I?ve been single for about 10 months following a breakup with the guy I dated throughout college and a year after (almost 5 years). After some time on my own ? including some casual dating ? I?m looking to begin a new relation- ship. I have no idea where to start. I met my old boyfriend at freshman orientation and never had to go through the process of meeting someone in a bar or at work or however you?re supposed to do it. I don?t want a hookup. I want a relationship that can turn into something more. So core values and family compatibility are a must. Oh, and I should mention that I have a very demanding job and not a ton of free time. Where?s the right place to meet the right guy?
-ISO Real Relationship Material*
First, congratulations on naming what you want! That can be a big obstacle for many young people who may be afraid to say that they do want the ?relationship material? rather than the casual stuff. I wish I could just refer you to the Real Relationship Material Shoppe (in Georgetown, naturally), but they?re closed for renovations, indefinitely. So let?s do some brainstorming.?A big part of this can be letting your friends and family know that you are looking for love ? networking is a useful tool. Also, consider branching out of your regular routine ? sorry about the lack of free time, but potential partners may not be visible if you are hiding in your cubicle. Take part in activities you like (seriously, only ones that you like, not the ones you think New Boyfriend might like), ones that allow you to be your best self. Of course you can widen your options with online dating, a matchmaker, or speed dating ? but in all those circumstances the advice remains the same: be yourself.
Finally, I want to dispel the myth that there is a ?right? place to ?find love.? Sadly, there is no exact location where this most precious of items is always in stock. You can ensure that you are in your own ?right place? by being open to the possibilities and welcoming of whatever form they may take (He may not look/act/work the way your fantasies have foretold ? get used to the unexpected). We do the most important work on ourselves, meaning that when the right paths cross, our eyes are open to see who?s right in front of us.
* Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your con- fidential question to email@example.com.*