Are you new to dating? Have you been trying to find Mr. or Ms. Right for some time? Chances are, you’re looking for helpful pointers in 2021. After all, despite your hopes for a love connection, navigating the dating world after a pandemic can be a confusing and frustrating. Now more than ever, it’s important to pursue new romantic possibilities with intention, clarity, and safety.

Can you still do those things and enjoy the dating process? Yes! Here’s how to make the most of meeting potential partners this year:

Know Your Dating Goals

Figuring out what you want doesn’t mean making a list of acceptable attributes your perfect partner must possess. This kind of list-making can be a fun exercise, of course, but that person doesn’t honestly exist. And even if they did, they might not be as a great a fit as you might think.

Rather, this is a call to understand your reasons for dating. Give serious thought to what you ultimately want. Review your past relationships. What happened? How would you proceed differently now?

Be clear about what dating is for you. Are you just looking for fun and lighthearted companionship? Do you hope to find someone with whom to marry and raise a family? Your answer makes a big difference in your dating approach and how satisfying it may be for you and the people you invite into your life.

Pace Yourself

Romantic movies, television shows, and novels are a billion-dollar business. Our culture fosters idealistic romantic notions of true happiness only being found as one half of a couple. Thus, people jump into promising connections and rush toward their own happy endings on a movie timeline. Only to find out they aren’t compatible after all once the infatuation phase fades.

Dating In 2021: Making the Most of Dating This Year

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a new person in your life. Whether you meet them online or in a more traditional manner, go slow. To make the most of a potential connection, give it room to develop. Enjoy the process of getting to know a potential partner without assuming that they are “the one.”

Honor Your Gut

It may be tempting to overlook red flags and dealbreakers if the dating pool seems shallow or a potential partner initially seemed ideal. However, forcing a situation that makes you uneasy can block the way for someone for whom you are better suited. Protect your time and energy. You deserve a safe, satisfying dating experience.

If you find you are continually overlooking worrisome behavior, disconnected values, or problematic dating history, consider that a “potential partner” isn’t really a good prospect at all. Honor your intuition and let them go.

Stay Self-Aware

For example, if you know that you’re quickly infatuated when you start dating someone, keep this in mind. Pay attention to how you may start reading more into their words and gestures than what they may mean. If you find yourself mentally planning your wedding to them after only a few dates, realize you need to dial it down several notches.

If you know you tend toward people-pleasing when you want to impress someone, watch for this tendency. Essentially, the goal is to check in with yourself often. Pay attention to your feelings and behaviors when you’re dating someone and make sure they align with the situation, self-care, and safely moving forward.

Foster Contentment on Your Own

There is a lot to be said for nurturing and bettering yourself whether you’re dating or not. Nothing can scare away potential partners like a hint of desperation. As deeply as you may want to find a partner, make sure that you are emotionally secure on your own.

Emotionally healthy people attract other emotionally healthy people. Self-confidence and contentedness are engaging. You won’t find long-lasting happiness with another person if you can’t find it on your own first.

When you’re able to find fulfillment as a single person, potential partners will sense that you’re authentic and ready to connect. This fosters a dating environment that is more honest and meaningful.

Reach Out for Relationship Support

Are you struggling to attract or maintain romantic relationships? You aren’t alone. Consider reaching out to a therapist before you spend hours on a dating app. Relationship counseling can guide you productively with tools for self-understanding and interpersonal communication.

Let’s work together to identify and address any emotions or habits that interfere with your best dating year. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation