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Dating Tips for Finding the Right Person

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Single and looking for love? While there are always obstacles to meeting the right person, these tips can help you find lasting love and build a healthy, worthwhile relationship.

Obstacles to finding love

Are you single and looking for love? Are you finding it hard to meet the right person? When you’re having trouble finding a love connection, it’s all too easy to become discouraged or buy into the destructive myths out there about dating and relationships.

Life as a single person offers many rewards, such as being free to pursue your own hobbies and interests, learning how to enjoy your own company, and appreciating the quiet moments of solitude. However, if you’re ready to share your life with someone and want to build a lasting, worthwhile relationship, life as a single person can also seem frustrating.

For many of us, our emotional baggage can make finding the right romantic partner a difficult journey. Perhaps you grew up in a household where there was no role model of a solid, healthy relationship and you doubt that such a thing even exists. Or maybe your dating history consists only of brief flings and you don’t know how to make a relationship last. You could be attracted to the wrong type of person or keep making the same bad choices over and over, due to an unresolved issue from your past. Or maybe you’re not putting yourself in the best environments to meet the right person, or that when you do, you don’t feel confident enough.

Whatever the case may be, you can overcome your obstacles. Even if you’ve been burned repeatedly or have a poor track record when it comes to dating, these tips can help put you on the path to finding a healthy, loving relationship that lasts.

Reassess your misconceptions about dating and relationships

The first step to finding love is to reassess some of the misconceptions about dating and relationships that may be preventing you from finding lasting love.

Common Myths About Dating and Looking for Love
Myth: I can only be happy and fulfilled if I'm in a relationship or It's better to have a bad relationship than no relationship.

Fact: While there are health benefits that come with being in a solid relationship, many people can be just as happy and fulfilled without being part of a couple. Despite the stigma in some social circles that accompanies being single, it's important not to enter a relationship just to “fit in.” Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. And nothing is as unhealthy and dispiriting as being in a bad relationship.

Myth: If I don't feel an instant attraction to someone, it's not a relationship worth pursuing.

Fact: This is an important myth to dispel, especially if you have a history of making inappropriate choices. Instant sexual attraction and lasting love do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Emotions can change and deepen over time, and friends sometimes become lovers—if you give those relationships a chance to develop.

Myth: Women have different emotions than men.

Fact: Women and men feel similar things but sometimes express their feelings differently, often according to society's conventions. But both men and women experience the same core emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, and joy.

Myth: True love is constant or Physical attraction fades over time.

Fact: Love is rarely static, but that doesn't mean love or physical attraction is doomed to fade over time. As we age, both men and women have fewer sexual hormones, but emotion often influences passion more than hormones, and sexual passion can become stronger over time.

Myth: I'll be able to change the things I don't like about someone.

Fact: You can't change anyone. People only change if and when they want to change.

Myth: I didn't feel close to my parents, so intimacy is always going to be uncomfortable for me.

Fact: It's never too late to change any pattern of behavior. Over time, and with enough effort, you can change the way you think, feel, and act.

Myth: Disagreements always create problems in a relationship.

Fact: Conflict doesn't have to be negative or destructive. With the right resolution skills, conflict can also provide an opportunity for growth in a relationship.

Expectations about dating and finding love

When we start looking for a long-term partner or enter into a romantic relationship, many of us do so with a predetermined set of (often unrealistic) expectations—such as how the person should look and behave, how the relationship should progress, and the roles each partner should fulfill. These expectations may be based on your family history, influence of your peer group, your past experiences, or even ideals portrayed in movies and TV shows. Retaining many of these unrealistic expectations can make any potential partner seem inadequate and any new relationship feel disappointing.

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Consider what's really important

Distinguish between what you want and what you need in a partner. Wants are negotiable, needs are not.

Wants include things like occupation, intellect, and physical attributes such as height, weight, and hair color. Even if certain traits seem crucially important at first, over time you'll often find that you've been needlessly limiting your choices. For example, it may be more important to find someone who is:

  • Curious rather than extremely intelligent. Curious people tend to grow smarter over time, while those who are bright may languish intellectually if they lack curiosity.
  • Sensual rather than sexy.
  • Caring rather than beautiful or handsome.
  • A little mysterious rather than glamorous.
  • Humorous rather than wealthy.
  • From a family with similar values to yours, rather than someone from a specific ethnic or social background.

Needs are different than wants in that needs are those qualities that matter to you most, such as values, ambitions, or goals in life. These are probably not the things you can find out about a person by eyeing them on the street, reading their profile on a dating site, or sharing a quick cocktail at a bar before last call.

Dating tip 1: Keep things in perspective

Don't make your search for a relationship the center of your life. Concentrate on activities you enjoy, your career, health, and relationships with family and friends. When you focus on keeping yourself happy, it will keep your life balanced and make you a more interesting person when you do meet someone special.

[Read: Cultivating Happiness]

Remember that first impressions aren't always reliable, especially when it comes to Internet dating. It always takes time to really get to know a person and you have to experience being with someone in a variety of situations. For example, how well does this person hold up under pressure when things don't go well or when they're tired, frustrated, or hungry?

Be honest about your own flaws and shortcomings. Everyone has flaws, and for a relationship to last, you want someone to love you for the person you are, not the person you'd like to be, or the person they think you should be. Besides, what you consider a flaw may actually be something another person finds quirky and appealing. By shedding all pretense, you'll encourage the other person to do the same, which can lead to an honest, more fulfilling relationship.

Tip 2: Build a genuine connection

The dating game can be nerve wracking. It's only natural to worry about how you'll come across and whether or not your date will like you. But no matter how shy or socially awkward you feel, you can overcome your nerves and self-consciousness and forge a great connection.

Focus outward, not inward. To combat first-date nerves, focus your attention on what your date is saying and doing and what's going on around you, rather than on your internal thoughts. Staying fully present in the moment will help take your mind off worries and insecurities.

Be curious. When you're truly curious about someone else's thoughts, feelings, experiences, stories, and opinions, it shows—and they'll like you for it. You'll come across as far more attractive and interesting than if you spend your time trying to promote yourself to your date. And if you aren't genuinely interested in your date, there's little point in pursuing the relationship further.

Be genuine. Showing interest in others can't be faked. If you're just pretending to listen or care, your date will pick up on it. No one likes to be manipulated or placated. Rather than helping you connect and make a good impression, your efforts will most likely backfire. If you aren't genuinely interested in your date, there is little point in pursuing the relationship further.

Pay attention. Make an effort to truly listen to the other person. By paying close attention to what they say, do, and how they interact, you'll quickly get to know them. Little things go a long way, such as remembering someone's preferences, the stories they've told you, and what's going on in their life.

[Read: Effective Communication]

Put your smartphone away. You can't truly pay attention or forge a genuine connection when you're multitasking. Nonverbal communication—subtle gestures, expressions, and other visual cues—tell us a lot about another person, but they're easy to miss unless you're tuned in.


Tip 3: Put a priority on having fun

Online dating, singles events, and matchmaking services like speed dating are enjoyable for some people, but for others they can feel more like high-pressure job interviews. And whatever dating experts might tell you, there is a big difference between finding the right career and finding lasting love.

Instead of scouring dating sites or hanging out in pick-up bars, think of your time as a single person as a great opportunity to expand your social circle and participate in new events. Make having fun your focus. By pursuing activities you enjoy and putting yourself in new environments, you'll meet new people who share similar interests and values. Even if you don't find someone special, you will still have enjoyed yourself and maybe forged new friendships as well.

Tips for finding fun activities and like-minded people:

  • Volunteer for a favorite charity, animal shelter, or political campaign. Or even try a volunteer vacation (for details see Resources section below).
  • Take an extension course at a local college or university.
  • Sign up for dance, cooking, or art classes.
  • Join a running club, hiking group, cycling group, or sports team.
  • Join a theater group, film group, or attend a panel discussion at a museum.
  • Find a local book group or photography club.
  • Attend local food and wine tasting events or art gallery openings.
  • Be creative: Write a list of activities available in your area and, with your eyes closed, randomly put a pin in one, even if it's something you would never normally consider. How about pole dancing, origami, or lawn bowling? Getting out of your comfort zone can be rewarding in itself.

Tip 4: Handle rejection gracefully

At some point, everyone looking for love is going to have to deal with rejection—both as the person being rejected and the person doing the rejecting. It's an inevitable part of dating, and never fatal. By staying positive and being honest with yourself and others, handling rejection can be far less intimidating. The key is to accept that rejection is an inevitable part of dating but to not spend too much time worrying about it. It's never fatal.

Tips for handling rejection when dating and looking for love

Don't take it personally. If you're rejected after one or a few dates, the other person is likely only rejecting you for superficial reasons you have no control over—some people just prefer blondes to brunettes, chatty people to quiet ones—or because they are unable to overcome their own issues. Be grateful for early rejections—it can spare you much more pain down the road.

Don't dwell on it, but learn from the experience. Don't beat yourself up over any mistakes you think you made. If it happens repeatedly, though, take some time to reflect on how you relate to others, and any problems you need to work on. Then let it go. Dealing with rejection in a healthy way can increase your strength and resilience.

Acknowledge your feelings. It's normal to feel a little hurt, resentful, disappointed, or even sad when faced with rejection. It's important to acknowledge your feelings without trying to suppress them. Practicing mindfulness can help you stay in touch with your feelings and quickly move on from negative experiences.

Tip 5: Watch for relationship red flags

Red-flag behaviors can indicate that a relationship is not going to lead to healthy, lasting love. Trust your instincts and pay close attention to how the other person makes you feel. If you tend to feel insecure, ashamed, or undervalued, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.

Common relationship red flags:

The relationship is alcohol dependent. You only communicate well—laugh, talk, make love—when one or both of you are under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

There's trouble making a commitment. For some people commitment is much more difficult than others. It's harder for them to trust others or to understand the benefits of a long-term relationship because of previous experiences or an unstable home life growing up.

[Read: Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse]

Nonverbal communication is off. Instead of wanting to connect with you, the other person's attention is on other things like their phone or the TV.

Jealousy about outside interests. One partner doesn't like the other spending time with friends and family members outside of the relationship.

Controlling behavior. There is a desire on the part of one person to control the other, and stop them from having independent thoughts and feelings.

The relationship is exclusively sexual. There is no interest in the other person other than a physical one. A meaningful and fulfilling relationship depends on more than just good sex.

No one-on-one time. One partner only wants to be with the other as part of a group of people. If there's no desire to spend quality time alone with you, outside of the bedroom, it can signify a greater issue.

Tip 6: Deal with trust issues

Mutual trust is a cornerstone of any close personal relationship. Trust doesn't happen overnight; it develops over time as your connection with another person deepens. However, if you're someone with trust issues—someone who's been betrayed, traumatized, or abused in the past, or someone with an insecure attachment bond—then you may find it impossible to trust others and find lasting love.

If you have trust issues, your romantic relationships will be dominated by fear—fear of being betrayed by the other person, fear of being let down, or fear of feeling vulnerable. But it is possible to learn to trust others. By working with the right therapist or in a supportive group therapy setting, you can identify the source of your mistrust and explore ways to build richer, more fulfilling relationships.

Tip 7: Nurture your budding relationship

Finding the right person is just the beginning of the journey, not the destination. In order to move from casual dating to a committed, loving relationship, you need to nurture that new connection.

To nurture your relationship:

Invest in it. No relationship will run smoothly without regular attention, and the more you invest in each other, the more you'll grow. Find activities you can enjoy together and commit to spending the time to partake in them, even when you're busy or stressed.

Communicate openly. Your partner is not a mind reader, so tell them how you feel. When you both feel comfortable expressing your needs, fears, and desires, the bond between you will become stronger and deeper.

Resolve conflict by fighting fair. No matter how you approach the differences in your relationship, it's important that you aren't fearful of conflict. You need to feel safe to express the issues that bother you and to be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation, or insisting on being right.

[Read: Managing Conflict with Humor]

Be open to change. All relationships change over time. What you want from a relationship at the beginning may be very different from what you and your partner want a few months or years down the road. Accepting change in a healthy relationship should not only make you happier, but also make you a better person: kinder, more empathic, and more generous.

Authors: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Lawrence Robinson, and Greg Boose

Relationship Search Tips for Singles – Ideas for where to meet other singles and find love. (Nancy Wesson, Ph.D.)

Building a Healthy Relationship from the Start – Aimed at college students but universally applicable. (UT Counseling and Mental Health Center)

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships – Aimed at college students but applicable to others. (University of Washington)

Handling Social Rejection, Mistakes, and Setbacks – How to cope with a fear of rejection as well as recover when rejection happens. (

Around the web

Last updated: October 17, 2022

12 basic rules for lasting relationships

Just because the whole world seems to obsess about romance during one day in the middle of February, doesn't mean you have to. For happy singles, it's a good excuse to eat chocolate.

But if Valentine's Day has you thinking about finding love, the holiday could be a good motivation to start.

Our experts offered these 12 tips to boost your chances:

1. The ‘You’ll find love when you’re not looking’ approach may be wrong.

That’s like saying, “You’ll find a job when you’re least looking for it,” said Pepper Schwartz, a relationship expert and sociology professor at the University of Washington. It’s possible, but rarely happens.

“For the most part, people who wait for a job are unemployed,” she added. “For me, it’s just an excuse for being scared to go and put the effort in. Yes, it happens, but no, it’s not a good strategy.

Schwartz does agree with the underlying sentiment of that saying: Don’t be desperate. Put the effort in to find someone, but don’t act like any breathing body will do.

RELATED: How to find lifetime love: 10 secrets from couples married for decades

2. Go where people like the same things you like.

You can skip singles events if you don’t like them, but you have to go where you can meet people, Schwartz advised. Join social groups or meet-ups; be a worker bee in a cause you believe in; get involved in political parties. At the very least, you’re doing something you like and at the very best, you'll meet somebody like-minded.

Bite the bullet and try online dating for a big pool of potential candidates, Schwartz added. If you’re already online, try a different dating site.

3. Look up from your phone.

Good men and good women are everywhere — if you’re looking, noted Bela Gandhi, a TODAY contributor and founder of the Smart Dating Academy in Chicago. She’s amazed people often complain they don’t meet anyone, but then go out and keep their heads down the entire time, staring at their devices.

Wherever you are, be present and look around the room to see who is looking at you. Make three seconds of eye contact with the cute stranger and smile — that’s an invitation for him to come over and talk to you, she advised.

RELATED: Looking for love? These are the top states for 'positive relationships'

4. Don’t seek romance, seek partnership.

Romance is for dates, and it’s fun to have on occasion in your marriage, but it’s partnership that will get you through the rough times, said Tina B. Tessina, a California psychotherapist also known as "Dr. Romance" and author of “How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together.”

“Don’t look for someone who sweeps you off your feet. That indicates a control freak, and you won’t like what happens later,” she advised. “Look for someone who likes give-and-take, who seeks your opinion and considers it, who cares about what you want, too.

5. Happy people attract people.

Maybe the biggest issue in not being able to find love is that you’re not feeling good about yourself. Like yourself and like your life — really work on that, Schwartz advised. You have to be the person that you’d want to meet.

“If you’re not a happy, positive, self-confident person, you cut your chances of being in the right space for the right kind of person,” she said.

Go to a therapist to see why you’re depressed; get a trainer if you haven’t been exercising, and visit a nutritionist to begin eating right. If you’re shy, realize you could be less shy.

“The idea is that you have to train for everything, and you have to train for love as well,” Schwartz said. “You can work on yourself. You’re not a finished product unless you’re dead.”

RELATED: Does dating feel like an 'unpaid internship'? Author's advice to find love

6. Take time to be by yourself.

It’s important after a divorce or any break-up after a long relationship to take some time to be alone, said Nicole Baras Feuer, a divorce coach with Start Over Smart in Westport, Connecticut.

“You will be in better shape to meet the ‘right’ person if you have time to heal, spend time alone to figure out who you are again, reflect on what went wrong,” Feuer said. “So you don't repeat the same mistakes over and over again.”

7. Instant sexual attraction often fades.

Most good love is a slow burn — it takes a while to develop, Gandhi said. She believes attraction is important, but you don’t have to feel it right away since that instant spark is more about lust and less about the stuff of real relationships.

Emotion can change and deepen over time so give people a fair shot, Feuer added.

8. Beware of the ‘opposites attract’ theory.

Opposites attract at first, but they’ll likely face major friction points down the road.

Like-minded people actually make for easier and healthy long-term relationships, said Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York psychiatrist. The more you see eye-to-eye on, the less there is to argue and compromise about.

RELATED: Opposites attract? Why you should date someone more like you


Become a ‘psychotic optimist’.

“That means you believe at any cost that you’re going to find that love; love is meant for you and it will come to you so that you just have to date like hell until you find it,” Gandhi said.

You have to embrace the process of dating, so adopting a “psychotic optimist” mindset will make it more fun once you’re convinced true love is really out there for you. Gandhi recommends dating three to five people at the same time until you find one to be exclusive with. Dating means “casually getting to know,” not sleeping with someone. She advises not having sex until you’re in a committed, exclusive relationship.

10. Understand your own needs.

Do you need a lot of space? Desire lots of affection? Have to know what’s going on all the time?

“Whatever your style is, it’s OK, but you need to know it and be able to communicate it to your future spouse. You can train each other if you both know what you need,” Tessina said.

11. Know the difference between fooling around and building a real relationship.

“You can mess around with anyone if you’re careful and have safe sex,” Tessina noted. “But before you bring someone into your life, or share money or living space, remember they’re bringing baggage.”

The person you’re dating is on their best behavior in the beginning, she advised. It gets worse later, not better, so get to know what’s hidden before going too far.

12. Stop pining for someone who is unavailable.

Make yourself understand that holding on to somebody who isn’t interested or isn’t there for you is harmful, and move on.

“You have to see that as a big dark black pit that you have to climb out of or you’ll be buried in it,” Schwartz advised.

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How to find your love: 7 old-fashioned tips that still work

It's time to admit that new ways of dating that did not exist in the days of our mothers and grandmothers inspire distrust in many. For some, dating applications seem simply unconvincing, and someone would like to meet their love by the will of fate, and not by choosing among unfamiliar candidates based on the questionnaire data. In addition, many are sure that couples who first met not on the Web, but in real life, are stronger. Whether this is actually the case is difficult to find out. Someone claims that there are more divorces in couples who met online than in ordinary ones. Either way, you may be interested in a few old-fashioned tips that still work and may come in handy for those who are in search of love.

Try to spend time in company

Spend more time with friends and acquaintances. This will take the pressure off your dates because your life will be filled with memorable events anyway. Practice socializing, discover your strengths, develop interests, and take up new hobbies. Do not focus only on love matters, allow yourself to see life in its entirety.

Do not look for dates

You may think that the ideal first date should be in a cafe or in the cinema, but your mothers and grandmothers can tell you about a wonderful meeting at the institute, at work, and even in the yard, which eventually turned into marriage and happy marriage. Take a closer look at those around you and who you can learn more about from mutual acquaintances before diving into the world of blind dating with strangers.

Don't focus on external demands

In the age of social media, looks can be more deceiving than usual. Do not get hung up on ideas about how you think the ideal gentleman looks. Instead of external demands, it is better to focus on the character and interests of a man. They can significantly increase its attractiveness in your eyes.

Don't put too much emphasis on words

Proponents of old-fashioned ways of dating argue that paying attention to words at the very beginning of dating can be unwise. At the first meeting, strangers can experience and say something completely different from what they think. In addition, you should not be discouraged by the fact that the man you like may not know your favorite director or yesterday's news. Those who believe in romance believe that it is acquired. It is more important to pay attention to actions.

Allow yourself intimacy when you feel like it

Psychologists recommend not to fill your head with "working" schemes that are full of sites and blogs about relationships. You don't have to wait a certain number of dates to decide on intimacy if you want it. And in the same way, you should not force yourself to get close to a person if you are not ready for this. Listen to your feelings and discard the scripts that self-proclaimed relationship experts churn out. Behind them, you run the risk of not considering the real feeling.

Don't rush to move in.

Many couples are in a hurry to combine life, but it is better to postpone this step until the moment when you are sure of your choice. Allow yourself more romance, expectations, the joy of meetings. After all, you are unlikely to wait until the moment when you wash the dishes together or take out the trash.

If you are not in love, go away

After a certain amount of time, you will have to make a serious decision. You may be infatuated with your partner's talents, admire his intelligence or social position, and be crazy about his advances, but honestly answer the question of whether you are in love with this person. Sooner or later you will meet someone who will make you feel that he is the one, the only one. So isn't it better to stop wasting time on a man who doesn't evoke strong feelings in you, deceiving both him and yourself?

Photo: Getty Images

Yana Demchenko

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how to find your other half

Are you looking for a soul mate and soul mate? Here are ten working rules to help you along the way!

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Everyone has a different attitude to the phrase "soulmates". Some people think that they are just people who look alike. Others are sure that we are talking about high matters: a soul divided into parts and living simultaneously in two people who will certainly meet. But whatever you consider true love to be, here are ten tips to help you find it.

Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Be yourself

True love is when you are loved for who you are. And if you hide it, then how will a man understand that you are his soul mate? Figure out who you are, never be ashamed of it, develop your strengths and fight those you don't like (after all, antipathy towards them is also part of you). Nothing new: first love yourself, and then others will be able to do the same.

Don't look for perfection

The clearer the image (blue-eyed athletic brunette under 35, works as an architect, loves cats and travel), the more likely you are to miss your real soulmate. More than once or twice we have heard stories of women truly falling in love with men who, at first glance, seemed to them completely unsuitable partners. Sometimes it takes time to understand: this plump (or even bald!) blond dog man is better than all the brunettes, taken together even with Tom Hiddleston.

Don't expect everything to be perfect all at once

We get nervous on dates and do a lot of stupid things. We tell ridiculous jokes, for some reason we begin to explain long and confusingly who Tanya was mentioned in passing, we show photos of pets for a long time in the hope that this will give time to come up with a good topic for conversation. It's okay if things didn't go the way you wanted. If you like a person, give him a second chance: most likely, when he stops being nervous, you will get the very date that you wanted.

Take your time

If someone's clock is ticking, then let him watch them. And you need time to understand: this person is exactly the one who is needed. Don't be afraid to go or go on dates or refuse them to think: what exactly do I need? There is nothing wrong with taking a step back. Maybe it is needed in order to return to the fork and go in another direction that will lead you to the goal.

Invest in yourself, not in research

Use every possible way to get to know yourself. Try new activities, study, travel, train. You see something interesting - do not hesitate to spend time getting in touch with it. In search of a soulmate, this works much better than trying to visualize the man of your dreams - if only because there will be more real guys in your life from which you can choose.

Don't follow your emotions

Chemistry and butterflies in the stomach are great, but they don't mean that you have a soul mate in front of you. Do not rush to declare someone a soul mate just because at the sight of this man, feelings are born that no other person has evoked before. Especially when it happens after good sex: the hormone of affection oxytocin produced during it is another traitor who has deceived more than one woman.

Look for someone who accepts you

No “if you lose weight” or “I'll marry if you love to cook”. You are who you are and should change only when you yourself want it. Do you have disagreements? This is fine. But when you discuss them, you should not leave for a second the feeling that a man treats you and your values ​​​​with respect and is ready to compromise.

Get ready to work on your relationship

This is common advice that never fails to work. There will be no miracle, magic is forbidden outside of Hogwarts: if you do not spend time getting to know each other, do not discuss the problems that have arisen and are not ready to make concessions, then true love will not have a single chance to bloom. And one more important nuance: you need to do it together. If you are wasting time and energy, and your partner is only watching this, then this is not a soul mate, but a freeloader who expects you to do all the work yourself.

Don't expect true love to satisfy all your needs

A soul mate is not a panacea that saves you from all life's difficulties. No one can be a best friend, a stone wall, a source of inspiration and support at the same time. The second person is only a partner with whom you will be better together than without him, but by no means a universal cure for all spiritual wounds, pain and disappointments. But there is also good news: no one has the right to demand from you to be a muse, a mistress, a mother, a housekeeper and a sidekick all rolled into one.

They don't look for a soul mate, they are appointed

And most importantly, never forget that in the end, you make the choice. Your willingness to continue matters much more than the recommendations of all astrologers and natal charts put together, and your desire to end a relationship is more significant than the predictions of even the most experienced fortune teller.

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