Like searching for “The One,” house hunting can be a long and arduous process. You’ll spend hours figuring out what you want out of your next place, then spend even more time trying to find that match, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for due to a narrow frame of mind, you’ll have to be willing to open up! But once you find your perfect house, your heart will finally feel at home – just like finding your perfect match! Here are 10 ways that dating is like house hunting:

1. You Need to Start with Several Options

When people first start dating, it’s good to see a few people at once so they can see the forest from the trees – and not just jump into a relationship. By the same token, most people see a range of houses over a period of time so they can assess what they like and don’t like, learn the comparative value and get a feel for the location. This is how you can begin to make a choice based on both your head and heart.

2. You Must Have Vision

I love to create a vision board of my goals, whether they’re regarding love, career or family goals. This is a tangible reminder of what you see yourself achieving. So, just as someone might create a vision board of their dream house, singles can create a vision board of the relationship they want. This is a great way to create what you want from the inside out and give reminders to your unconscious.

3. Compromise Works in Your Favor

Most things in life require compromise. When choosing a mate, you want to get the most important things, but you may have to compromise in little ways. Perhaps he is a vegetarian and you’d prefer a meat eater. Likewise, although you may spend 20 years in a house, you may be willing to give up a deck or an extra bedroom if you love ten other things about it and can make it work.

4. It’s Important to Know Your Essentials

In my book Dating from the Inside Out, I discuss writing your dating essentials – the most important seven things you need in a mate in order to be happy. Similarly, when looking for a house, it’s important to go in knowing what you need most. That way you won’t be swayed by emotions. For example, in the romantic realm, if an unmarried Brad Pitt asked you out, but he did not want children, would children be essential? And in the home realm, maybe you see the most gorgeous house in the world, but if you had to commute two hours instead of 30 minutes and you wouldn’t see your kids before bed, would you walk away? You get the idea.

5. You’ll Have to Compare “Right” and “Right for Now”

When looking for a house, you may find something that’s a great investment now or you may realize that once you grow, mature and change, it won’t be right for you. A house may be too small. It may not offer room for additions. In dating, especially with an eye for marriage, singles must ask similar questions: This is fun for now, but can I see a real future with this person? Will he or she learn and seek self-development? Will we grow together?

6. You’ll Exercise Your Patience

In dating, before you commit to marriage, it’s important to give things a reasonable amount of time. You want to think it through and spend time with that person. House hunting tends to move more quickly, but it’s still a good idea to visit that house multiple times and to think through what it would be like to live there under a variety of circumstances. For example, you may love the ocean and dream of sunbathing on the sand, but how would a beach house be in a hurricane and how much is flood insurance? Similarly, you may love your husband’s career success, but how much would you and your family see him? Would you be okay with that once you’re married? Thinking across circumstances can give your decision more perspective and weight.

7. Both Require Inspection

When making a life-long decision, sometimes it’s important to consult professionals. When you buy a house, you usually have it inspected so you can be sure the foundation and major issues are in good working order. Similarly, when choosing a mate for marriage, many couples consult a psychologist for a few sessions or go to a rabbi for pre-engagement counseling. Others consult friends and family to gain an outside perspective. You can even read a book. In the end, you need to take full responsibility for your choice, but it can’t hurt to get a second opinion on something so big.

8. You’ll Need to Examine the Hidden Costs

The décor, functionality, location and price of a house can seem ideal, but sometimes buyers disregard a hidden cost like village and county taxes. Similarly in dating, someone can seem great and make a high income, but they may be a closeted gambler or not discuss a huge amount of debts and loans. It’s important to discuss money issues before marriage so partners can decide if they’re willing to take this on together instead of being shocked upon closing the deal.

9. You May Take On a “Fixer-Upper”

In my book Dating from the Inside Out, I discuss the defensive dating style of ‘The Philanthropist’ who likes to take on romantic projects in order to improve them. This rarely works, either because the partner is resentful at the notion of being improved – or they just don’t want to improve! People do the same thing when buying a home. They imagine they can buy what they can afford now and improve it later, but they don’t realistically assess their resources, time and life contingencies. Without assessing these things, you could end up living in an unfinished house that doesn’t meet your needs. Decide if a house and relationship is good enough now. Then, if you’re sure you can hire professionals to fix the house, go ahead. But fixing a mate doesn’t typically work (even with the best therapist) unless your partner really wants to change.

10. You’ve Got to Be Open

Although we have discussed using your head, it’s also great to be willing to be surprised – in both life and love. I’ve heard of many people finding love or a house when they least expected it. They were open to a different kind of experience and found it was the perfect fit. So, be open to serendipity and synchronicity in finding both your home and your mate!

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and the author of “Dating from the Inside Out” and “When Mars Women Date.” She also works as a love coach and runs groups on dating and relationship issues in Manhattan. Learn more at:
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