking For Love
By Dr. Pepper Schwartz
It's simply time for ME! You've made the decision that no matter what, it's high time you devoted some time to looking for love. Problem is, you don't know how to do it. The idea sounds great, but by the time you are through with work, household issues, seeing friends, doing basic personal maintenance and handling everyday crises, you fall into bed…single another week, month, year or even years. If this describes you, even a little, it's time to get serious and change your life. Here are 10 pointers to help you do it. If you even do half of them, you will make enough time to date, fall in love, and eventually, commit to a life partner. If you do all of them, you speed up the time it takes to do all that to warp speed!
Tip 1: Plan your whole week out ahead of time. Slot evenings, mornings, coffee breaks, etc., to get as much time on PerfectMatch.com and find your matches. Then reserve certain slots of time over the weekend or after work (whatever suits your lifestyle) to meet people for coffee. Guard these times as if they were client meetings, your workout, or your kid's school play. They cannot be sabotaged. If you feel you have only a little time, then schedule it. But don't let these slots disappear. If you don't meet anyone for coffee (or whatever) that week, use the time to look on PerfectMatch.com for other interesting partners. Don't let your work swamp your personal life!
Tip 2: Be efficient. Be open to a number of kinds of people, but don't go after long shots or people who you know won't be appropriate for a lifetime partner. Just like people making "cold calls" to sell someone something, do your study of people up front, so you know you have a pretty good chance of being entranced with this person if there is chemistry.
Tip 3: Ask for help and offer it. Most of us do not ask enough of our friends. We should ask more; helping each other is the essence of friendship. So request some help babysitting, driving your kids to school, getting your groceries one week, or covering for you at a meeting. You can reciprocate. Trading favors can help clear some days or hours for going out that weren't previously available.
Tip 4: Look carefully at the demands of your job. How many hours are necessary, and how many have you invested? Do you really need to have lunch at the office or could you meet someone more romantically interesting during that hour? Do you let your work eat up too much of prime time for socializing? Do you let work take over pretty much every waking hour? Think about what is really optional that you've been treating as if its not, and use that to create some room for romance in your life.
Tip 5: Create new time. How much time would you get back if you cut back on answering email, phone messages, etc., right away? There are things we do that we don't realize eat up way more time than they should, and then squeeze us for time we really need. A lot of so called "time savers" have actually eaten away at personal time so badly that time that used to be available for love is just gone before we know it. Simplify your life if you can, at least for certain hours, days or periods of time. Take those hours and put it into finding, and getting to know, someone to love.
Tip 6: Combine events. Many of us are afraid we are not getting enough time with our friends and that dating will take too much time away from already starved friendships. Well, why not combine friends and dates? There is no law that says you have to go out with someone all alone. Take your new romantic interest and meet friends for movies, dinner, in-line skating, whatever. You can nourish all your relationships at once.
Tip 7: Plan downtime, thinking time. There is no way to know if you are balancing your life if you are running so fast that you don't have time to contemplate how things are going. You need to schedule time for assessing your life and the way you apportion your days and weeks. Take an hour thinking about life before you go to sleep, think about your life strategy on Sunday mornings, or maybe on your walks or exercise hour. Don't spend week after week without a session with yourself.
Tip 8: When you start seeing people, use some of that time for practical things. Have no time to date and exercise? Well, have an exercise date. Have no time for chores and dating? Suggest that you help your date with Chore A, and he or she could help you with Chore B. Some of this could be fun like stocking a pantry, digging up plants, painting a wall, looking for a present. Once you know someone a little, they will be happy to do pleasant, but necessary, personal and household chores with you…especially if you save a little quiet time for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee or dinner afterwards.
Tip 9: Put time for laughter and play in your life; it reminds you what life is all about. Laugher is one of the most settling emotions we have. If you feel tense too much of the time, your life is probably not in balance. One thing that will help you see through the situation is to lighten up, and what does that better than laughter? Go to a local comedy hour, watch a funny movie or TV show, or by a book by a humorist. Laughing helps put things in proportion, and proportion is what you are looking for!
Tip 10: If you find you can't change anything, go see a counselor. If you find yourself resistant to the slightest changes, then perhaps you are more fearful about finding love and a partner than you think. A balanced life really does need to include a compatible partner. If you simply won't make the time available to look for one, or maintain the beginnings of a significant relationship, then perhaps deeper issues are in your way. You may not be able to unearth these habits or emotions yourself, and if you are not making any progress bringing some balance into your life, than I suggest you get some help. Don't worry, therapy doesn't have to go on for years and years, but sometimes, even a few visits to a counselor, can give you insight into how you are getting in your own way.
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