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Well, the first thing to say is that there are no guarantees. No matter what you do, there will always be an element of luck in finding someone who is right for you.

But there are a few things you can do to make the process of searching for that certain someone go a little smoother.

Think about what you want

The best place to start when it comes to finding long lasting love is to think about whether this is actually what you want. Sometimes, we can feel like a relationship would be a great way of solving our problems and really help us to be happier — without realising that we’re not completely sure that long-term commitment is what we want.

It might sound strange, but deciding you want love is, in some ways, a conscious decision. It means acknowledging that what you really want is something serious and real — and being willing to accept all the challenges that might come with that. Relationships are great — they can be wonderful sources of happiness and stability. But they can also be hard work — they require perseverance and a willingness to adapt.

It’s worth thinking about whether you’re prepared to face both sides of things before going out and looking for someone — that way; you can be honest about your expectations and hopes from the beginning. You may not be totally sure — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But at least attempting to be conscious of what you might want is better than going ahead with no consideration at all.  

Think about who you want to be with

Unsurprisingly, it’s also a good idea to think about the kind of person that you want to find love with. This is easier said than done: it can be difficult to know what kind of person we like — sometimes, it can feel like you just ‘know’. But there are a few things it might be worth considering.

Usually, you tend to have more satisfying and longer lasting relationships with people that share your values. That’s the deeply held stuff that really makes up the core of who you are and what you believe — your ideas about work, leisure, money, religion, family and so on. Sense of humour can be a really good indicator of your values: what we laugh very often speaks to what we instinctively believe.

Having the same interests or sharing a physical attraction can make a real difference too — but when it comes down to it, values tend to be what lasts the longest. 

Don’t be too prescriptive

That said it can be easy to get too picky and specific about the kind of person you’re after. While having an idea of the kind of person who might be likely to make you happy is good, coming up with a shopping list of attributes and ruling out anyone who doesn’t totally match it can mean you end up not giving people a proper chance.

In the era of internet dating, a lot of focus can be placed on things like watching the same TV shows, reading the same books — and on the physical appearance of a person. But sometimes it’s worth keeping an open mind to the kind of person you might like. You may find that, once you get to know someone, you find there’s a lot more to them than you initially realised.

Be open to new experiences

Sometimes, the best way to meet someone is to meet lots of new people.

Creating an environment where you’re always doing new things and coming across people with your interests can make it more likely that you end up finding a romantic connection with someone, and it can enhance your life more generally too. If you’re having lots of fun and creating lots of new connections, your self-esteem and confidence are likely to improve, and, in fact, you’re more likely to become more attractive to other people anyway.

It’s a bit of a cliché, but try joining a few social clubs based around things you like doing. You’ll already have something in common with the people you meet – and, even if you don’t find a romantic connection with someone, you may just make some new friends.

While online dating can be a great way of meeting someone, it can be a fairly inactive process. It can also put a lot of focus on meeting someone with the specific hope of starting a relationship, which can create a lot of pressure for everyone. Sometimes, just getting out there and having some fun can be a more organic and enjoyable way to create new connections.

Ask for help

If none of the above sounds like it’s really going to be any help — or you’ve been doing all of it for a while with no success - it might be worth thinking about whether there’s anything you could be doing differently.

Sometimes, we get into negative patterns that we might not even be aware of. In some cases, this might be because we’ve had a difficult past experience that we’re trying to avoid having again. Or it can just be that the ideas around love we’ve developed over time without us realising are holding us back.

Getting an outside perspective on things can be a really useful way of seeing them from a new angle. And, aside from this, talking out loud about any problems you might be experiencing can help you feel a bit better!

Sometimes, friends and family can great for this kind of thing – people you trust who you know will be honest with you. Alternatively, talking to a counsellor can be a really effective way of getting to the bottom of any difficulties. Counsellors are very familiar with the common issues that affect people when it comes to finding love, and will help you think about any issues you might be experiencing by asking you about what you’re finding hard. They won’t judge you — they’ll simply listen and try to help you figure out a way forward.

Book an appointment

If you’d like to book an appointment for one-to-one counselling you can serach for a counsellor in your local area. You can also try out counselling online for free by accessing our Live Chat service.

Our partners at Marriage Care run specially-designed courses for couples thinking about entering into long-term commitment and marriage. You can find out more from their website