Find the right love, fast.
Updated: Mar 23
Relationships are important. Time is short. Mistakes are costly.
The breadth and depth of the relationships in our lives are the single biggest predictors of our well-being and our happiness. They include relationships with your family, your friends but also to a life partner.
There is plenty of scientific evidence that shows that people are significantly happier in good marriages (in good and bad times and throughout the length of the marriage). And that these people will typically enjoy a longer and a mentally healthier life.
I’ve had 3 long-term relationships in my life. One of 4 years, one of 17 years and the last one of 7 years. They each had a profound impact in shaping who I am, the types of experiences I’ve built and the level of happiness I’ve enjoyed.
About 9 months ago, I decided to end my last relationship…. Preferring to affront a year of pain then a lifetime of status quo. My life had become unbearable and something had to change. I felt drained with lots to rebuild….
But finding a life partner is important to me and I asked myself: How can I find the right one, as quickly as possible and with the highest chance of long-term success?
Along the way, I dated many women and spoke to lots of men who wanted the same and it dawned on me that this could be helpful to the many who... like me are for the right one.
I decided to adopt a new approach to dating that will save me precious years, spare me costly mistakes and be enjoyable along the way...
First, be crystal-clear on what you want.
In business, life or love - it is critical that you define what is important to you.
When it comes to love, here’s how I decided to frame some of the questions that help me understand what truly mattered:
What are the values that you want this person to have? (Honesty, integrity, loyalty, etc)
What are the behaviors that you want this person to have? (How do you want them to show love? How do you want them to behave, etc…)
Where do you see your life in 10, 20 or 30 years and what type of person would you like to have by your side then? (How do you want to be enjoying life with that person?)
These questions should give you a solid foundation as to what is important for you in both the short and the long-term. Ideally, you should build yourself a mini-vision of what that relationship looks like.
Mine (too personal to share in details) looks like this:
"Insert your vision for your perfect relationship here"
Top 3 values I look for
Top 3 behaviors I look for
Top 3 things that define our relationship together in both the short and long-term
Focusing on the top 3 things will help you more clearly define what is truly important to you and allow you to focus on the things that truly matter… You want this to become the filter by which you review your dates...
This is what I call the non-negotiables.
Armed with a clear set of things you are looking for, you are now ready to date... not wasting your time or theirs.
Secondly, be completely authentic.
I don’t go into a date thinking “I hope she likes me…” but I go into a date hoping I will like her.
I also go into this thinking that neither person has much time to waste.
I assume that the woman in front of me doesn’t want any more heartache now or in the future than I do…. And that in the end, she is hoping for exactly the same thing that I am…. A loving and everlasting relationship.
I also know that given enough dates - our natural instincts will kick in, our need for love and companionship will take over and that all early warning signs will go ignored and that we will both be unconsciously postponing the inevitable…. A hard breakup, a divorce or worse…. A divorce with kids.
Sounds bleak? It is… I’ve lived it enough times in my life that I finally recognize the pattern - albeit at a late age. But it’s never too late to start changing.
So given that we both share the same common objectives (long, loving relationship) the question is how to get there…
The girls that I’ve dated recently will mostly tell you that I was disconcertingly honest and forward in disclosing who I am and what I wanted.
There’s a marketing philosophy that I adhere to that says: “you're better off appealing to a small group of loyal customers than trying to attract everyone.”
If I chose to be 100% honest with the women I date it’s because I know that I can’t be all things to all people and I’ve stopped trying.
I want to make sure that the woman I am dating understands the good and the bad of the person in front of her. I want to give her all of the information she needs to make a wiser decision about her future.
And if I try to paint that picture even slightly off…. I am only delaying the inevitable…. A break-up whose consequences will be felt even more and the feeling that precious years have passed by…. Once more.
Third, understand who you have in front of you…
But I also want to be clear on who I am dating too… and unfortunately, most people aren’t as forthcoming as I am and I understand why - they just haven’t learnt this important lesson yet.
A lot of people will not be mature enough yet but that doesn’t make them bad people.
So what we need to do is to be more attentive to them for the things they want, the things they are looking for and how they see their lives in the next 10, 20 or 30 years…
To help them spell it out and understand through the process what is meaningful to them so that hopefully, you can both make a much more educated match.
It is helpful to go through this process with them and it is usually something that is enriching for both people. I’ve learnt so much from the women I’ve dated and I think they will say the same.
By going through this process, I have often been able to create good friendships with these women because we’ve gotten to know each other at a deeper level - even if we weren’t meant for one another.
It is hard to assess someone’s values… and when asked upon them everyone will declare that they are the most honest, loyal and kind person in the world.
When defining which character traits are important to you - try to figure out which traits demonstrate the underlying values that you are looking for. Let me explain…
Let’s say that you want someone that is caring. Ask them questions about their family, their friends and their life experiences. Try to see how they reacted when the people in their lives needed to be cared for…. Were they there for them?
If you’re looking for someone ambitious, are they telling you they are but waking at 10 every day and living off of daddy’s money? Or is it someone that either studied hard or worked hard to get to where he is (and that is just his starting point).
And, trust your gut…
I believe that most people are good but clumsy…. But some are downright dangerous and manipulative.
Either way, most people are so eager that they will tell you what they think you want to hear rather than what they truly want or who they truly are.
What we need to do is to become more attentive…
A friend of mine told me that on a 3rd date with a guy, she felt they both had an amazing connection and got along splendidly... but he declared that he had just divorced and not ready for a relationship at this time. She pushed through for 8 months thinking "Surely, he'll see we are perfect for each other..."
To which I responded: "Sometimes you meet the right guy... just not at the right time in his life."
Be aware of that too... It's not just about finding the right person but the right person that is at the right stage in their lives.
At least he was forthcoming, but I have come to the realization that there isn’t a word that is added or subtracted out of a conversation that doesn’t have a meaning.
I have come to notice that every little tick, every gesture, every movement that we make is an expression of who we truly are and how we feel about the person in front of us.
People have different ways of reacting and expressing things but every sign matters.
I believe that we are all deeply able to read all of the signs but that we have lost our trust in our ability to do so…. We question and rationalize our thoughts afterwards - we shouldn’t.
And I’m not saying that at the first sign of something strange - you walk…. What I’m saying is that when you notice something, you pay attention to it and you catalog it (you should even write it down…)
If you see it repeat a few times and in a few ways…. You know.
There are so many amazing resources online on when and how to trust your intuition, on how to analyze signs in people and on how to develop your skills. I strongly suggest you go through as many as you can…. They are extremely helpful in so many other ways as well.
You saw any warning signs? Not the person you were looking for? Not the same life plans and goals? Shake hands nicely and walk away. If you found out that it was a good person, you may want to keep them around and you will have made a new friend in the process.
Fourth, look to your friends to help you make a better decision…
But if it’s date 3 and you’re still into them… Here’s what you need to be conscious of: the more interactions you have, the higher it is to walk away…
And that may be a terrific thing but this may be a good time to introduce them to your friends and family (not your children!) and see how they react to them.
Don’t listen to the one-off that agrees with you when all the others are warning you against it. The people who are close to you will see things in the other person you may not be able to see.
And while you continue to date, think (while you still can) that what you want is to avoid a long and painful mistake… and that by doing so, you’re saving yourself and the other person precious months or years of their lives.
It is not a selfish exercise. Quite the opposite…
And date, meet people often... until you find the right one.
Let's assume you're a 25 year old woman that is looking for an attractive (subjective), hard-working, caring man that will also become a great father to your children. Maybe that makes up 1 in 10,000 men.
Start by narrowing down men in the 25-35 year old range that don't smoke pot all day (tons of caveats there for those who know me...) or live off daddy's money, your chances are now maybe 1 in 50 men.
You can be lucky and it could be the first guy you date but it could also be the 50th (or worse mathematically).
If on the first date, you find out he's perfect in every way but doesn't want more kids... enjoy the rest of your evening, it's time to shake hands and move on.
Because if you wait around for him to change his mind or become the person you want him to be - you could technically be doing this for a very long time... I am 50, I know what I am talking about :)
There are so may ways to meet men and women today. Between the many social forums that still exist, the dating websites and slew of new apps - you could be dating 3 times a day if (or when) you have the time... :)
What you want to do is to make sure you go through that list as efficiently as possible so that it doesn't become overwhelming, fast. Make an early decision whether or not that intro from a friend is worth a 15 minute coffee or a full dinner date or no time at all.
It's not about dating the potential 10,000, it's about being selective about who make the top 50... It's about qualifying over texts, phones or in person... so that you can be good to your time and theirs.
When I finally go on a date, I always remind myself that we are both investing time in this and that we should both be walking out better because of it - no matter the outcome.
And to set the tone, I tell myself that: I am going to have a good time (I always did), I get to discover someone new and new perspectives on life (enriching) and I try to leave a positive impact on the person... even if it's only the pleasure of a fun and meaningful conversation.
I've made many new friends in the process and enjoyed small mistakes in the process (but spared myself and my dates countless heartaches...).
I am an eternal optimist. I accept failure as part of the process. What I want to do is to ensure that I avoid the really costly ones and focus on the many delicious failures that will make the whole path there pleasant and worthwhile...
So enjoy the path there... keep smiling, multiply the number of people you meet, be hopeful, authentic and try to be wise for two... Keep the mistakes small so that you can keep focusing on the fun path along the way...
Wishing us all and a true and everlasting love.