I have the ability to accomplish any task I set my mind to with ease and comfort.
Being myself involves no risks. It is my ultimate truth, and I live it fearlessly.
I have infinite patience when it comes to fulfilling my destiny.I would rather be loathed for who I am than loved for who I am not.I am a Divine creation, a piece of God. Therefore, I cannot be undeserving.
My essential nature is perfect and faultless. It is to this nature that I return.
I am connected to an unlimited source of abundance.
Tips about dating
1. Conquer your fears.
Three dates, with three different people, in three months. Nutty? Not at all, once you face your fears and recognize any relationship ruts you tend to fall into. "Fear sets in after relationship or dating experiences that are disappointing or painful, and to avoid future pain, we construct emotional barriers around our hearts," explains Nina. "But in being guarded from pain, we are also blocked from love because love calls for an open heart and the willingness to take risk." How do we get there from where we are now? Nina offers the following advice:
Map out your past few relationships. List your recent partners' traits, how you felt with them, and how things ended. Notice any common themes or patterns? Is there a type you are attracted to or certain red flags you tend to ignore?
Chalk it up to experience. As you look at your map of prior relationships, commit to learning from the past and to making more conscious choices about your future.
Take your sweet time. Don't go rushing into your next relationship to escape the past (see Why Should You Date?). "Progress slowly, and take the time to really get to know someone," says Nina. "For most women, becoming sexually intimate radically ramps up their emotional risk, so putting off sex helps create more emotional safety."
Learn from your past relationships, and prepare for your future!
2. Define your ideal date.
Whether we're looking for happy dates or happily ever after, it helps to daydream and define. So visualize yourself with your ideal companion, and write about what you see. Be as specific as you can, and try to get past boilerplate ideas like funny (what does that mean to you?) and kind (please elaborate!):
• What kind of activities do you share? (Hiking, camping, or enjoying the great outdoors? Sitting by a fireplace and talking? Going out dancing or to sporting events?)
• What are the qualities of the relationship that you share together? (Comfort and companionship, passion, spiritual connection, etc.)
• What are the character traits of the person that you see yourself with? (Open and warm, passionate about politics, knows how to play, etc.)
Also define your "non-negotiables" -- the traits and behaviors that you can't live with and the ones you can't live without. If you know, like Nina, that you could not be happy with someone who thought therapy was silly, write it down. Ditto if you know you want someone who wants children and believes in sharing home and childcare responsibilities. Nina would rather see us "being a little too selective," instead of "settling for someone who doesn't share our most basic values in life."
Describe your dream date with a dreamboat.
3. Describe yourself.
Now turn the attention on yourself. Write down a description of yourself, answering the following:
• What do I love to do? (Play tennis, go to the theater, garden?)
• What do I do well? (Your work, entertaining friends, listening?)
• What do I wish I did more of? (Travel, exercise, reading, writing?)
• How do I spend my money? (Food, music, charity, films?)
Pretend that you are introducing yourself to a stranger -- or better yet, that a good friend is introducing you. What would they say? Find out by asking one or two to write up a short description of you. You'll learn how good you look on paper, plus you might find an area or two where you'd like to see some growth or change. If you choose to investigate Internet dating, this could be your online profile.
Write one to three pages about yourself, and ask a close friend to describe you in writing.
4. Meet your match.
To meet the person you described in Step 2, you'll need to broaden your social network. Nina advises you to be "bold and varied in your methods of meeting new people," and suggests that you:
Spread the word. Tell your friends and anyone else in your social circle (including people like your hairdresser, yoga teacher, and librarian if you like and trust them) that you are interested in meeting any friends and acquaintances of theirs who might be suitable.
Get busy with groups and activities. Do what you want to do anyway (volunteering, a class, a new sport), and you'll enrich your life -- whether you find new friends and dating partners or not. Nina likes church singles groups and arts-related events.
Go online. "Internet matchmaking has evolved into one of the best and easiest ways to make new connections with really great people," says our expert. Check out Online Dating with Nina.
Speed date. It can be rough to get to the end of the evening and find out that no one has requested to meet with you later -- much more awkward than not having someone respond to an e-mail. That said, this can be a fun way to make new connections quickly.
Expand your dating pool.
More Badge Steps
5. Go on a date.
Chances are good that you have now at least eyed -- and possibly talked to, e-mailed, or casually met -- some new people. If you have not been approached, it's time to take a deep breath and approach someone yourself. You can simply introduce yourself and make it clear that you'd like to see the person again by saying so and offering your phone number, or you can take the plunge and ask for a date yourself. Remember, there are lots of fish in the sea, so the risk is slight, and few people (even if they aren't available or interested) will feel anything but flattered by your attention! When going out with someone you did not meet through a very good friend, follow Nina's "first three dates safety rules":
First date. Coffee or lunch; meet at a cafe or restaurant; keep it short (one to two hours).
Second date. Lunch, brunch, or after work hours meeting at a restaurant or bar; keep it short again (less than three hours).
Third date. Brunch, after work hours, or dinner; still in a public place; and still keeping it fairly short (three hours or under).
Leave two or three days between dates so that you have time to reflect and make notes about your impressions, particularly if you feel an immediate connection. How many times have we all looked back during a breakup, slapped our foreheads, and wondered why we didn't pay attention to those early red flags -- something the other person said or did that we chose not to hear or see at the time but that became a problem down the line? And the converse is true as well: Unless there was less-than-zero chemistry or an obvious lack of common ground, don't be too quick to write off a date.
Nina thinks it's helpful to have a plan for the first few dates to avoid "skyrocket" relationships (that fly and fizzle fast) and to gain "dating around" practice. On a first date, you are finding out if there's enough connection for a second date. On that second date, you are learning if you still click. By that third date, you'll be sharing, listening, and monitoring your feelings to decide whether to keep going.
Go on a date -- or two, or three -- with someone who interests you.
6. Keep dating.
Now that you've gone out on a couple of dates with someone you've met, check your response. If you feel you're already well on your way to love (see Healthy Love factors), congratulations! But if you're not quite sure just yet, go out on a date with one or two other people. Nina says that keeping your options open "gives you a sense of abundance and removes the desperation factor. You make better choices because you have more choices." True, dating around can get a little confusing -- but not if you keep these tips in mind:
• Make your intentions clear. Be up front about the fact that you are casually dating one (or two) other people at this point and honest (and firm) when you don't want to accept a next date.
• Keep the first few dates nonsexual so you don't get overly attached before you really get a chance to know the person you're dating.
• Beware of controlling personalities. Nina stresses that we should never keep dating someone who exhibits excessive possessiveness, jealousy, or the need to control our time together.
• Make sure your time is respected. Don't wait around for someone who is unreliable or noncommittal about dates and times.
• If your date abuses alcohol or drugs, call it a night -- and drive yourself home.
• Break it off after date three if it's not working out. Nina doesn't advise dating more than one person at the same time beyond the three- or four-date point, because someone is likely to become attached and get hurt.
• Pause and reflect as you date. This will help you determine if you want to continue seeing a particular date, but it will also help you date smarter, learn a great deal about yourself, and expand your sense of choice and possibility.
Play the field -- be safe, and have fun!
CONGRATULATIONS! It was so nice to meet you. You did it!
More Tips and Pointers
Success stories from other women who have dared to dream.
I Did It!
"I was nearing 40 and had made a number of really positive changes in my life. I was in a 'good place,' and wanted someone to share it with. After trying everything I could think of that might help me meet a special someone -- church, volunteering, online dating, going to parties I didn't want to go to -- I finally took the last step: maxing out my credit card to join Great Expectations video dating service. I told myself that I had gone into debt for far sillier things than finding a husband! I was fortunate in that I met my future husband within a month, and we both knew quickly that we were a match. We were engaged nine months later, and now I feel I have married my best friend. He was worth every penny!" -- Rochelle
"I've met the love of my life. We've been together for 10 years and want everyone to be as happy as we are. We have a lot of single friends, so my partner and I started talking about making some matches. It was pretty fun to think of the people we knew who didn't know each other but who we thought might click. But the chess pieces just wouldn't move as we instructed! We've learned, the hard way, to make introductions and then let people do what they will. We can't make them call each other or go on dates for them -- even if we know they'd be perfect together." -- Katrina
Why Should You Date?
Nina says there are three stages of relationships. Stage one is the grief, loss, and recovery that follow the end of a relationship, and stage three is being in an exclusive relationship. Stage two, dating around, often gets short shrift because we want to zoom out of stage one and into stage three. But our expert says that if we spend some time in stage two assessing our needs, meeting lots of new people, and sorting through them to find a partner who isn't just there but is actually good for us, we stand to gain:
• An expanded sense of possibility and greater sense of confidence.
• The sense that we are in control of our love lives, that they are not merely subject to luck and chance.
• A more fulfilling life as a single and increased chances of being part of a happy couple.
The common denominator in all your relationships is you, so:
• Understand that perfect people don't exist. Like everyone else, you have quirks, flaws, an imperfect relationship history, and emotional baggage.
• Be realistic in your expectations of people, starting with yourself. Work on accepting yourself as you are and as an evolving person.
• Work on that evolution. Improve your communication skills: Practice asking for what you want and talking about your feelings.
• Become someone you'd enjoy spending time with. Take an inventory of your character traits, and work on the ones you'd like to alter. Do you have the traits you are looking for in a partner?
• Cultivate your own sources of happiness and fulfillment. Strive to bring these into your relationships, rather than expecting your relationships to provide them.
Getting to Know You
To keep the conversation rolling and real communication happening.
• Establish rapport by talking about the shared interest or mutual friend that brought you together.
• Pay attention to your body language and your date's, too. People interested in communicating will make eye contact, turn their bodies toward yours, and respond to conversation overtures with enthusiasm.
• Focus on getting to know your date rather than on what the two of you are doing, how you (or your date!) look, or the impression that you are making. Remember the thinking you have done about the kind of person and relationship you are seeking, and bring up subjects and ask questions that elicit this kind of information.
• Probe for details. How do they feel about their work? What do they like to do on weekends? How do they relate to their family? How did their last relationship end, and how long ago did this happen? Ask questions that begin with what or how to avoid getting yes or no answers.
Nina's five factors.
• Shared values. Fundamental. This means we are basically seeking the same things in life (making a home, raising a family, spiritual growth, career support, etc.). A great couple needn't have mirror-image values, but their core values can't clash either.
• Equal desire for the relationship. Also fundamental, this is when two people emotionally and intellectually choose to be together, to place their relationship as a high priority, and to work on maintaining their connection. (This is not one person wanting the relationship and the other person "going along.")
• Intellectual, emotional, and sexual connections. Otherwise known as "chemistry," these factors usually lead us to fall in love. We need more than these components for a happy, long-term relationship, but shouldn't overlook them either. "Falling in love," writes Nina, "is the glue that binds two people together" and can provide incentive for working things out when problems occur.
Advice from the Expert
Online Dating with Nina
• DO be honest in your profile and use a current photo.
• DO ask more questions than you might when meeting someone your best friend has known for years. Never ignore a gut feeling that your date has something to hide.
• DO get to know your date's background before you become overly invested. Once you're clicking, suggest outings that involve your date's friends, coworkers, or even family members.
• DO keep your own safety in mind. Arrange to meet at their work place or a public place, and keep your wits about you -- watch the drinking. DON'T assume that everything you read in someone else's profile is for real. Ask questions about what you read, probe for further details, and consider evasiveness a red flag.
• DON'T spend too much time "courting" by e-mail. Talk on the phone when you are interested in someone -- and be wary of resistance to this. Arrange a face-to-face early on to ward off disappointment later. You want to make sure that the person you are getting to know is as appealing online as they are offline.