How To Get The Love Life You Want

how to get the love life you want

If you could build the love life you want from the ground up – what would it look like?

Would it involve dick pics from Tinder?
Cuties who pursue you and then ghost?
Constantly changing the settings on your online dating profile?

Oh, that’s not the romantic life of your dreams? Weird! It’s not mine, either!

Dating and hooking up and long, committed relationships are simultaneously awesome and horrible. More than just about anything else, they’re a source of joy and sadness.

Finding Your Person and then making a happy life with them is an art, not a science, but there are things you can do to the love life you want.

Get the love life you want by: knowing who you are + what you want

Now, knowing who you are is easier said than done and that process really deserves a blog post onto itself (this one might help you get started.) Once you’ve got that figured out, life (and dating) gets about a million times easier. Before you dive headlong into dating, think about the sort of relationship you’re looking for at this point in your life.

Do you want to date a series of interesting people? Are you looking for something that’s exclusive but low-pressure? A summer fling? Your future spouse? All of these are perfectly acceptable!Your romantic life will be a lot more enjoyable if you know what you want and then date accordingly. (re: don’t try to force a summer fling to be a life-long commitment and don’t pretend you’re interested in girlfriending when you really just want something fun and open.)

Get the love life you want by: being honest about who you are + what you want

I met my husband online, pulling him in with the very honest headline ‘I will go camping with you, but I’m totally not watching football.’ A lot of guys probably avoided me because I sounded like a bitchy, non-sports-watcher. My guy hates watching football and thinks I’m hilarious.

When you’re honest about who you are – online or off – you create a self-selecting group of suitors. When you water yourself down and try to appeal to everyone, you get lost in a sea of sameness and your perfect someone can’t find you.

It’s equally important to be really honest about what you’re looking for. I know it’s tempting to play yourself off as a Super Breezy Laid Back Girl Who’s Not Looking For Anything Serious (and if that’s who you really are – awesome! also: how do you do that?) But if you’re looking for a boyfriend or you want to get married in the next few years, check those effing boxes in your online dating profile.

Get the love life you want by: being specific about what you’re looking for in a partner

Has anyone ever told you you’re ‘aiming too high’?

Dude, you are allowed to ask for more in a partner than ‘cute, nice, funny.’ You are allowed to want someone who has a job they like, takes care of themselves physically and emotionally, loves their family, has an active social life, isn’t saddled with five figure credit card debt and knows how to communicate.

At the risk of getting all rhyme-y and life-coach-y on you, you have to name it to claim it. It’s hard to find what you want if you don’t know what it looks like. Get out a notebook and give yourself over to fantasy. Make a list of alllll the qualities your perfect partner would have. Go light on the superficial stuff (“blonde with a six pack”) and heavy on how this partner would make you feel (“would support my dreams of world travel and tell me I’m funny at least twice a week.”)

Get the love life you want by: respectfully, gently ending relationships that aren’t working


You know what’s The Actual Worst? The Slow Fade. Worse yet? When someone simply stops responding to your texts or emails after you’ve gone on multiple dates. Gross. We’re better than that, right?

When you realize someone isn’t Your Person, respect them enough to tell them so. Don’t drag it out for another three months while you try to convince yourself that you like them. Don’t act like a jerk till they dump you. Here’s a great post on how to end a relationship in a classy manner.

Get the love life you want by: figuring out how you feel about monogamy + communicate those feelings

One of the hardest times in any relationship is around the third-fifth date when things are heading in the Bedroom Direction but have not yet headed in the What Are We Doing Direction. Like, are you officially dating? Is this person your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do they still have an dating profile up online?

If you’re someone who appreciates monogamy here’s a little speech you can give, pre-bedroom activity.

So we’ve been hanging out for a bit now and while I’m not looking for a super serious, Facebook-official thing, I’m not comfortable sleeping with more than one person and I’m not really comfortable sharing sexual partners. I like to limit myself to people I actually, you know, like. And I like you. If that doesn’t sound like something you’re into, no worries, I just wanted to be open with you about where I’m at.

(and then you need to actually not sleep with them if they’re sleeping with other people.)

Get the love life you want by: appreciating your solid, committed relationship + partner

I know how easy it is to take your partnership for granted. It’s so, so easy to only look cute when you have to be seen in public and to be your snippiest, least awesome self when you’re at home with your person. Let’s not.

Let’s schedule in those all-important date nights, find cuter versions of our hang-around-the-house clothes, sing our partner’s praises at dinner parties and make their coffee how they like. It matters and it makes a difference.

Get the love life you want by: maintaining your friendships + hobbies


Those regular date nights you schedule with your partner? Make them with your friends, too. And all that cool stuff you did before you guys got serious? The dance classes, the road trips, the book club? Keep doing ’em. Your relationship should be the icing on the cake – not the whole cake.

Get the love life you want by: realizing that fashion, bodies, hobbies change. Intelligence, personality, ethics rarely do

It’s a forgone conclusion that we judge people by their looks and it’s incredibly easy to scroll through someone’s online dating profile, check out their favorite bands/books/movies, note their skinny jeans and mentally prepare to marry them. It’s also easy to think that because you both love traveling and snowboarding that you’re a match made in Boulder.

I’m not saying you’re wrong. I am saying that the likelihood that you’ll still be obsessed with Chuck Klosterman and carving the fresh powder when you’re 65 is pretty low.

Perhaps we should all give a bit more consideration to the person who remembers their sister’s birthday, listens when you tell them about your day, and stands up for their beliefs, even when it’s inconvenient. Sometimes the best person for you doesn’t come wrapped in a perfectly chiseled, plaid-wearing bow. Sometimes they’re wearing athletic sandals. Maybe they have a goatee. And we’re adults so we can decide not to be hung up on silly things like that.

Get the love life you want by: giving yourself a break from dating if you need it


Few of us make good decisions when we’re broken-hearted or overwhelmed and freshly single one night stands rarely end well. When I’ve gone through bad breakups, I put myself on a three-month dating hiatus and the same can be said for dating overwhelm. Deactivate the account, delete the app, and go enjoy your friends and some fresh air. All those profiles will still be there when you come back.

But tell me, how’s your love life? What do you do to keep it happy and healthy?

P.S. Surprising marriage advice … from divorced people + How to (finally) find a partner who meets your needs

photo by Emre Gencer // cc

14 Comments

Kathryn Sutton

'The relationship should be the icing on the cake, not the whole cake.' – probably the most true thing anyone has ever said! I see so many people making their partner their entire life and it is dangerous. Never mind a huge amount of pressure for the person being put on a pedestal. Imagine behind responsible for someone's entire happiness… Terrifying!

Brilliant post!

Kat | http://thelondonplaybook.wordpress.com

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NikkiDee

Love this post! My two cents: mystery is nice and all, but communication is key! Actually talk frankly about things every step of the way

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Becky C.

Wise words! Some of my friends need to read this – when you're in a new relationship, it's normal to want to see them all the time, but making time for your wonderful friends and giving them plenty of love too leads to a much happier & healthier romantic relationship in the long run! And icing without the cake is not a good cake..

http://beckyalyssasbeautybox.wordpress.com

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Melyssa Griffin

I just read this in your newsletter and had to come over to tell you how spot on this advice is, and that things like this are why your blog is consistently one of my favorites. Thank you for writing this — such wise and true words!

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The Divine Miss Em

I've been with my boyfriend for a little over 4 years and we moved in together about 6 months ago. I can't remember the last time we had an actual date night. Thanks for the reminder to prioritize that in the near future. 😀

beautiful-scars.net

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Liz

As someone who is going through a Very Painful Breakup right now, I cannot tell you how helpful this is. I am so tempted to jump online and find someone new, but I know I need time to heal and get to know myself better. Definitely bookmarked for future reference!

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Barbara Kelly

Not only should the relationship be "the icing on the cake, and not the cake", also it is healthy to keep a certain amount of yourself to yourself. Sharing every little detail of thoughts, words and deeds ; open door bathroom procedures and similar "too muchness" are unattractive, tiresome, and kill romance. As is doing too much for your partner……he (or she) shouldn't need a Mommy instead of a lover.

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Lauren

I've never understood the 'open bathroom door' thing in a relationship. Maybe if you're in the bath and your partner is in desperate need to pee (my ex used to make me dunk my head under the water if this happened haha) but otherwise NO.

I'm comfortable peeing in front of my close girlfriends, but not in front of a partner. And I definitely have no desire to see them in that situation either.

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Chrystina Noel

I'm currently having difficulty in my life trying to figure out the difference between what I THOUGHT my life would look like when I got older and what I actually WANT it to look like when I get older. A lot of these thoughts have to do with religion and how to raise my hypothetical non-existent future children and whether or not the guy I'm looking for needs to share the same views that I do – and let me tell you, it's making me feel like a grown ass woman and not in a good way. Growing up is hard, man.

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Sarah Bishop

I think I should print this and pass it out to my friends. I've got 4 unbreakable rules these days for dating. There are more things I want but these 4 are things I will no longer compromise because every time I did it went poorly.

Other than that my tip would be learn from your failures as well as your successes. When a relationship ends, well after the eat chocolate and cry stage ends, you can see the person's flaws and facets a bit better. Remembering what it was that brought you to the end stage can help avoid it next time around.

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On Being a Grown Up

[…] to deal with  (blank) like a grown ass woman series”.  There have been series about romantic relationships, friendships, professional life, house and home, money and finances, and health and personal care. […]

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