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Finding love: Understanding what you need

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Find love & happiness

If you're drifting from one dead-end relationship to the next, some self assessment is necessary before you can find a happy, healthy relationship. Finding love can be a lot easier if you understand what you need to be happy.

Woman writing in diary

1Take a break.

You don't need to have a man in your life constantly. Take a break from the dating scene or just date casually without looking for love (if you can handle that). While you are without a boyfriend, take time to reflect and figure out what you really want from your next relationship.

2Accept responsibility.

Though it's easy to play the blame game when you are breaking up, be honest with yourself: What mistakes did you make in past relationships? Accept responsibility for them and find ways to avoid them in the future.

3Write it down.

The best way to get a clear picture of what you want (and what you have been missing) is to write it down. Make a list of the top 10 things you want from a relationship and rank them in order from most to least important. Star the dealbreakers. Tuck the list away for a week and then come back to it. Read it over again. Add to it or take away from it to better reflect what you want.

Now take a look at your most recent relationships. How many things are your list were being fulfilled? If your partner wasn't up to snuff from the beginning, you were doomed to failure. You need to make better choices.

For example, if you want children, don't date a man who doesn't want kids and hope to change him. If material things are truly important to you, dating a fry cook from McDonald's doesn't make sense -- no matter how cute he is.

4Love yourself.

"When you do not know what you need in a relationship, it often means that you have not yet gotten what you want," says Mary Pender Greene, a NYC psychotherapist and relationship expert. "My advice is to be your 'best self' first. This is a person who will attract what she wants."

"One of the biggest myths of relationships is to think that you must go out and look for what you need when really, you must be it first.

"Determine when and where you have been unhappy in your relationships. Do not think about what the other person did wrong but rather what part you played in these unhappy situations. Put your pride aside; see where you have been responsible and change your behavior. For example, ask yourself where you could you have been more loving and understanding. It all starts with you.

Expert Tips"The basis for all of this comes from loving yourself first. Loving yourself, or at least having a generally positive opinion of yourself, is an important prerequisite to having a healthy relationship with someone else."

 

More ways to find love

4 Steps to finding love

If love is in the air but it is not making it into your life, we may have the answer! In today's Daily Dish on SheKnows.com, Shay Pausa is joined by love expert Dr. Diana Kirschner, who tells us that you can find love in 90 days!

More dating & breakup tips

12 Signs you are in a dead-end relationship
7 Stages of a breakup

Dating again after a long-term relationship

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