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[This is Part II of the two-part series 20 Rules for Making Romance Happen]

Rule 11: 

Attend to His/Her Track Record

Rule 12: Don’t Expect Him/Her to ChangeWhen dating someone pay careful attention to her/his record. Inquire about past relationships. How did they end and why. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. Don’t think that you’re so special that whatever they did before couldn’t happen to you. If your prospect walked out on his previous relationship or was violent in the past, the chances are that this pattern will be repeated with you.

This is a biggie. Don’t think that you can change someone. What you see is what you get, must be your credo. If you find yourself saying, once we get married then s/he will be different, watch out! Unless there is some significant intervention in a person’s life — death of a loved one, serious illness, psychotherapy — the chances are that a person will behave in a constant manner. If they are explosive, violent, sloppy, mean spirited, shy, passive, etc. when you meet them, expect that is the way they will be in the future. A word of caution: their true colors show up later. Sometimes people are able to put on a good show and they are good actors in the short run. In business terms, they give good interview, but are short on follow through. So you should be careful to give yourself time and have the opportunity to see your prospective mate in a variety of settings with a variety of people.

Rule 13: People Are Human, Don’t Expect Perfection

Be realistic in your search. If you find yourself avoiding a potential relationship because of some minor idiosyncrasy you should question your commitment to finding a mate. Often focusing on small, inconsequential details of a person’s looks or personality characteristics is a sign that we are trying to avoid either commitment or intimacy. People are imperfect, but these imperfections are what makes us human. By the same token, it is not a good idea to settle for someone that does not meet your criteria just because you are determined to get married. Is it realistic to expect that your mate be flawless?

Rule 14: Know the Difference Between Impulsiveness and Spontaneity

To act spontaneously

is wonderfully exciting and fun. To act impulsively is often destructive, either to oneself or someone else. Spontaneous behavior seldom leads to disaster. Spontaneity does not override common sense. The brain must make thefinal decision when your feelings urge you to act. Impulsively getting married on a whim like having sex with someone without protection, can

Rule 15: Distinguish Between Sincerity and Commitment
lead to disaster.

Many folks are very sincere in what they say. They speak from the heart. We are very sincere about our desire to lose weight orto save money. However, sincerity alone does not affect the scales or increase the bank account. Only commitment does.

Commitment is what you do. I have often said, “sincerity is in the heart, commitment is in the feet.” When someone tells you that they are sincere about something, watch for the behavior to back up the sentiment. Listen to what folks say and then watch what they do.

Rule 16: Socialize With Others: The Double Date

Frequently when you meet someone you are attracted to, you want to spend all of your time alone with that person. Though understandable, it is dangerous. You are getting a biased perception of the person. When we are alone with someone we tend to see what we want to see, not necessarily what actually exists. Therefore, I urge folks to double date, see each other in different contexts. We behave differently when we are with friends, relatives, and other people in general. When we are with others we get a chance to step back and observe one another. If you are serious and not being governed by impulse or desperation or lust, you will take into account the perceptions of others.

You will not discount what you see of your prospect’s behavior in other contexts.

Rule 17: Don’t Date a Married Man or Woman

If you date a married person, you can be sure that you are not interested in a permanent relationship. If a person is fooling around on their spouse, they will probably fool around on you.. Married folk make for playmates, not mates. The best you can say about a relationship with a person who is married is that you enjoy yourself with someone who is not 100% available for you.

Rule 18: Don’t Date on the Rebound — Yours or His/Hers

The rebound relationship is most frequently based on the need of the person who is suffering from the loss. The person on the rebound is hurting, sad, lonely, angry, and generally upset. Dating someone on the rebound puts you in the position of care-taker.

It pulls you into a one-sided relationship with a person more involved in their own healing and desire to reduce their own pain than they are interested in you. They would be responsive to anyone who is sensitive, comforting, and understanding. Once the healing takes place, the nature of the relationship changes. Gratitude is not a good foundation for a lasting relationship nor is one built on being a caretaker. Perception is clouded when one is on the rebound. More often than not, they are looking for something to take away the pain.

Rule 19: Only Date Those With Whom You Have Something In Common

In the beginning of a relationship when our heart is all-aflutter and our palms are a bit sweaty, “all we need is love, sweet love.” But this quickly fades as the reality of life seeps into our romantic connection. You can only gaze dreamily into each other’s eyes for so long, and then you may want to talk or do something. One of the cornerstones of a lasting relationship is having something in common with one another. Friendships are based on common interests, values, or ideas. Friends enjoy each other’s company and conversation. If you and your prospect have nothing in common but a roll in the hay, you might want to think about being playmates rather than soul mates.

Rule 20: Re-define the meaning of Rejection

When setting about to find “someone right for you” be prepared for many false starts.

As the saying goes, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince(ss).” Some of us are far too sensitive to the word “rejection.” Rejection is simply another way of saying “no.” And who among us is so arrogant as to assume that no one should say ‘no’ to us? However, many of us take the word no to mean that something is wrong with us. We take it to mean, not good enough, bad, unworthy, yukky, and phooey.

We take it personally. Just as you might say ‘no’ to the offer of a piece of chocolate cake with whipped cream without implying that the cake is bad, you can say ‘no’ to a prospective mate and have the mate say ‘no’ to you.

O.K., there you have it. You have just read the short course for finding an appropriate mate. If you follow these guidelines, you will be well on your way to changing your approach to the business of mate selection.


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[Dr. Dreyfus is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist, relationship counselor, sex therapist, and life coach in the Santa Monica – Los Angeles. The profits from his latest book, LIVING LIFE FROM THE INSIDE OUT along with his other five books, are being donated to charity through the website Book Royalties for Charity and can be purchased through Amazon.com. Please become a fan on his Facebook Fan Page by indicating “like” on the page by clicking here. You can also find more tools to help you experience a more fulfilling life by clicking here to visit his website.]