Dating can be hard. Especially when you’ve been single for a long time. Finding the right person you can have great conversations with but who can also inspire a romantic interest. Making sure that in the long run, you’re both compatible and have the same goals. It can be challenging. Especially when it comes to committing to the relationship. You want to make sure you’re investing your time, efforts and heart into the right person. So here are a few dating tips you should know about that are sure to come in handy as you search for “the one”.

1. Be with someone who values communication

Communication is key when it comes to relationships. So you want to make sure you’re with someone who well always communicate what they are feeling and who won’t play games or be dishonest.

2. Be true to yourself

Don’t change who you are. The last thing you want to do is start a relationship where you’re already forced to hide your true self. Be proud of who you are and accept your flaws and your qualities. If the other person can’t deal with your true self, then it’s their loss.

3. Keep an open mind

We all have an idea in our heads of what our significant other should be like. How they should look, what they do for a living, their qualities, flaws and so forth. But let’s be honest. The chances of finding the person who checks all the boxes are slim to none. So, if you meet someone who you have a connection with from the very beginning but who’s not the person you imagined yourself with, that’s okay. The important thing is to keep an open mind. People tend to surprise you in the best possible way. As long as there’s a connection and all the important boxes are checked, then that’s all that matters. Right?

4. Don’t compromise

I know what you’re going to say: relationships are all about compromise. And that’s true. It’s important to compromise in a relationship so both people are happy. But not when it comes to big decisions that compromise YOUR happiness. If getting married is something that’s important to you, then you shouldn’t be with someone who doesn’t. Same goes for kids. Don’t be with someone who doesn’t want kids if that’s what you want. Sure at the beginning, you’ll feel like it’s no big deal because you found someone you love and that’s what’s important. But trust me, in the long run, you’ll only start resenting the other person. The right person who wants all the same things that you do is out there. You just have to be patient.

5. Set your goals from the beginning

I’m not saying that you should tell the person what you expect in a relationship on a first date. But when things are starting to get a little more serious, definitely start having those conversations. Tell them point blank what you want and what you expect in a relationship. I’m talking marriage, kids, work, long-term goals, religion… Basically, anything that’s non-negotiable to you when it comes to a relationship. Have those “hard” conversations at the beginning that way it’s still early enough to call it quits before you’ve gotten too emotionally attached.

6. Dating shouldn’t feel like a job

When you’re with the right person, it should feel effortless. You shouldn’t look at your relationship like a job, like something you have to constantly work hard for. Your relationship should feel natural, effortless. Like being with the other person is the most natural thing in the world.

7. Be open to online dating

Online dating has been working for a lot of people and we constantly hear about success stories. Everyone knows someone who knows someone that met their significant other through online dating. So why can’t it be you? Keep an open mind to it. You have nothing to lose, right?

8. Don’t fall under the pressure of society

Take the time you need to find the right person. Single people today get a lot of pressure from their friends and family to find someone. It’s almost like you have to marry and have kids by the time you’re 30. Dating has no expiration date. So don’t let the pressure of society make you settle for someone just so you’re not single. Take your time. The right person will show up when the time is right.

9. It’s okay to take time to grieve a relationship

Heartbreak is never easy. Whether you were with that person for 3 months or 3 years, it still hurts. Some more than others. So take all the time you need for your heart to heal. The last thing you want to do is make the next person feel like they’re the rebound.

10. Take time to get to know each other before meeting the family

When it’s time to meet the family, there’s always a bit of pressure. Will they like him/her? Will he/she like them? You don’t want to put yourself or the other person under the pressure of meeting the family until it’s more serious. So take the time to get to know each other. Ask questions. Get them to talk about their family. Talk about yours. Really get to know each other well, and when you feel like things are serious and there’s a potential that it could last, introduce them to your family. Not before.