As a psychologist and dating expert, I’ve long said that dating and love relationships are work. Yes, I’m well aware that some people meet in high school, college, or have easy romantic stories of how they met and fell in love. And I’m very happy for those couples. But living in New York City, I work with many young professionals in their late twenties to late thirties who are very busy working, enjoying active social lives and facing various responsibilities – and for them, love has not yet “just happened naturally.” Therefore, despite the many love stories filmed in Hollywood, many modern singles have to work at dating and finding a mate.
My first book, Dating From the Inside Out, explores exactly how to create a dating action plan and how to actively pursue dating prospective mates, whether you are male or female. Commitment is most necessary when times are tough, when you aren’t getting the results you want, and/or your outer circumstances don’t match your inner desires. This is the time that skeptics lose faith and give up. But it’s precisely at these moments when you need to go within to your inner picture and conviction, and keep on moving towards it. You need to keep aligning your thoughts, feelings and actions with your inner vision of love so you will be more likely to manifest it in the future.
Similarly, many singles tell me they can’t wait to finish the work of dating so they can get married and relax. I remember telling my Learning Annex students (who looked shocked) that marriage can be even more work than dating! As a couple, you will probably be called to accept outer circumstances that differed from your inner picture of marriage. You may have both outer and inner struggles you didn’t expect where you’ll need to re-commit to your inner vision, and to your mate.
While love can be blissful, fun and supportive, it can also be challenging and growth producing; the only way to it, is through it.
So, use this New Year to decide if you want to commit to having a great love in your life, and be prepared to work for it – in good times and challenging ones – from dating through marriage.