More than 250 million people around the world will start a romantic relationship this year. Millions will find the love of their lives. You can too — particularly if you avoid these six roadblocks:
1. Falling in love with love. Dennis, 35, a contractor, stands 6-foot-4 and sports his weathered tool belt with quiet authority. Since his two-year marriage in his late twenties he's had a series of two-to-three month relationships.
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He met his most recent on a beach. Tall and blonde, she caught his attention. She was in town for a three-day weekend. "Every time I would look at her it was like her eyes were radiating at me," he said. "Very quickly our conversations got very beautiful, very serious."
After she left, the pair talked for hours each night and emailed several times a day. She liked to fish at night near a local golf course. Peter loved fishing but found few women who did. "I was with my I'm-never-going-anywhere, pea-in-the-pod, soulmate and I was convinced that we were on our way to probably getting married," he said.
They made plans for her to return. When she got off the plane, they headed to the beach where they first met, planning to have their first kiss there. A romantic weekend unfolded. On the bus back to the airport, she fell asleep with his arm around her. Her head cut off his blood flow but he endured the pins and needles for a half hour so as not to wake her.
But he returned home to a voicemail telling him not to call her. Stunned, he emailed and she responded: "We are not a good match. Please leave me be."
Perhaps it was their 16-year age difference, her conservative Christian background versus his Buddhist leanings or the legacy of his past alcoholism or her past abusive relationships. He may never know, though he has come to see that his feelings were unrealistic.
Instant love works for Hollywood but can be suspect in real life. If your overriding goal is falling in love, you may forget to focus on getting to know who the other person is or whether they are a good match. Falling in love with love takes only one and can happen in an instant. Real love takes two and it takes time. Neither person alone can control its outcome.
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2. A survival mindset. Mona, a 48-year-old nurse, runs marathons and bikes 100-mile races. Stylishly dressed and sporting long, wavy hair, she could easily pass for 10 years younger. Despite her successful career and great health, she says she feels "horrendously lonely."
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