Sex & Relationships

Are you making enough time for love?

Advice for singles on why you should make dating a priority and how to do it.

Masterfile

Never the right time
I don’t know about you, but I rarely meet mono-taskers. We’re all over-scheduled, hyper-connected and busy. Some of us are so busy, that we have (correction: make) no time for our love lives. For years, I’ve worked with singles who say that finding love and being in committed relationship is a top priority; but admit that they can’t fit dating into their packed schedules. This begs the question: If you have no time to date, how will you have time to be in a relationship?!

Is love really a priority?
When I delve a bit deeper and ask about the time and energy these people have put forward in pursuit of their biggest goal, the answer is surprising. The average dater I’ve interviewed puts only a few hours a month into her (or his) dating life. On a weekly basis, it seems they give precedence to almost every other ‘to do’ that they say is less important. One 30-year-old woman told me that she doesn’t even like her job, but gives up most of her weekends and evenings to respond to work messages. She’d love to meet someone; but unless he shows up at her office door, it’s not likely to happen any time soon. Other people, who report that finding love is their ultimate goal but aren’t compelled to fit dating into their schedules, often complain that there are too few options, too little time or the fact that it’s not worth asserting too much effort as nothing works. “Besides”, one 36-year-old woman explained, “I’m too tired after work and the last thing I feel like is meeting another loser. I’d rather watch losers on reality TV!”

Change your perspective
If that’s also your reality and your perspective, of course clearing your schedule for dating won’t be an appealing option. If you’re weighing the opportunity to release stress in front of the tube or by working out at the gym; or possibly induce stress on another bad date, I understand your resistance. The dating process can be draining and dating fatigue is common. But the bizarre reality about dating is that most dates are designed to fail – that’s the nature of dating! Until you meet the one you want to share a life with, dating won’t work. Every person I know in a happy relationship found her partner after a series of dates that were less than memorable (or so awful, they were hard to forget!). Having resilience (and let’s face it, a sense of humor), is a big piece of the dating equation. Looking at a bad date as a good story, or viewing it as a way to teach you more about what you want and need, is one way to handle the hour of your life you can’t get back.

Make time
Only by putting forth effort – time and energy – will dating work. The pursuit of love requires both physical effort, clearing time in your schedule to meet new people and show up for dates, and mental effort, adjusting your attitude so you can approach the process with excitement and curiosity. If you are looking for love but overwhelmed by your overbooked calendar, consider: What do you have to say no to this month in order to say yes to your priority of finding a loving partner? You may have to say ‘no’ to working past 7 p.m. or working every weekend. Or – you may have to say ‘no’ to the attitude that the pursuit of love is too tiring to be worthwhile. If finding a partner is one of your primary goals, find the time and space in your life to express that.

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