Are you struggling with dating and finding that ‘right’ somebody for you, your ideal soulmate? Dating life gotcha down? I’ve been there. How do you continue to be single without hating yourself? I get upset with myself sometimes. I think to myself, “What am I doing wrong? What can I do to improve my dating chances and results? What the hell happened to me? Why am I still single? Why is dating and finding the right partner so difficult for me yet appears so easy for other guys?”

Asking yourself questions such as this is ok. It gets you thinking, and I don’t think that thinking is such a bad thing as long as you’re not overthinking yourself into oblivion. You can recall your vivid memories, and analyze your past mistakes and failures with your dating life (maybe even relive situations in your head), so that you won’t repeat the same mistakes in the present or future. It makes perfect sense, right? Mistakes are a part of life and reality, and you shouldn’t only blame yourself for your previous relationship failures because “It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight!” (Cue the Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock music).

All kidding aside, relationships and love can be really stressful and hard to control. Love, jealousy, interest level, and romantic feelings are very powerful! It’s even more stressful when you’re single and trying to make the correct next dating decision for yourself and your future. You know, the decision that doesn’t end up in complete disaster. So here I exist — a 40-something single dad with the youth of a 20- or 30-year old, and “the future’s uncertain and the end is always near” or so Jim Morrison once crooned.

How do we cope with the dating stress? The pain? The anxiety? The uncertainty? The unknown future for ourselves? That personal future that is yet to write itself, and more importantly, why hasn’t she texted me back yet? It’s been two days!

1. Learn to keep yourself company

You must keep yourself company during the single life — a lot. That means that you will need to enjoy your own company, relax, and chill. Other women will want to be comfortable with you if you’re comfortable in your skin. In other words, confidence goes a long way, even if you’re truly scared or fearing the unknown or future. You will need to relax and enjoy your time alone with yourself. Enjoy your life, and spend quality time with your kids, family, and close friends. Explore new destinations and your sense of adventure. Find a way to make your solitude flourish so that when you meet that ‘right’ woman, you’re ready for her.

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2. Remember the turmoil from your previous relationships

It’s important to remember why previous relationships didn’t work out for you. Give yourself a refresher course in your head, and remember the arguments, the rifts, the negative stuff, the bad times. That way, you’re not painting a pretty picture in a positive light of that previous relationship that didn’t work out for you. You’re being realistic instead. You need to remember the bad times and what your previous relationships were lacking so that you can make an intelligent and informed decision about your next date or romance. Don’t continue to pick the same women with the same personalities that didn’t previously work out for you. Let go of the previous toxic relationships, do yourself a huge favor, and set yourself free.

3. Give online dating a chance

I’m guilty of being impatient with online dating. If I make a connection, I want to text back and forth and feel a deep connection. I want to get to know her quickly, and I often won’t just be patient to get to know her better over time. In other words, I’m probably expecting too much and being too impatient with dating. You need to be patient with online dating. Sometimes, it takes time to find the right fit for you. If you text that attractive woman you want to go out on a date with, patiently wait for a response or no response. You have to be patient! Sometimes, you must be overly patient, so much so that it will drive you crazy enough to bang your head against the wall, but that’s fine. You will also need to take breaks from dating occasionally to maintain your sanity or when you’re just feeling too impatient or overwhelmed.

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4. Spend time doing what you enjoy

It’s important to keep yourself busy with life stuff. If you enjoy reading, do it. Do it if you want to go to the gym to work out. If you want to walk your dog, do it. If you want to spend quality time with your kids, do it. If you want to call your ex, don’t do it. Got it? Good.

There’s a sense of freedom with the single life. Enjoy that freedom. You can go shopping, read, run errands, mack on those women via text message, explore, walk around the mall, go to the beach, go on a vacation, go to your favorite restaurant for a steak dinner, do whatever you enjoy doing. That’s the single life — Freedom, enjoying yourself, and being blissfully self-indulgent.

5. Try to live the life that you imagine

I’ve become more cynical with age, however it’s best to try to live the life you imagine. Not everything will be in your control, however. Whether that be an attractive woman who’s not interested in you on a dating site, a wrong date, dates failing to meet your high expectations, etc., imagine the date that would make you feel happy or content. What kind of woman would that be? Imagine the type of woman you would want to fall in love with. Of course, reality is reality, and sometimes, you will need to deal with curve balls, speed bumps, coping with problems or barriers, etc.

Sometimes, I must remind myself what I want or hope for. That means I imagine the best for myself but prepare for the worst. That way, the worst won’t catch me by surprise or blindside me when I least expect it. I’m very intuitive by nature, but being self-aware and mindful of consequences in reality will prevent that dreadful feeling from getting worse than I expected. In other words, hope for wonderful dates and finding lasting love, but remember that reality and disappointment may linger and belt you upside the head when you least expect it. It’s best to approach your dating with realistic expectations, yet try to be positive and imagine the best for yourself despite the rubbish reality.

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So, the next time that you feel anxiety or stress of not finding your soulmate, hopefully you will be more prepared. Let your failures become the motivation for a brighter future for yourself. By all means, don’t waver from what you’re truly seeking, and enjoy your love life and have fun! If things don’t work out, you will have brighter moments and days ahead.

William is a graphic designer and creative writer. One of his favourite interests is reading books about relationships. He recommends ‘How to Succeed with Women’ and Doc Love’s ‘The System’. He has two adorable children that he enjoys spending time with. William is currently single and is preparing for his next relationship. You can follow him on Twitter.

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