So, you’re in the dating scene looking for that special someone. There’s a good chance it all starts with swiping right.
Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are the norm these days and place a heavy emphasis on appearance above all else. While being physically attracted to our partner is important, it plays a small role when finding a compatible partner.
If you are sick and tired of kissing frogs, footing the bill for another superficial diva, and desperately want to find that special someone, this post is for you.
While it may not feel like it at times, finding that special someone on these dating apps (or anywhere) is possible. My husband and I met on Bumble in 2016, and I know of many other success stories. I consider it a success story when couples are happily partnered, share the same values and interests, and have mutual respect for one another’s individuality — critical traits to a strong relationship.
How to find a compatible partner:
Tip 1: Develop your level of awareness.
Awareness is the foundation for succeeding in anything in life and the foundational element of emotional intelligence. If you don’t know who you are, what you want, how you feel, or fail to understand your habits, patterns, needs, and desires, everything in your life will seem random and chaotic.
Many people who read this will dismiss this first step because they are unaware that they are unaware. We often think we know what we want and who we are without realizing we have adopted the social narrative of who or what we ‘should’ be. Studies show that 95% of us believe we are self-aware, while approximately 10% are accurate in that assessment.
It is best to err on the side of caution and assume we are unaware. Why? Because we all have room to grow, and there is always something new to discover and learn. If you are uncertain whether you lack awareness, check out …. Or take this free emotional intelligence assessment by Psychology Today.
Don’t feel shame if you find out your awareness is underdeveloped. This is not a reflection on you as a person. It is a skill that must be developed—one which many of us were never taught. I lacked tremendous self-awareness for a good part of my life. At the time, I had no idea, and I would become defensive if anyone tried to correct me or tell me I had a problem —a tell-tale sign.
Signs of a lack of self-awareness in the dating world:
Failure to see patterns in past relationships that will likely carry over into new relationships.
Failure to take responsibility for miscommunication or reactions.
Tend to talk more about themselves than show a genuine interest in others.
Creates unrealistic expectations.
Struggles with compromise and accepting others as they are.
Believe they can change others or others will change for them.
Only finds fault in others but never themselves. (Typically, the faults we see in others or judgments we make of others is something we are subconsciously judging ourselves for.)
Always ask yourself, “Am I the person the other person is looking for?”
The harsh truth is that the person we end up with is almost always a reflection of ourselves, on some level.
If you skip this first step, none of the others will be effective.
Tip 2: Get clear on what you want.
If you are not casually trying to date, you need to approach dating like a recruiter looking for the perfect candidate. This doesn’t mean you have to interrogate your date with an endless stream of questions right out of the gate. However, you should make a detailed and carefully thought-out list of exactly what you are looking for in a partner while keeping in mind that nobody is perfect.
Once you have your avatar of ‘the one,’ think carefully about the listed attributes and label each one as either: a nice to have, negotiable, or must. Equally, list out all the traits that are deal-breakers.
Why is this important? Because when we are in the heat of the moment, emotions can take over and we become blinded by lust. We tend to overlook or dismiss red flags that only become ‘visible’ once the newness of the relationship wears off. If your date exhibits a deal-breaker, it is wise to step away. If you choose to give a second chance, that will likely turn into a third, fourth, etc.
Your goal is to find someone who is compatible, not try and create someone compatible.
Tip 3: Ask them serious questions.
In the early stages of dating, there is a lot of banter that serves little to no purpose. Avoid questions like “What’s your favorite food?” “What’s your horoscope?” or “What is your ideal date night?” One of the first questions you should ask is, “what are you looking for in a relationship?” If they are not looking for something serious and you are, that’s something to know before going further.
Do they want kids or have kids?
What is their relationship with money?
What were some of the challenges they faced in past relationships? – This is not too personal of a question if they are genuinely committed to a serious relationship. How they talk about their exes and past relationship problems tells you a lot about the individual. If every ex was a “terrible person,” run. This shows a lack of responsibility for the relationship not working out. No one is without fault.
What would they do differently in a new relationship?
What do they identify as their strengths and weaknesses?
What are their moral values, religious or political beliefs?
What are their ambitions, passions, and hobbies?
What do they do for a living? Are they happy with their career path?
Where do they see themselves in 5, 10 years?
Don’t be afraid of scaring someone away with these questions. If they are serious about finding a long-time or lifetime partner, they will appreciate your interest in the things that matter. If they don’t, they are not the ones you seek.
I asked all these questions and more on the first date with my husband. Our second date was scheduled for the very next day, and we were engaged a year later.
Tip 4: Be who you are now, not who you intend to be.
It’s normal to want to put your best foot forward when starting a new relationship. We may intentionally work on our flaws and tell ourselves that this relationship will be different. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be our best selves. However, developing that version of ourselves doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.
If you ever think back to past relationships and say to yourself, “that wasn’t the person they were when we first started dating. They changed,” you have seen firsthand the effects of someone trying to be who they are currently not.
Your current self will come to the surface eventually. Instead of trying to overhaul your undesirable habits overnight, take it slow. Let the person know you have things you are working on, or better yet, take a pause from dating and focus on yourself before jumping into a new relationship.
When we can live with ourselves and not feel we need another, that is when we tend to see the healthiest relationships blossom. Two independent individuals who are content with themselves need no one to ‘complete them’ because they are complete and seek a partner to enrich and share their lives with, not become their lives.
By carefully following the above tips, you are almost sure to find someone that enriches your life and you theirs. Always keep in mind that the person you attract reflects the self. While your habits and personalities may differ, your energy and values are relative at their core.
You will undoubtedly attract a healthy partnership when you build a healthy relationship with yourself.