This article is about learning how to date successfully, not about the clothes you wear, your attitude, acting your age, hairstyles or any other physical or social trait. It’s about YOU, and learning how to define a healthy relationship based on your desires and needs. It’s about attracting people and situations that are fulfilling to your spirit, and recognizing that you have unlimited options. It’s about learning how to change old patterns so that you can define life on your own terms.

Dating provokes a wide spectrum of emotions, ranging from excitement and giddiness to disappointment and frustration, which means starting a new relationship, requires that we take a leap of faith. We have to trust that our instincts will attract the right person, who offers qualities that will create lasting happiness in our lives. It’s often a slippery slope for many of us though. Making the right choices or finding ‘true love’ can cause more frustration than peace. Reading romance novels, talking to friends and watching movies only add to our confusion. We find that our instincts aren’t always the best choice, so we allow concepts such as the proverbial white picket fence to guide us through the process.

Decades ago, a white picket fence in the burbs became a status symbol by a wealthier sect of society to represent success, good fortune, and love. It was an ideal many people strove to achieve. Along the way we learned to adopt these external qualities into our relationship model, as well as our parents’ (or caregivers’) patterns, behaviors and decision-making skills, while neglecting our inner voice or spirit. We’re never shown how to define love for ourselves, so we add these outside factors into our own formula, which oftentimes perpetuate our frustration of not being able to date successfully or find Mr. or Miss Right. Instead, we learn by trial and error, and in some instances we just give up trying altogether.

To attract the right person you have to figure out not only what you desire but also who you are. A basic rule in the Law of Attraction states that the world will change around you as you change the world within you. Unfortunately, this is a catch 22 in personal development. Unless you’re given the tools to succeed, you’ll continue down the road most traveled. After you spend the time defining what you do want, you may find that a white picket fence isn’t a characteristic you really want. To create a new relationship model for yourself, it’s important to debunk a few distracting societal myths so you can begin with a clean slate.

Romantic Myth Buster #1: You control who you date.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but as I mentioned earlier, unless you do a little self-discovery you’ll typically attract someone that fits a pattern you observed in your parents. It’s true. Before man could write, humans survived for thousands of years mimicking roles and behaviors, which became heavily ingrained in our species. It’s why young adults find themselves in carbon copy relationships that their parents warned them to avoid.

Romantic Myth Buster #2: It’s too late to change.
This is 100%, unequivocally, absolutely untrue. Most of the time, we just don’t know any better, so we gravitate towards a pattern, dynamic, or role that we learned as a means to survive. You can change if you want to, but the trick is to know who you want to change into. The Universe, God, or whom or whatever you believe in can only respond to the clarity of your intentions. If your intentions are hazy then so will the results.

Romantic Myth Buster #3: Movies, history and literature are a good template for romance.
Movies can be a real bitch on your love life because many of the depicted love stories are simple fiction. This means that if you haven’t spent the time defining what you DO want, it’s easy to fall prey to the idyllic and romanticized images seen in movies, which are meant to entertain people.

Historical and literary references such as Romeo & Juliet, or Antony and Cleopatra can also be very damaging to your perception of what a romance should be. Keep in mind, both of these examples ended in double suicide, which while great for dramatic effect, hardly inspirational. Many of these images depict love as desperate, unwavering, and high in DRAMA. My guess is that these qualities aren’t exactly what you’d want to bring home to meet mother.

Romantic Myth Buster #4: ‘THE ONE’ is out there.

Ok, this particular topic makes me feel as if I’m treading a thick bowl of tapioca because the concept of finding ‘The One’ has become deeply ingrained in our culture. What I will say though, is that unless you know yourself, it will be harder to attract the idea of ‘The One’ or the perfect partner. In other words, your perfect partner will be easier to find once you know your perfect self. It’s also important to understand that while this idea offers possibility and hope, it also provokes a tremendous level of idealistic expectation, which as you know, can only bring disappointment. My advice is to spend some time defining what you DO want, so that you dramatically improve your chances of attracting your ideal mate.

Romantic Myth Buster #5: Self-discovery is easy.
I’ll probably catch some slack for this too, but the truth is that self-discovery and change can be very difficult. You have to be committed and willing to put the time and effort into figuring out what color YOUR picket fence may be, or more broadly what your relationship model looks like. Our culture is taught more to follow than to lead and be daring, which is necessary to evolve and grow. If you’re dedicated to attracting fulfilling relationships, you must commit to self-discovery; otherwise you’ll continue down the road most traveled. It may not be the magic pill you hoped to hear but it will produce the results you’re looking to achieve.

Here are two exercises you can do to change your life, and attract the type of relationships you want. First, define a set of personal beliefs, ethics or guiding principles. Great men such as Aristotle and Benjamin Franklin developed their core values as a template to guide their actions and decisions. They believed that to create a fulfilling life, one has to first define it on a personal level. In other words, you can have the life you want, once you know what you’re seeking. Second, define your relationship model. Finding the right partner requires that you define the qualities that he/she will demonstrate. Make a list of reciprocal qualities, ones that you’re both responsible for bringing to the relationship. Be thorough and true to yourself. The combination of those two exercises will become the foundation to attracting the people and situations you want. Once complete, read these items every morning to yourself so you can absorb, live, breathe them.

Author's Bio: 

Joseph Stuczynski is the founder and author of “Living and Loving Well”, a powerful 4-step method that develops one’s core values as a foundation for creating positive life changes. LLW specializes in private coaching and workshops that encourage personal development through the LLW method. Joe is also a PMI certified (PMP) project manager with more than 10 years of Information Technology experience in a Fortune 250 company.

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