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Expert Advice on Finding Love

It’s official. Dating is quantifiably hard. And getting harder. According to The Pew Research Center, nearly half of U.S. adults say dating has become more difficult in the last ten years.

Whatever you choose to blame for the challenges of dating in 2021—whether it’s social media, dating apps or COVID-19—we’ve pulled together the best dating tips and advice for women today from the web’s most savvy relationship experts. That way you can find your mate and move on to other quantifiably hard things, like breaking through that glass ceiling at work or surviving that SoulCycle class.

1. Let go of unrealistic expectations.

Number one on the list of dating advice for women is probably the simplest and most challenging: let go of your expectations and remember that one person can’t be your everything.

Let go of unrealistic expectations-AffectionGuide
Let go of unrealistic expectations-AffectionGuide

Licensed therapist David Klow, owner of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago summed it up best in The Oprah Magazine: “We expect so much from our relationships these days. We want our partner to be a best friend, confidant, co-parent and companion. Yet, this sets us up to be disappointed when our partner cannot fulfill our needs.”

Take some time to sit down and list the top 10 things you are looking for in a partner. Then cross out all but the top three. As you evaluate the potential of your partners, use those three items as a guide. For the other items you crossed out, think about how you could have those needs met through other relationships in your life.

2. Make room in your life for love

It’s Saturday night. You’ve put on a new top that just arrived in the mail from Anthropologie and you’re about to head out the door for a date with a handsome guy from OK Cupid. You think he could really be the one. But if he is, are you truly ready for a relationship?

We are all so busy these days, particularly with work, it feels like the world spins faster than it used to. Our professional life blurs into our personal life as we go from the office to networking events to meeting up with friends. Emails demand to be answered at 1AM. Don’t forget to ask yourself if you have the time and space in your life to make love happen.

Dating advice guru Lisa Concepcion of Love Quest Coaching says, “A lot of people think they will reduce their focus on work when they meet that great person to be in a relationship with. In order to attract this ideal person, you need to have room in your life for them.

If you are working 50, 60, 70 hours a week or your schedule is jam-packed with obligations to friends and family, Concepcion recommends taking time to explore why your life is so full in the first place. It takes time and focus to nurture and grow a new relationship. Once you’ve made room in your schedule to do this, you’ll be set up for success in love.

3. Make the first move

Let’s go back to that fascinating survey from The Pew Research Center. Did you know that 52% of men surveyed said they had difficulty dating because it’s hard for them to approach people they’d like to date? That means more than half of the guys out there might be interested. But you’ll never know. Yes, we could that this moment to roll our eyes and say that these men need to step it up and get over themselves. But ladies, it’s time to stop waiting. Be bold.

4. Get to the first date. Fast!

With a seemingly endless number of profiles to swipe and browse, online dating sites and dating apps have turned the dating pool into a tidal wave. There are so many options. You message a few cute guys, one of them writes back. Your banter continues with him on and off for a few weeks. You’re getting excited… he really seems perfect in so many ways. When you finally have that first date IRL, you simply aren’t attracted to him physically. Bummer

Get to the first date-AffectionGuide
Get to the first date-AffectionGuide

In the age of dating online, the best advice is to get to the first date as quickly as you can. It’s a short cut to knowing whether or not he makes it onto your short list. It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of someone, only to be disappointed when who they are in person doesn’t match who you imagined them to be through all of their texts and DMs. It’ll save you in time and in disappointments.

5. Honesty is always the best policy

Here you are again. Another online date ended prematurely because your suitor doesn’t look like the photos in his profile. It’s totally unacceptable to use photos from 10 years ago, but hey, we get it, the pressure to look perfect online is scarily intense and unfair. And let’s be honest, we’ve been known to Facetune and airbrush our photos too, nipping and tucking away the parts of ourselves that we find unlovable. But leading with dishonesty—whether it’s your appearance or little white lies about your life—will only come back to bite you in the end

Take the sage advice from Frank Sonnenberg, author of Listen to Your Conscience: That’s Why You Have One: “It takes a lot more effort to rebuild trust than to establish it from the start.”

6. It’s all about Chemistry Vibeology

In the early 90s, the pop singer Paula Abdul had us spellbound with her performance of the strange, strange song “Vibeology“ on the MTV Music Video Awards. (We know, what a crazy, dated reference. But stick with us here.) In the song, Abdul schools us on the definition of the song title, “Vibeology. Now you ask what does it mean? Why, it’s the study of the chemistry between you and me.

When you’re getting to know a guy, it’s easy to focus on all of those pesky expectations (see tip #1). Is he tall enough, does he make enough money, does he have good taste in music? Some guys may meet these expectations, but things might still fall flat in the chemistry department.

Take it from relationship expert Dr. Jess O’Reilly, “If you’re on a first, second or third date, I encourage you to tune into what you’re feeling in your body — think about how you feel about yourself when you’re in their presence rather than analyzing whether or not they’re a good fit.”

Chemistry is a tricky thing to define and it’s different for everyone. Some people feel a static charge, others say it’s a feeling of effortlessness with the other person. Alcohol can sometimes make it appear where it isn’t, so don’t hesitate to have a sober date or two to see if the energy is sustainable. But when you know, you know.

7. Don’t make quick decisions when you hit a roadblock

That chemistry we’re talking about, it can take some time to appear. The first few dates are a mess of nervous feelings, vulnerability and mixed signals. It’s difficult for both sides to comfortably show their true selves. One of you might say something slightly off-putting out of nerves or discomfort or as a way to find security. (And let’s not even start with our very human, people-pleasing tendencies.) Be patient with yourself and your date as your find your rhythm together.

Susan Winter reminds us with this great bit of dating advice: “If you think this is a positive relationship and you feel like something’s happening but there’s just a little fear on their part, then please just ride it out, calm yourself down and see what happens. Don’t let your ego jump in and ruin something that could have been.”

8. Realize when it’s time to call it quits

Upon its book release nearly 15 years ago, “He’s Just Not That Into You” was immediately cemented onto the dating advice wall of fame. The phrase is so simple, so true and so pure. It’s a double-edged sword: it gives us the ability to see the way really things are and the freedom to move on


After a few dates and meetups, it’s often easy to see the dealbreakers, or that you just aren’t compatible together. But when there isn’t an obvious sign, we tend to hold on to relationships longer than we should. An example: that guy you see from time to time, who doesn’t always reply or follow up to your texts. He gets a pass because maybe he’s got a lot on his plate right now (he should see tip #2, but really, it’s not your responsibility to fix him). The signs are telling you that this most likely won’t turn into a relationship, so it’s best to call it quits.

“People make time for the things that matter to them. Move on and find someone else who will make time for you,” says dating expert Tess Brigham. It’s hard advice to take, especially when you’ve had your hopes set on making it work. But there is freedom in moving on.

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