Dating can be a tricky business.
Often it is very casual in the beginning and many times it will stay that way without ever getting to the point where you are in a relationship. The rise of dating websites and apps has probably made dating even more of a short term practice with apps like Tinder generally considered to be used for “hook ups” and short term flings.
Most of the time when you read dating tips or advice it will be geared towards just getting a date in the first place or what to do when you are on them.
But what about dating with the objective of finding someone suitable for a long term relationship?
We have put together this guide to help people who are looking to settle down and find that special person to spend the rest of their lives with. From choosing the best prospects for a long-term relationship to develop to setting up the ideal dating profile and moving from casually dating to something more serious – these tips will help you.
Hopefully it can help to start off some long term relationships and then you know where to come to get an engagement ring!
Have a read and let us know what you think in the comments.
Getting a date with the right person
This is very important but is easier said than done, after all, if you meet someone out in the real world you won’t know anything about them to begin with. if you look on a dating site you only have short descriptions to go off and they could very well be stretching the truth!
There are however a few things you can do to try and make sure you get a date with someone you are compatible with and someone that potentially there could be a future with:
1. Have a good idea of what you are looking for
It seems simple but some people don’t have any idea what they are looking for in a future partner. You don’t need to have an exact persona in mind but maybe just create a list of traits you would like to see.
2. Lower your expectations
One of the biggest reasons people never meet the perfect person is because they are looking for the “perfect” person! The perfect person doesn’t exist but you can find someone that is perfect for you, they will have flaws but everyone does. Be more realistic in what you are looking for and there will be plenty of potential candidates when you start meeting people.
3. Learn from mistakes
If past relationships haven’t worked out for specific reasons, then try to avoid making the same mistakes again.
4. Date an established friend
It can be difficult to meet someone that you know you get along with well enough to spend a large amount of time with them. It is worth considering existing friends, you may be perfect for each other and you just never realised it. It worked for Chandler and Monica!
5. Let friends set you up with someone they know
This is another way to date someone that has been vetted by people you trust, your friends know you better than you know yourself and could pick the perfect match for you if given the chance.
6. Don’t go for a bad boy / girl
It may seem exciting but it will never last if you want longevity just avoid these types all together!
7. Give people enough time to see their real personality
Some people are reserved at first and for some it takes a long time to get to know the “real” them, when dating make sure you give people a chance and give them time to properly see their personality and whether it is a good match for you.
8. Try to find people with some common interests
Some say opposites attract and sometimes they probably do but it can be hard to build a long-term future with somebody you have nothing in common with. We’re not saying you need to be clones of each other but one or two common interests can really help in the long term.
9. Don’t procrastinate
It’s easy to put things off, set yourself a target for a number of dates per month until you find the right person.
10. Play the numbers game
You would have to be pretty lucky to find your soulmate of just a couple of dates. Get plenty of them lined up so you can increase your chances of getting a good match.
11. Take your time and don’t pursue anything that has no future
As mentioned above don’t make hasty decisions about people but, on the other hand, if you don’t see any future with somebody then it is probably time to move to the next person.
12. Take your time and don’t pursue anything that has no future
Have a general idea of what you are looking for in a partner, then when they come along you can snap them up!
Creating a dating profile
Many people now use dating websites and apps to find their dates, it’s quicker, easier and there is just so much more choice. If this is the route you choose to find a date, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of meeting a “keeper”:
13. Choose paid dating site
Free dating sites and apps usually cater more for more casual dating whereas if people have actually parted with their cold hard cash it is more likely they are looking for something more serious (as are you!).
14. Create a more conservative dating profile
This may be a slightly controversial one but whether you are a man or a woman, having pictures on your profile which are too raunchy or an overly flirty bio will likely attract people who are less likely to be looking for a long term relationship. Show off your best attributes and use your best pictures but always think what impression you are creating of yourself to the person viewing your profile.
15. Choose a dating site that looks to build a lasting relationship
There are some dating sites that are specifically for trying to find a long-term partner such as EHarmony and Set for Marriage.
16. Get friends to help you write your profile
As mentioned above, your friends know you better than anyone, get help from them when writing your profile and they should be able to accentuate your good qualities and give an accurate description of who you are, which leads us on to…
17. Be honest
Everyone tells a few white lies at the beginning of the dating game but if your profile is packed full of lies you will get found out. Being truthful also allows for more accurate matchmaking which could save you a lot of time and disappointment.
18. Use accurate photographs
This is again part of being truthful and avoiding disappointment on both sides, don’t use pictures with some strange lighting that look nothing like you do in person or pictures that are from 10 years ago!
Make sure to smile on at least some of your pictures you don’t want to appear miserable or even worse; pretentious.
Meeting someone in the real world
If you prefer the good old fashioned way of meeting people in the real world there are not many tips for this as it tends to be spontaneous but take heed of the following:
20. Look in places related to your interests
The best places to look one connected to your interests as then you can be sure to have a least one thing in common! If you like your music go to some gigs and keep an eye out for anyone that catches your eye, if art is your thing have a look at exhibitions or art galleries. You could also try going joining local groups or courses in something you enjoy. There are possibilities everywhere you go you just need to take the opportunities when they present themselves.
21. Start a conversation
Rather than obviously trying to chat somebody up try to just start a normal conversation and see how it goes.
22. Alcohol is not your friend!
Although it may well help with Dutch courage, if you are looking for a long term partner it is probably not a good idea to drink too much. Judgement can be poor when drunk and you may end up going too far or embarrassing yourself!
First date tips
As the old saying goes; first impressions count. This can be a problem in the dating game because sometimes people are nervous or don’t really get their personality across on a first date. This could be made even worse if one or both of you does not feel comfortable, here are some tips to make date number one as smooth as possible:
23. Choose a first date that will allow you to get to know each other
If you are looking for a long term relationship, getting to know your date is important so the ideal location would be somewhere you can easily talk and find out about each other. Restaurants are a good choice or a nice pub or reasonably quite bar.
24. Do something fun
In contrast to the above, you could try something a little more interesting for a first date, something really fun could break the ice while still letting you get suitably acquainted. Just be careful to make sure that the other person would enjoy it too. You could agree on something beforehand and if you already know you share a common interest in something then this could work really well.
Hopefully there will be plenty of talking from both of you on the first date, be sure to listen carefully when the other person is talking and really talk in what they are saying. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk! This will help you build up a picture of the person and help you decide if you want it to go further.
26. Ditch the tech
There is nothing worse than someone who is constantly on their phone on a date, even worse if it’s the first date. Leave it in your bag/pocket and concentrate on getting to know each other.
27. Don’t mention your Ex
Sorry, there is something worse than being on your phone! Mentioning an ex so early will almost certainly set alarm bells ringing for the other person as they may wonder if you are still into them or just be scared of baggage. If you have an ex that is still part of your life for whatever reason probably best to introduce that fact gradually.
28. Be yourself
There is no point pretending to be something you are not if you are looking for a relationship, you will get found out eventually! Just relax and be yourself, if they like you for you then you’re already onto a winner.
Sometimes it can be scary thinking about what to talk about on a first date, just letting the conversation flow naturally but it can help to have a few topics in mind to see if you have anything in common or share any interests:
29. What do you do for work?
A classic getting to know you question and also a good way to get some info about their character. Sometimes people may be put off by certain types of job, don’t just judge based on what they do, find out all about it, your preconceptions may be wrong.
30. Where were you born?
Just a standard question to find out about someone’s history and great to open up other avenues of conversation about childhood, where they have lived etc.
31. What activities do you like to do in your spare time?
Try to find out if you share interests, if you do you will have lots to talk about and open up the possibility of doing them together, if you don’t there may be something that you would like to find out more about.
32. Have you been to any interesting places?
Great for exchanging stories about places you have both visited.
33. What type of music do you like?
Music is important to a lot of people and is a good place to look for common ground. It can also give you information about the person.
34. What would be on your bucket list?
This is a more interesting question to ask and will give you personality insights and maybe you will learn something you wouldn’t from a standard conversation.
35. What are your ambitions for the future?
Finding out about future plans can give an insight into whether you would be compatible long term.
36. What are you passionate about?
Find out what makes them tick and also if you share a passion.
Making sure you are a good match
If you are not a match it will never work in the long term so there are certain things to look out for when trying to meet someone to have a relationship with:
37. Try to find some common interests
It is possible for two people to be perfectly happy without any common interests but it sure can make things easier if you do have some. Common interests provide things to talk about, activities you can share and can allow for you to share friends and just generally spend more time with each other while doing something you both enjoy.
38. Similar sense of humour – even more important than sharing interests
A good sense of humour is often high on the list of characteristics for a people looking for a partner and it is a big bonus if you share a similar sense of humour. Life will just be more enjoyable and laughter is the best medicine as they say!
39. Job commitments and schedule
This may seem like something that shouldn’t matter too much if you really like each other but it should be considered, some work schedules may mean you would never see each other so it is worth checking out at an early stage.
40. Do future ambitions align
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 or 20 years time? Where do they want to be? Of course your ambitions don’t have to match you both have your own lives but there could be long-term plans on either side that may affect the relationship. Have a casual chat about it.
41. Activity levels
More than most things how active you are compared to a potential partner could be very significant, people at opposite ends of the spectrum are unlikely to be a good fit in the long run. If you like to go to the gym and run marathons and they prefer to sit watching TV (or vice versa) it would likely be too much to be compatible long term.
42. Discuss any “baggage”
So-called baggage is not necessarily a bad thing but it is definitely best to be upfront about it on both sides.
43. Get advice from family and friends
The opinions of you loved ones are important as they know you well, get their opinions on your new romance and if they can see it making you happy in the long term.
44. Marriage or not
Some people definitely want to get married, some aren’t sure yet and some never want to get married, if you are at the opposite extremes it may cause problems down the line.
45. Kids or no kids
Similar to marriage whether someone wants kids or not may be a deal breaker at some stage in a relationship, find out how they feel about it.
In the early stages of dating it is important to keep things interesting while continuing to find out about each other. Here are some tips for dates:
46. If you have common interests base dates on these
If you both enjoy doing something then you can base dates on this, even it is as simple as liking the same sort of films or music. This will allow you to get know each other better while doing something you both enjoy.
47. Do alternate dates based on an interest you don’t share
Go on dates based on the interests of the other person which you don’t have an interest in. This will show a willingness to get involved with their passion and you may also realise that you lie it too which would be a great sign for the future.
48. Have double dates with friends on both sides
It’s important to get to know each other’s friends and see what they think of the relationship so what better way than on a few double dates.
49. Do things that will bring out different aspects of your personalities
As you get more comfortable in each other’s company try doing some things that take you both out of your comfort zone. This can bring out characteristics that you may not have seen up to now. Maybe a date or two doing something you would not normally do.
Moving from casual dating to a relationship
This is one of the trickiest transitions in life! Ok, that may be exaggerating a bit but it is an easy one to get wrong. If you have “the talk” too early it could put the other person off and make them run a mile, if you keep putting it off they may think you are not interested in having a relationship and move on.
50. Make sure the timing is right
So when is the right time?
It is generally when it feels right (very vague admittedly) but once you feel right and you think they are ready, have the talk. You can inform this decision by everything you have found out with the above tips.
51. If there are doubts it probably isn’t right
If there are any doubts at all don’t do it, once you are in a relationship it will be more painful to break up down the line.
52. Suggest they meet your family – and see the reaction
If they haven’t already, suggest a proper family introduction. This is seen as a big step and could give you a clue as to how serious they are about you.
53. Don’t make a big deal out of it
Don’t send them a message 3 days before you are due to meet up saying you “need to talk about something”. Better that you just drop it into conversation casually while you are together having a good time.
54. Talk about exclusivity first, then a relationship
Some people have a phobia of the word “relationship” if you feel they may have a slight fear of commitment try suggesting you become exclusive first and then leave it for a while before labelling it a relationship.
55. Don’t say ILY too early
Saying those 3 magic words is a big milestone in a relationship but if you say it too early it can be a disaster and a relationship ender. There is no specific length of time you should wait but just make sure you don’t blurt it out before you are both ready!