If you find yourself longing for a mate this year, with none sight, the one obvious problem is that something you are doing isn’t working. There are eligible singles out there, but you have to get out of your own way and go out of your way to find one. Are you ready to do that? Take this quiz to see if you are “relationship ready!”

1. Are you already married to your parents, children, siblings, friends, or job?

If so, your life needs balancing because you are not available for the relationship you claim you want. You are the only person in the world who can fix this. Consider it a holiday gift to yourself to re-capture your life as you would like to live it.

2. Do you make your dates jump over hurdles to get a piece of your time?

Consider the message you’re sending. A healthy, eligible mate doesn’t get married to be ignored. So you won’t be seen as eligible if you are not available.

3. Do you put little effort in your appearance because you say you want to be loved for the “real you?”

Get real. The ugly truth is that appearances matter. Most of my clients and students aren’t seeking “gorgeous,” but they do want someone who is presentable, tries to be attractive, and smells good, versus sloppy, slouchy, and less than squeaky clean.

4. Does your recovery from a relationship take more time than the relationship lasted?

If so, your coping skills need an upgrade. You are spending more time out of a relationship than in one. You are being an analyzer/observer instead of a participant in love. Winners in all categories in life learn to deal with rejection. We don’t get a pass in the love arena.

If any of these questions fit you. Consider doing a year-end clean up and change up. The longer you practice bad habits, the harder they are to break. Start now by practicing the following good habits:

  • Stop Hoping

You wouldn’t just hope that someone would get a job for you, or take care of your health. If you did, you’d starve, or die. Hoping that a potential date will take all of the initiative — or be a really nice mate and just descend from your living room ceiling — stalls romance and starves your love life.

  • Unpack Emotional Baggage

If you feel worse about yourself when you’re around someone, they aren’t worth being around. To be in the best condition possible for getting married, eliminate toxic people from your life. You may have friends and family who are energy vampires (people who seem to suck the life right out of you – blamers, controllers, time gobblers). Or there may be someone who can ruin your mood with even the briefest of contact. You’ll be surprised how your spirits can soar with even thirty fewer minutes a week spent with negative people.

  • Nix the Ex-Talk

Never ever talk about an ex. Hearing about the ex is boring. It also communicates that you’re still carrying baggage. Your friends and family are (or should be) tired of listening, and your dates will assume, quite correctly, that you’re going to dump that baggage right on them!

  • Prepare for Rejection

Be prepared for rejection – it happens. Get really good at handling it. Move on and find the person who does want to be with you. When the abandonment waves have passed, you sometimes realize “being left” was your lucky break.

  • Stand Up Straight

Stand up straight and you will not only appear more confident, but you’ll feel more confident too — which will make flirting much easier. I promise.

  • Be Playful

You don’t need to act like a child or be dopey, but this is the one game you should play when dating. Seeming like someone who is fun is the fast road to seeming attractive.

  • Be Patient

Don’t expect everything to show up right away. Some great potential mates simply don’t show warmth, sense of humor, or the best side of themselves until you’ve gone out — and then gone out again, and maybe yet again. This is especially true if they work in a “serious” profession where they carry a lot of responsibility. If it’s really horrible, don’t go out again. However, if a date is pleasant, give it another try and give yourself an opportunity.

  • Flirt Like You Mean It

Flirting is mandatory and it’s a skill that absolutely anyone can learn. It is comprised of these basic rules of social interaction:

–          Smiling

This is crucial to flirting. I encourage my students to learn by practicing on small animals and furniture. Then try that new grin on people  you actually know, and then graduate to strangers in safe territory.

–          Making Eye Contact

If you don’t hold eye contact for at least four seconds, your glance will be interpreted as rejection instead of a come hither look.

–          Breaking the Ice

After you break eye contact, look back again and smile. If you look approachable and he wants to meet you, he will come introduce himself (assuming he is mobile and available). If you re-run this scenario an extra time and add an inviting wave, if interested, she will approach or wave right back.

You can be your own best coach or your worst enemy – it’s up to you. Self-market based on your assets, not your faults. Let a date know the real you from the start. Just make sure to start with the most positive possible version of you.

Click here for a complete list of all Dr. Janet Blair Page’s articles.
Dr. Janet Page is a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years in NYC and Atlanta, and taught for 22 years at Emory University. As the author of “Get Married This Year,” she speaks to audiences around the country about keeping love alive and finding your mate. Click here for more information on her “Get Married This Year” seminars.
  1. I probably am not dating material now and may never be. My health is failing my self image is poor & my only living relative after loss of my mother brother and son has been devastating couple of years. I terribly want companionship but at. 57 I find that sex maybe problematic for me. My counterpart may feel that a major problem. Of course living the way I have taking care of my dad 88 , with a rare blood cancer and being at his beck and call for frequent almost not quite daily Dr. Visits I still have plenty of time because I am on disability which is something that doesn’t appear outward and for myself I can say I have the gift of gab and am nice looking. Would there be someone for me given what I have said? I don’t know. But it is a serious problem to be alone granted my dad is sharp and a part companion but I am in terror G-d forbid of loosing him and having no friends or family given that I am a highly social man and have done very well with women not to many years ago.

  2. I have only had sex w my husband. I am 56, pretty, athletic and look great for my age.
    The idea of having sex with someone new is exiting and frightening at the same time. Anyone else have the same issue?

  3. Michael-
    It sounds like you are slightly depressed. Can’t someone else take care of your father? Have you ever been married? If not, it is likely you spent too much time taking care of your adult family members. Time to move on and have fun.

  4. I am dating for the first time on JDate a year and a half after the end of a long relationship. I thought I was ready but I have turned down a large number of people or assumed they were turning me down. Then one of my matches pointed out to me that I was actually being courted by him! I had unconsciously selected out the parts of his email that pointed to “no” (they weren’t “no at all, just differences we had in our opinions of life) while unintentionally ignoring his interest. This gave me an opportunity to re-examine why I was here on JDate in the first place and allowed me to open myself up a little more, to be more playful and even a little flirtatious without the roof falling in. I realized it was fear that was making me put up a wall I hadn’t even been aware of and when I reassured myself that I don’t have to immediately jump into a commitment to anyone–certainly not before I’m ready–I felt a lot better about enjoying this experience. The person who pointed this out to me is really a very nice person who wouldn’t dream of rushing me–both the pressure and the fear was all mine. A great lesson.

  5. Carol, don’t we all feel this way, a little or a lot? I sure do.

  6. Michael, I truly believe there is “a lid for every pot”. I send you my best wishes that you will find just the right woman, one who will appreciate your need for family and your love for your father as well as the fears you feel which we all feel in one way or another. Hopefully, you will be able to meet enough people so that the right one will find you and you will find her.

  7. Michael,
    It sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now. Being a caregiver can be so rewarding (especially when it is someone we love like a family member) yet it’s one of the most exhausting jobs you could do, physically and mentally. It is very important to have support. Take advantage of respite programs or hire a visiting nurse. Go out and do something that you enjoy, whatever it may be. Even if you have the time to be taking care of him, you still need to take care of your mental and physical health. When you don’t feel so overwhelmed by the real challenges in your life the hypothetical one (not having a partner) may not seem so daunting. In fact, once you are in a healthier place it may not be a worry at all.

  8. I had a similar scenario and my mom passed away in 2006. I had the same fears. I found that one doesn’t “get over it” but grows thru it and emerges “on another side.” Recommend you read Life Lessons by Kubler-Ross and stay in ttouch with the friends you have. You do need to form new friendships. I’m looking for some, myself.

  9. Hi , I am a bout one moth on JDATE , I am receiving a bout 20 to 30 viewer a day e mail almost nothing …. I fill that I mist a lot !!!! I know what is the problem , it’s my smoking ! I don’t know that to do
    What are you recommending ? Thank you !!!!

  10. My wife of 60 years passed away just five months ago. She happened to be an incredably beautiful woman for her age, youthful, upbeat and a great partner, mother, grandma and G.G………. When I look at other woman, they fall so short of what I had in so many ways. Naturally, the first thing you are attracted to is physical. Now what do I do?
    I know it’s never going to be the same, but lonliness is tough.
    For my age, I guess I look pretty good, but I’m still of an elder vintage.

  11. Hi, Michael.

    I was wondering if you’d share what type of cancer your father has. My husband died of a rare blood cancer. Have you reached out for help to local agencies like a Jewish Family Service, etc?

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