RIGHT PERSON

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

HOW TO FIND the
IN 90 DAYS
YEA RS OF M& MILLIO ATCH NS ES

10

BAS ED O N

BY DAWN YANEK

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

INSPIRING MORE MARRIAGES THAN ANY OTHER SITE

INTRODUCTION

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here is someone wonderful out there right now, just hoping to find you. Yes, you. We know that may be difficult to believe, especially if you’ve been searching for a while with little luck—or if you agree with the 52 percent of single people recently surveyed who think they’ll never find The One.

Well, at Match.com we know better. You can meet the perfect person for you sooner than you ever imagined with our 90-day guide to dating success. That’s what our ten years of experience as the industry leader— and the force behind millions of happy matches and many marriages—has taught us. And now it’s time for us to share our knowledge, insights and advice with you.

This three-month plan isn’t just for a narrowly defined set of single people. It’s for anyone who’s looking to get back in the game with a distinct advantage—whether you’re never married, newly divorced, a single parent, straight (or gay), or over 50 and starting over—whatever your situation may be. We know that the process may seem daunting, but don’t worry— you won’t be alone. We’ll be with you every step of the way. We’ll help you figure out what’s been holding you back and show you how to take charge of your love life. From learning the lessons past relationships hold and boosting your self-confidence to the actual ins and outs of dating, we’ll give you the advice and support you need. Plus, you’ll be able to gain great insights from our trove of Match.com success stories. You may be asking yourself if now is the right time, and the answer is absolutely, undeniably “yes.” Achieving a happy relationship may be the most important thing you ever do, but it doesn’t have to be a long, painful process. We have the secrets for you to get exactly what you want quickly and effectively, and it’s all broken down for your ease of use—month by month, week by week. With this guide, you can unlock the door to your future happiness (in fact, you may want to think of this as your master key to love). So what are you waiting for? Click on Month 1 to start making it happen for you!
Dawn Yanek, author of Women’s Best-Kept Secrets and the former sex-and-relationships columnist for Stuff magazine, currently works as a freelance writer and TV personality in New York City. Like Match.com, Dawn firmly believes there is someone for everyone finding 'the one' is just a matter of expanding your possibilities.

THE FIRST STEP TO DATING SUCCESS: SELF-KNOWLEDGE!

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efore you get out there and start searching for The One, take a step back and think about an even more important person: you. So many of us think that finding our soul mate is about locating that elusive special someone or saying the right thing at the right time. But, as we’ve found at Match.com, the true first step toward relationship success is focusing on you. After all, you’re pretty darn amazing, and you can lose sight of that when you’re worrying about what to say on a big date.

So this dating guide is going to start out in an unusual way: with a break from dating altogether. By using this time to do some quick but revealing soul-searching, it’s possible to change your entire approach to dating in the next 30 days. Devote this time to analyzing your past and getting excited about your future, and, for once, make it all about you. Trust us— this alone time is what worked for the most successful Match.com members—and it’s just what you need.

MONTH1 1

WEEK 1:

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PAST: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

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STEP 1:

efore you decide where you want to go with your love life, you first have to analyze where you’ve been. According to Jane Greer, Ph. D., author of How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal, “By arming yourself with an understanding of your past

relationships, you’re equipped to protect yourself against repeating negative behavior and, most importantly, to ensure a different result.” That new result? Long-term happiness. The next three steps will lay the groundwork for achieving that goal.

TA K E I N V E N T O RY O F Y O U R PA S T R E L AT I O N S H I P S

Remember when we mentioned the good, the bad and the ugly a few seconds ago? Well, it’s time to take a little trip down memory lane with all of them. By writing down observations about your previous relationships, you’ll get a sense of the bigger picture and be able to map out how to achieve the relationship you really want.

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Use the above template to chart your relationships.

Once you’ve filled out this relationship scorecard, look for recurring themes and patterns. Then code each pattern with a different colored highlighter to make it pop out even more. For example, make “involved with someone who was emotionally unavailable” one color and “hung around too long after the spark was gone” another. Some patterns will probably be good and others bad, but the important thing is to get it all down on paper so you can review it—and learn from it. Next, to make sure that learning really happens, show this chart to a trusted friend. Sometimes we’re so tangled in the web of the past, it’s difficult to see things clearly. Someone who knows you well can provide additional perspective and help you uncover truths about your past that you didn’t even know existed.
STEP 2: A S K Y O U R S E L F W H AT Y O U L E A R N E D A B O U T L I F E , L O V E A N D Y O U R S E L F

Your brain is probably awash in all sorts of memories right now, and they serve an essential function: to help you decide what parts of your past you’d like to re-create and what parts you’d like to banish to a galaxy far, far away. “Figuring out what you like and dislike makes you reevaluate your priorities,” says Greer. “It can make you more open-minded when searching for someone or more willing to work at a relationship because you know what’s important.” So let’s try a self-discovery exercise that will help you reach a new level of understanding about your past and help you succeed at romance in the months ahead. With that in mind, complete the sentences on the folllowing page

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This exercise is designed to help you view your past in a focused, knowledge-driven way. This perspective will give you a sense of perspective on what makes you tick when it comes to relationships. Maybe one of your previous partners turned you on to football or Italian wines, and you’ll see that you like being with someone who can teach you about his or her passions. Or perhaps you’ll uncover that you tend to change— and not necessarily for the better—during relationships. Here’s what Sue, a

“I became this guy’s shadow and ended up driving him away. He actually told me to get a hobby!”
29-year-old librarian from Weymouth, Massachusetts, learned from this exercise: She became aware that she dropped all of her own interests at the first tingling of love. When analyzing her past, she found that she “became this guy’s shadow and ended up driving him away. He actually told me to get a hobby! Now I know that it’s important to not give up too much of myself in a relationship.” Don’t think that every personal-growth experience needs to be painful. At Match.com we know that’s definitely not the case. Look at Catherine, for instance. A born-and-bred New Yorker who’s now a researcher in San Francisco, she describes herself as a city person who found herself dating an outdoorsman. “I learned a lot about myself in that relationship because, as it turns out, I love to camp and ski and hike!” she says. “Even though we broke up, I still have that knowledge, which I am so grateful for.” It’s these types of wonderful surprises that you need to recognize, embrace and bring along for the ride of your next relationship.

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STEP 3:

M O V I N G PA S T Y O U R PA S T

Sometimes it’s hard to regroup and move ahead in a new relationship when you’re still thinking about the last one. These tried-and-true Match.com tips will get you back on track—and ready to go out there and meet The One.

If you were dumped…
great catch. “Make a list of your best * Remind yourself why you’re ato a relationship,” Greer advises, “and qualities and what you bring look at it whenever you’re feeling down.” woes—literally. Exercising * Work out your endorphins it generates candistracts ayour mind, and all of the feel-good banish bad mood. Greer has seen the benefits of taking action firsthand: “One client was going through a bad divorce, and every time she started beating herself up about it, she’d put on her running shoes. She wasn’t running away from her marriage; she was running in a new direction. She actually went down three sizes and ran a marathon!” positive yourself, believe myself * Repeat that I canaffirmations to living my such as “I and eachinday is only and all be” and “I’m best day, going to get better.” Greer believes that “by envisioning the positive coming your way, you can manifest it.”

If you were the one who did the dumping…
you a good * Call a friend to remindworkswhy it waswhen youidea toaend the desire relationship. This also wonders have burning to call your ex at 3 a.m.

* Find an activity you love, and do it now. Maybe it’s writing a children’s book, cultivating your culinary talents or building model airplanes. By
refocusing your energies on something proactive and productive, you’ll put the brakes on feeling guilty or second-guessing your decision. your ideal Take out a pen and paint a * Envisionwith positivepartner. and phrases. Forand paper, suggests Greer, picture words example, instead of writing that you don’t want to be with someone who’s late all the time, write that you want to be with someone who’s punctual. For an added pick-me-up, peruse the profiles at Match.com to see who might fit your bill. (Hint: There will be more matches than you thought possible!)

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BREAKING BAD DATING BEHAVIOR: A CASE STUDY

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o you keep dating the same type of person—with the same lessthan-perfect results? There’s no reason to feel like you’re stuck in your own personal version of Groundhog Day. Here’s how one 20something completely changed her love life by drawing up two simple lists. Read on—her technique might work for you, too. “After coming out of my last relationship, I was totally drained, so I decided to stay single for a while and think about what went wrong. I read lots of relationship books and started looking for behaviors in guys that indicated he wasn’t a good match for me.

“I used my learnings to make a list titled ‘Why It’s Good I Split Up With Mr. X,’ which made me feel better whenever I felt sad about the breakup, and another titled ‘What I Want in My Next Guy’ in which I listed important relationship qualities such as kindness, thoughtfulness, emotional availability, and so on. During “I started to think that this period I met a lot of guys who were interested in me, but they always had I’d stay single for the girlfriends, which was the big problem with rest of my life—and I my last boyfriend. With my lists in hand—or my head—I was immediately became OK with that.” at least in of the problems that dating an reminded unavailable guy would cause. Then I’d just walk away. That was new for me. I sure can’t say it felt good at first. I started to think that I’d stay single for the rest of my life—and I became OK with that. I knew it would give me the freedom to travel the world and to live wherever I wanted. “And what happened? I met someone I really like. It was because I started to enjoy my life and realized that I was in control of my own destiny. The lists guided me away from repeating past mistakes. And this time the relationship is totally different. The right questions have been asked, and I’m taking it slow. If it works, great; if it doesn’t, I know I can survive on my own. “Taking the time to understand what went wrong in my previous relationships and working out what I really want in future ones was the best recipe for actually achieving a good relationship.” —Cherry, 29, scientist, Boston

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3 Steps to Success
Here’s how you can follow Cherry’s three-step process to breaking bad patterns and embarking on the road to dating success:

1. 2. 3.

Make two lists: “Why I’m Glad My Last Relationship Ended” and “What I Want in My Next Partner.” Review them often to encode this message into your consciousness. Love your life! Eat at new restaurants, take that vacation solo and treat yourself well. Your zest for all things wonderful will attract more admirers than you know what to do with. When you do meet someone you like, compare his or her qualities to the ones on your list. If they don’t mesh, say goodbye. It’s the only way to open the door to someone else who could be The One.

W H AT Y O U L E A R N E D T H I S W E E K :

* To analyze past relationships * To understand what worked * To see what didn't work to break * To learn howhabits andout of any bad relationship move ahead
toward success!

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WEEK 2:

FIGURING OUT WHO—AND WHAT—YOU WANT

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e’re always so worried about whether or not someone wants us that we often forget to ask the most important

question of all: What do I really want? Maybe for you, intelligence is more important than humor or Mr. Fix-It is sexier than Mr. Personality. “The more specific you can be about what you want, the easier it will be to find what you’re looking for,” says Laura

Berman Fortgang, a life-satisfaction expert and author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction. “After all, the older you get, the less time you want to spend on the rehearsal.” The following quiz will help you articulate what you’re looking for in a partner and in a relationship.

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STEP 1:

I D E N T I F Y W H AT Y O U WA N T

1. When choosing a mate, it’s most important that he or she is…
A good conversationalist. Sexy and attractive. Devoted to family. Intelligent and clever. Successful and motivated.

2. The sexiest thing that a member of the opposite sex can do is…
Be sexually aggressive and unable to keep his/her hands off me. Make me laugh. Teach me something I don’t know. Do something domestic/a household project with me. Be slightly unavailable.

3. Finish the following sentence: I am open to finding someone who
(choose as many as apply)… Is divorced. Has kids from a previous marriage. Is 10 years older than I am. Is 10 years younger than I am. Lives more than 100 miles away.

4. In my relationships, I tend to take on the following role:
The one who fixes problems. The one who creates problems. The one who always seems to need something. The one who’s happy with the way things are.

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5. When I’m in a relationship, I most often feel…
Relieved that I’m not alone and don’t have to date. Anxious that something will go wrong. Disappointed that it isn’t as exciting as it was in the beginning. Confined and slightly suffocated. Happy and content. If not, I wouldn’t be in the relationship.

6. I most enjoy being in a relationship because…
I enjoy sharing things with someone I care about. I feel loved and secure. I don’t ever have to be alone or tackle things by myself. I like taking care of someone else.

7. I am most afraid of…
Re-creating my parents’ relationship. Never finding someone who will love me for who I am. Not being able to sustain interest in one person for the long haul. Setting a bad example for my children. Settling for someone who’s not my ideal match.

8. My friends have this theory as to why I’m still single:
I’m not the type to be satisfied with just one person. I’m too focused on my job. I’m always attracted to people who aren’t good for me. I haven’t found the right person yet. I prefer doing my own thing instead of having to answer to another person.

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Understanding your answers
There are no right or wrong answers, but what did you learn and can you identify any recurring themes? Do you prefer to be intellectually challenged or spontaneously sexual? Do you like someone who’s a little dangerous or completely stable? How important is it that a mate fit into your existing family structure? Are you as open-minded as you think? What’s motivating you to seek a relationship at this point in your life? These answers create a rudimentary profile of what you want—and that profile may look quite a bit different than you originally thought.

STEP 2:

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU REALLY NEED

There’s a big difference between what you want and what you absolutely cannot stand to be without. According to Fortgang, “Needs are critical. They’re the things you have to have versus the things that would be lovely to have but that you wouldn’t shrivel up and die without.” Whether you need to be cherished, mentally stimulated or incessantly groped, these exercises, created with the help of Fortgang, will further help you figure out who your special someone will be.

Your needs
What drives you? What’s the one thing you absolutely have to have in life? In a relationship? What’s the biggest source of frustration for you? In a relationship? What type of relationship do you want right now? What type of relationship do you want in five years?

Your values
What makes you feel happiest? What are the most meaningful accomplishments in your life? What are the things that you loved to do as a kid that you’ve gotten away from? Which of the following things are you naturally drawn to? And out of those, which are the most compelling to you? (Choose as many as apply.) Risk Discovery Spirituality Winning Teaching Inspiring Power Beauty Pleasure Communicating

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Understanding your answers
Did you surprise yourself? Maybe you’ve found that you’re guided by passion and pleasure or that you’re ruled by a need for stability. As long as these desires aren’t extreme and unchecked (for example, you need to have an unhealthy amount of danger in your life), it’s important to find a partner who can fulfill them. “For example, if you need a lot of recognition, someone who never gives a compliment will frustrate you,” explains Fortgang, “and then “If you need a lot of it will become critical to your happiness that recognition, someone who the person does it.” While values are more negotiable, compatibility and shared beliefs never gives a compliment can help you navigate your way through a will frustrate you, and then relationship more smoothly. This is not to say that you should date your happiness that yourself—just someone who respects what you need and helps you in your quest to be person does it.” happy and satisfied. In fact, as we’ve seen at Match.com, it can work out very well if you meet someone with whom you share your core beliefs but have enough differences to expand each other’s horizons. Take, for example, this comment from a member of Match.com’s success files, which shows how one woman won over a supposedly confirmed bachelor: “Peter was looking for someone who would ‘keep his attention,’ and here I am, keeping him on his toes and dragging him to visit new places. I was looking for someone who would question my beliefs, and here he is, challenging things I say and write. In short, we are two strangely shaped pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that somehow found each other.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

it will become critical to the

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: THE SECRETS HIDDEN IN YOUR CHILDHOOD

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t’s essential to know what you want, but it’s equally important to understand why you want it. In addition to the impact of your adult relationships (which we reviewed above), your upbringing and early experiences are enormous factors—and your current dating behavior may directly reflect that. “We’re often drawn to what’s familiar in our past, regardless of merit,” explains Pat Love, Ed. D., co-author of How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Relationship. In other words, even if you didn’t like your

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father’s temper or the way you interacted with kids in grade school, those behaviors are familiar and you may be subconsciously repeating them. Love suggests the following free-association exercise to get some perspective on your past and learn from it:
Complete the following sentances as you would have before the age of 21.

Understanding your answers
Here’s why this exercise is so helpful: “When you look at your answers, you begin to see what you’re imprinted with and how that affects your behavior,” Love explains. “Either you’re going to be attracted to it, you’re going to recreate it or you’re going to have a reaction formation and do a complete 180.” If the motives behind your needs seem confusing or otherwise suspicious to you, take a closer look at those relationships you listed in the Week 1 exercise. Then, advises Love, add another column to the list and ask the following question: In this relationship, did I repeat a negative behavior by picking, provoking or projecting? In laymen’s terms, did you pick someone who exhibited the behavior; provoke your partner unnecessarily until he or she acted out; or project your own issues and see a problem where there was none? By knowing where you’re coming from—and writing it down to remind yourself—you’ll have a better idea of how to stop repeating negative patterns and get to the healthy place you want to be.

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TAKING A CLOSER LOOK: ARE YOU TOO PICKY?

all, dark and handsome. Blonde with an hourglass figure and a lust for adventure. There’s nothing wrong with fantasizing, as long as your expectations don’t derail you from finding your true match. Here’s what we at Match.com want you to know about when it’s OK to hold out—and when you should analyze your behavior so you don’t automatically take your soul mate out of the running.

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You may be too picky if you only want to date someone who…

* * * * * * * * * *

Meets very specific height, weight and appearance requirements. Makes a certain amount of money. Lives nearby. Has the same interests as you. Opens up to you immediately.

Your expectations aren’t excessive if you want someone who…
You have some sort of spark with, whether it stems from physical or mental attraction. Finds you utterly fascinating and amusing. Has basic life views similar to yours. Shares your relationship goals. Will be honest with you but still remain a bit of a mystery.

As life coach Laura Berman Fortgang explains, “It’s good to know what you want, but you can’t be too married to a list. Otherwise you could miss out on the best thing that could ever happen to you.” That’s what one woman discovered when she looked for love outside of her hometown on Match.com: “I really didn’t want a long-distance relationship, but John seemed nice and was good-looking from his profile and our e-mails, so I decided to give it a

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shot. We met for lunch and got along wonderfully, but he was being deployed for three months to the Middle East! We spent the next three months getting to know each other over e-mail, and the key to our whole relationship is that he listened to me. He gave me what I needed, and, amazingly, the whole relationship shifted right into place, just like it was meant to be.” But remember: It never would have had she not reconsidered her initial distance requirement.

W H AT Y O U L E A R N E D T H I S W E E K :

* To identify what you want in a partner understand * Torelationship your needs and values in a * To recognize the lessons that lie in your childhood
if * To understandpastyou're too picky...and how to move that.

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WEEK 3:

BOOSTING YOUR CONFIDENCE IN SEVEN DAYS OR LESS

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BOOST #1: BOOST #2:

emember: The person you choose to date will be lucky to have you. And when you find that person, your life will be enhanced, not completed. By embracing these simple facts, you can change everything, including the type of people you attract. That’s what changed the dating luck of Match.com members time and time again.

“Becoming a love magnet means learning to love and accept yourself,” says Lynda Field, a self-help expert and author of Weekend Life Coach. “When you do that, the vibe you give off is very different than if you’re being needy.” That’s where confidence comes in. These seven exercises will give you a shot of selfesteem now and whenever you need it most.

D O O N E C O M P L E T E LY S E L F I S H T H I N G E V E RY W E E K .

“People with confidence take time out for themselves and make it a priority,” says Field. Set aside at least one hour a week—and don’t ever forgo it, no matter how crazy-busy you get—to do something that doesn’t involve anyone else. For example, take a long hot bath with the newest best-seller in hand, or treat yourself to a sushi lunch instead of a brownbagged ham sandwich.
SILENCE YOUR INNER CRITIC.

We all have that nagging voice in our head that tells us we’ve said something stupid or we’ll never achieve our goals. Well, it’s time to get that inner critic to shut its big mouth. Field uses this quick visualization technique: “Imagine the inner critic on a holiday. Put it in a nice lounge chair, on a picturesque beach, sipping a cold drink.” Every time a coulda/woulda/shoulda thought pops up, recall this image. The image of a horned devil with a sharp tongue loses its edge when he’s sipping a bright-pink frozen drink with a little umbrella in it.

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BOOST #3:

G O T O T H E C O F F E E S H O P W H E R E T H E WA I T R E S S E S — O R T H E O L D R E G U L A R S — A LWAY S F L I RT W I T H Y O U .

A little harmless attention can work wonders on any ego. Plus, flexing your own flirting muscles in a safe environment lets you test what works for you—and builds your confidence to do so when there’s more at stake.
BOOST #4 R E P E AT A N E M P O W E R I N G M A N T R A T O Y O U R S E L F, S U C H A S “ I A M L O VA B L E ” O R “ I A M C O N F I D E N T T H AT I W I L L F I N D A S U C C E S S F U L R E L AT I O N S H I P. ”

Field suggests writing down your personal mantra on a Post-it and sticking it near your phone or on your computer. By framing these words in the present tense and seeing and saying them regularly, you are willing yourself to feel lovable, confident and successful. And that, in turn, can create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
BOOST #5 DRESS IT UP A NOTCH.

“I wear my best pair of sexy jeans—the ones that people always say make me look thin,” says Jennifer, 38, a Los Angeles producer. “If I pair those jeans with heels, I feel pretty good about myself.” Try this trick on an ordinary day, not just when you’re going somewhere special. And men, you’re not exempt from this boost. A few guys who preferred to remain anonymous admitted that a pair of ultra-flattering pants can work selfesteem miracles as can investing in a pair of cool shoes.
BOOST #6 G O A H E A D — T R E AT Y O U R S E L F T O S O M E T H I N G N I C E .

Whether it’s a massage at a local spa or an iPod, you’ll smile and walk a little taller whenever you think about how you’ve spoiled yourself.
BOOST #7 PAT Y O U R S E L F O N T H E B A C K .

Write down your achievements as you travel down the path to dating success—there’s nothing like progress to put a smile on your face. And to help you with this, we’ve even devised a mid-month checklist to get you started. Congratulations from us in advance!

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CHECKUP TIME: YOUR PROGRESS SO FAR
S O FA R I H AV E …

* * * *

Evaluated my past relationships Figured out what I want in a partner Realized what my needs and values are—and where they come from Boosted my confidence at least twice this week (hopefully, more!)

Good for you! You’re doing great, and you’re more than halfway through the month’s plan. So take a few hours to celebrate tonight: Go out for a nice dinner with friends, watch your favorite old movie or go get a massage. Think of it as your reward for a job well done.

DATING AFTER DIVORCE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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icking yourself up after a divorce and starting over again can be daunting—but, as we’ve seen again and again at Match.com, it can also be an amazing chance for you to reinvent yourself. Here, William Merkel, Ph. D., and Lisa Cohn, authors of One Family, Two Family, New Family: Stories and Advice for Stepfamilies who also happen to be married to each other, provide some guidelines on how to get excited about the possibilities that await you. Acknowledge your fears—and then throw them out the window. You’re a failure because you couldn’t make your relationship work. You might pick the wrong person again. You don’t know if anyone will be interested in you. Sound familiar? Many divorcés have the same distressing thoughts, so you’re in good company. Discuss them with friends and relatives, or see a professional if you’d prefer a separate sounding board. Your insecurities will sound a lot less frightening when they’re out in the open. Think less and act more. As you get ready to reenter the dating scene, know this: “A certain amount of social anxiety is normal; too much is paralyzing,” says Merkel. As you begin to date again, don’t overthink it— just do it. Keep in mind that no one knows where things will lead, but they can’t lead anywhere unless you go along for the ride. And while we’re on the subject, you’ll want to focus your future on having fun again versus

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single-mindedly thinking about dating again. Instead of going to a singles’ bar, take a class or start a social hobby. You’ll meet people with similar interests, and, adds Merkel, “You’ll feel less pressure to date just to avoid being alone.” Realize that your past experiences have made you a better person. “In some ways, you’re more interesting than folks who haven’t been through a divorce,” explains Cohn. “You can talk about relationships in a more indepth way, and you’re smarter about people and the issues that come up in long-term relationships.” See? Your ex was good for something after all. Keep your expectations in check. As you move forward, know this: “It’s OK to have dreams about a future mate, but don’t go into every date thinking, ‘Would I marry this person?’” says Merkel. “The better question is: ‘Am I having fun?’ Try to enjoy the moment and avoid worrying about the future.”

W H AT Y O U L E A R N E D T H I S W E E K :

your confidence you're * To boost get out there andsoget dating ready to success * To prep for divorce if you're dating again after

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WEEK 4:

5 STEPS THAT’LL GET YOU THE RELATIONSHIP YOU WANT

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STEP 1:

OK, it’s almost time to get back out into the wide world of dating, but there are a few additional provisions that will get you where you want to go. The biggie, according to Match.com case histories? Becoming completely comfortable

with yourself and your life. “You have to have a capital I before you can say, ‘I love you,’” says Gilda Carle, Ph. D., author of Don’t Bet on the Prince! How to Have the Man You Want by Betting on Yourself. People often don’t know themselves or believe in themselves enough, and “that’s the No. 1 reason they don’t get what they want,” says Gilda. These five final steps will put you on the path to long-term happiness. Now doesn’t that make you happy?

K N O W T H AT Y O U D E S E R V E A FA B U L O U S R E L AT I O N S H I P — B U T T H AT I T TA K E S T I M E A N D E N E R G Y.

“If you don’t believe you deserve it, you’ll never attract it,” says Carle. In fact, if deep down you believe that you deserve only craziness in your life, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. So even when you feel awful and things aren’t happening according to your grand plan, it’s important to go back to this step. And speaking of your grand plan, remember that relationships take time, so don’t get frustrated too quickly. “The problem is that we’re all in such a big hurry,” says Carle. “We want a great relationship yesterday, and we look around and say, ‘Everybody else has it.’

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No, they don’t. I could tell you a thing or two about the other people you think have it.” So the next time you’re flustered, close your eyes and take seven deep breaths—in through your nose and out through your mouth. This works because you’re forced to focus, giving your brain a rest from those thoughts and instantly calming you down.
STEP 2: D O O N E S C A RY T H I N G T H I S W E E K .

So how do you feel about skydiving for the first time ever? Or dancing the tango? “When you do something out of the box in one area of your life, it carries over elsewhere,” says Carle. “Do things you’re intrigued by but that you’d ordinarily say no to. It’s different for everyone, so for you maybe it’s horseback riding, Rollerblading or going to the bookstore by yourself.” In fact, being alone frightens the bejesus out of a lot of people—and that fear of being by ourselves and worrying about what other people think when we are alone are two big reasons we settle for people who aren’t right for us. Change that behavior with the following exercises:

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List five things you’re comfortable doing alone. List five things you’re uncomfortable doing alone. Now go out and do two of those things by yourself (yes, the ones you’re uncomfortable with).

Carle even suggests turning one of the uncomfortable activities into a regular one. Once you make it part of your routine, you won’t even remember why it frightened you in the first place. And as for the next thing that may scare you? Bring it on. Now you know you can handle anything. And that’s a truly exhilarating confidence-booster that will spill over into your romantic life (we’ve seen it happen again and again at Match.com).
STEP 3: F O R O N E D AY D O T H E O P P O S I T E O F E V E RY T H I N G Y O U ’ D N O R M A L LY D O .

Think of this as the George Costanza rule of opposites. For George, it worked. Something as simple as initiating a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally be interested in could do the trick. “How many times have I heard, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go out with him. He’s not my type,’” says Carle. “I say, ‘Well, if your type works so well for you, how come you’re still dating?’ If you’re still single and not happy about it, change your whole routine.” Treat it as a social experiment, and see what works and what doesn’t. The results may surprise you.
STEP 4: GET YOUR FRIENDS ON BOARD.

Friends can be your greatest source of support, motivation and sanity. Tell them about your 90-day plan, what you’ve learned about yourself and what you’d like them to do to help you get the relationship you want—

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whether it’s keeping you on task, watching out for self-defeating behavior or whatever else you need. The people you meet on Match.com can also help immensely. As one woman recounts, “I was very ill [at one point], and the friends I met on Match.com kept me going. So the site’s not just about love stories and romance but the fact that there are people to talk to.” That’s what helped her pull through, stay focused and eventually meet her now-husband on Match.com. It’s also a good idea to have a standing date with your buddies every week or two. This keeps your support network involved, and—if you meet your pals at a bar, club or other gathering place—it gets you out in the presence of potential dates. Worth noting: This isn’t just a step for women, reminds Carle: “Men are very afraid of being judged, but they have to get over the fear of feeling vulnerable. It’s so worth it.”
STEP 5: OPEN YOUR MIND TO THE POSSIBILITIES.

Approach dating with a “hey, you never know” mind-set. For example, John, a 32-year-old business developer in Somerville, Massachusetts, has come to realize that the unlikeliest person could be the yin to his yang. “Dating someone who is not my type has allowed me to realize that it's not so much about what you share from the get-go but what you can learn together and how you can grow together. Now I spend less time trying to find the perfect person,” he says, “and instead try to meet all sorts of people.” After all, your soul mate may look or act differently than you’d imagined—yet still have similar values and be truly compatible underneath it all. The point is to know what’s most important to you and what you’re willing to compromise, and then go with the flow. “If the person is at least mildly attractive to you, go out and see what you can learn,” says Carle. “You never know.”

W H AT Y O U L E A R N E D T H I S W E E K :

place * To get your support system in One as you head off in search of The and * To challenge yourself to stretchas you grow--things you'll need to do move forward and find your match!

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DON’T PASS GO JUST YET

Before you graduate to the next step of this dating program, you first have to make sure that you’ve mastered the skills it takes to find The One or The One for Right Now. Check off your progress below, and if you’ve missed a step, go back and complete it now.

Have you…

* * * * * *

Honestly evaluated your relationship scorecard? Prioritized your needs and values? Figured out the underlying motives for your behavior? Taken at least four steps to boost your self-confidence? Mastered the art of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable? Opened your mind to the possibility that love will arise over the next 60 days?

If so, then you have completed the self-discovery portion of this course and are now ready to embark on your search. Next month it’s all about expanding your dating options. We'll show you how to:

* * * *

Get out there in the dating game Make small talk with ease Understand the signals that communicate attraction… and much more!

At Match.com we know without a doubt that there’s someone perfect for you out there, and we’re going to show you exactly where to find that person. (Hey, they may be only a click away!)

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