The Magnificent Seven

There is a beautiful world around you, and if you are so busy looking down at your dating app, you may walk right past your future love.

I am not a huge fan of resolutions. If I can’t even keep “I will not make old lady noises getting in and out of the car,” I don’t see much hope for turning over a new leaf. However, I do believe in the power of intention and positive energy and the laws of attraction, so now is a fortuitous time to define what is love and happiness and ways to achieve it.

My advice on finding love used to start with, “Shave your legs and leave the house.” But now with online dating and FaceTime and Skype, you don’t even need to leave your living room. But the starting point is the same. It is about opening a door — literally or metaphorically — that says “I am ready.”

Prioritize Qualities

Our culture sets up false expectations of having it all. The Victoria Secret Catalog Model/Mensa Candidate/Child Hospital Volunteer/Michelin Chef all rolled into one, and the Chiseled Triathlete/Mary Oliver Reader/Successful CEO who gives killer foot rubs. When we encounter mere mortals, we will be disappointed.

What is really most important to you in a mate? Look at what attracts you — is it kindness, generosity, a sense of adventure? Or is it drama, the unattainable, volatility? In my book, life provides enough drama, and you don’t need to add any more craziness in by design. Jane Austen had a lot to say on this subject — look for character.

Bet on the Tortoise Not the Hare

Our current culture is absorbed in immediate gratification. Hook ups versus courtship. Emojis versus thoughtful, grammatically-correct sentences to express complex emotions.

Take the time to actually get to know someone. Be vulnerable enough to let them get to know you. What this interaction inspires is trust, which is an essential building block for closeness.

Beware of Ghosts of Romance Past

You don’t want these hanging around. The wonderful thing about therapy or self-reflection is that when you take the time to do a deep dive to distill what didn’t work and the lessons learned and what it tells you about yourself, you are laying the best foundation to find future happiness.

Not taking this time and just jumping into the next relationship means these ghosts can rear their ugly heads. Anger or bitterness are poison pills to new love.

Put Down the Phone

There is a beautiful world around you, and if you are so busy looking down at your dating app, you may walk right past your future love without even noticing. You also might walk into a pot hole.

And once you are with someone in person, unless you have a child at home with a babysitter or a relative in the hospital, put the phone away and focus on what is in front of you.

Be Clear

Are you looking for a romantic snack or a full meal? Are you in a place that you have the physical and emotional bandwidth to share your life or just enjoy a few laughs? The older we get, the more responsibilities we have. These may be work commitments, children, aging parents, travel, “Game of Thrones” addictions.

If you are really looking for love, be honest about limitations, but know that one of the greatest parts of romance is what you have to give and most of us are also in balancing acts.

Be in the Same Place in Life

Life has different cycles with different priorities at different ages and when you are in synch with common goals it’s wonderful, and when you are out of sync, it can lead to disappointment and resentment.

This is especially true when it comes to the issue of having children. Be fair on both sides. Too often, I see older men with younger women who hit a road block because she wants to have children and he doesn’t or has children and doesn’t want more. These are deeply personal desires at any age, and to ask someone to change their position is unfair. Be honest to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be, and know your love is by your side with their full support.

The Time Is Now

All we have is the present moment and faith. Be your best self. As a sweet man recently said to me, “Chop chop, Sassy Pants. Time to get crackin’!”

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