MSN Dating & Personals

Are you a fool for love?

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Sure, it’s a wonderful feeling to be swept up in a wave of love and giddiness, but that early rush of affection can lead some of us to do some pretty odd things. Things like thinking we’re in love after one or two dates... things like making summer vacation plans with a person we just met... and things like rearranging our whole schedule in case the object of our affection should be available for a cappuccino.

Now, instead of repeating those same old dating mistakes, why not vow on April 1st to make some simple changes? “When you put positive goals first and stop doing negative things, your love life benefits,” says Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., author of Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships. With that in mind, we came up with five common fool-for-love dating moves you ought to retire—and wise advice on just how to do that... and find the kind of romance you’re looking for.

Fool-for-love move #1: Believing that falling head-over-heels in love at first sight is best.
How to fix it:
Flash-bang-wow chemistry is fun, but true love evolves over time—not through fleeting glances or over a few cocktails during one enchanted evening. “I have a client who thinks that he has to have this immediate passionate connection with someone or he won’t go on a second date, which keeps him from possibly finding a good match,” says Firestone. She suggests that if you’re still at least a little interested in the person, go out again. No one’s at their most natural state on a first date anyway, so you both benefit from another opportunity to chat. “Love at first sight is a myth, and it’s important to give different kinds of people a chance,” says Firestone. Being open to new experiences can be an important step on the path to finding a partner.
Fool-for-love move #2: Having sex early on in a dating relationship.
How to fix it:
“If you sleep with someone right away, it can be a problem later, because you’ve bypassed the phase of ‘Tell me more about yourself’ and ‘What do you like to do on Sundays?’” says Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life. “It feels weird to ruin comfort levels by asking such basic questions after you've gotten physically close.” Puhn suggests that the next time you feel the urge for one night of fun, remind yourself that you can get unlimited nights of fun if you wait—without skipping any key getting-to- know-you steps. Set new timelines for yourself: Only after ten dates, a month, ten months, when you know you’re boyfriend-girlfriend—whatever marks a slow-it-down improvement for you.

Fool-for-love move #3: Falling for someone who’s taken.
How to fix it:
“Spoken-for people can be very attractive, because they’re often confident enough to flirt and you may be craving affection,” says Rinatta Paries, a love coach at “You may get the attention you desire in the moment, but you also get the heartache of someone who is not free to be fully attached to you.” No matter how much you say you don’t “need” a boyfriend or girlfriend who’s 100% there for you, the fact is, you do miss out when you settle for a partial partner. Paries recommends making yourself socialize with new people (join a book club or take a wine-tasting class, for example) and scheduling a string of dates online to help you remember just how desirable you are. You deserve someone who puts you first, so start auditioning mates who have long-term potential instead of devoting your time to one who’s proven he or she doesn’t.

Fool-for-love move #4: Not letting people know you’re seriously looking.
How to fix it:
When you’re tired of being single, appealing to your friends for help can seem like an act of desperation. “Blind dates can be scary and uncomfortable, but it's a lot more uncomfortable to sit at home on a Friday night feeling depressed and lonely,” says Puhn. In fact, asking for introductions makes you feel proactive in your search for a mate, and it dispels any shame you might have about being solo. You’ll feel more positive and happy about dating, an attitude that will be attractive to others when you do schedule a date. So make a fresh start by telling your friends that you'd like to be set up. Even if they don’t know anyone right for you, once you’ve mentioned that you’re looking, you’re bound to score yourself more invites to parties, girls’/guys’ nights out, and other social events where you could meet, well, anyone.

Fool-for-love move #5: Ignoring red flags (even if the person waving them is otherwise amazing).
How to fix it:
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “He’s great, even if he does drink waaaay too much,” or “She’s sexy; so what if she works for me?” When you’re smitten, it’s easy to overlook issues that threaten the very basis of a future serious relationship, but when you do, you’re sabotaging your shot at said serious relationship. “Every time you date someone with an issue you have to work to ignore, you’re settling,” says Paries. A better option? When red flags pop up, talk about them. Ask questions. Honestly decide if the baggage at hand is a deal-breaker for what you want long-term, and make the hard (but smart) choice to stop dating if that is the case. If someone isn’t ready for a relationship, has substance abuse issues, or is not a good prospect in another vital way, you are wasting your time if you pursue this person romantically. “If you can, keep the friendship,” says Paries. “You never know when a friend of a friend might be perfect for you.” And that’s because when it comes to the game of love, setting your priorities — and sticking with them — can pay off in ways you never expected.

Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Fitness, Prevention and Marie Claire.

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