The secret to successful dating: Know yourself first

Do you really need studies and statistics to convince you that you want to be in love? Probably not. It’s no surprise that research supports what you likely already know – that people in happy, committed relationships, on average, live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives than their unattached peers.

Even if you dated through high school and college, entering the dating world as a single, independent adult can be daunting. The rules and objectives seem to change when you’re out in the working world. Instead of just having fun, your dating priorities may shift toward finding that special someone whom you’ll want to be with long-term.

When it comes to dating, knowing who you are and what you have to offer another person is every bit as important as knowing what you want. Here are some tips for learning about yourself, and how to parlay that self-knowledge into positive dating experiences.

Build your confidence

Self-assurance is communicated in so many ways. Whether it’s the willingness to take the next step in a relationship or simply knowing what you want to order for that romantic meal together, confidence is appealing on many levels. Take steps to build your self-confidence in your daily life, and it will spread to your dating life. Simple things like dressing neatly and well, standing and sitting tall, and even knowing your credit can help you feel more confident about yourself and what you have to offer another person.

Know your own value

Think about what you expect from the person you want to date. Do you want someone who takes care of him or herself emotionally and physically? Someone who is financially stable? Do you match that image? Take stock of what you have to offer another person, and consider every aspect of your life that could affect a long-term relationship. Consider your diet and exercise habits. Are they the kind that will help you live a healthy, long life? Check your credit on a site like Do you manage your credit well or are financial problems something you – and a potential partner – will have to deal with in the future?

Keep it real

It’s important to be honest with others in all your relationships, but it’s even more important that you’re honest with yourself. If your self-assessment uncovers things you don’t like about who you are or where your life is going, you need to acknowledge and address those things. Ignoring issues will not make them go away. Just as an untreated wound can turn infected, character issues or life situations that you don’t like will only worsen over time if you don’t take steps to deal with them.

Face your fears and challenges head on

Nelson Mandela once said the brave person is not someone who feels no fear, but someone who conquers that fear. Knowing your greatest fears and being able to face them is an important part of knowing yourself. It’s not always easy to get to the root of your fears; you may even think you have none. The truth is, everyone has a worst-case scenario they hope never happens, whether it’s losing their job, facing a life-threatening illness, or even never finding that special someone. The useful part of knowing what you’re afraid of is that you can take steps toward preventing it from happening, or toward being prepared in case it ever does.