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Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy, on how to find love in 2014


Bela Gandhi

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Updated: March 4, 2014 4:33PM

I founded Smart Dating Academy more than four years ago, and since, I’ve attended dozens of client weddings. Especially as we approached Valentine’s Day, people often ask me, “What’s the secret to finding happiness in love?” I’ve found that the common thread among people who found their partners was that they’d all stopped their self-sabotaging behaviors and started productive, successful behaviors. The “stop” and “start” behaviors were different for every successful person, but here are some of the big ones that may put single Chicagoans on the fast track to finding love this year:

1. Stop believing that you have a “type.” When someone says “my type,” I hear “my dating pattern.” If you have a type, you might just be doing the same wrong thing over and over again, with no success. Start casting your net wider, because your mate will come to you in an unexpected package — I promise.

2. Stop dating bad guys, and Start dating high GHQ men (high in Good Husband Qualities)! High GHQ men are kind, reliable, consistent and like you a little more than you like them. Bad boys are, well, bad. You can’t fix anyone except yourself.

3. Stop thinking online dating is for losers, and start getting back online the right way. You need great photos of you alone, headshots and body shots and a positive, memorable profile. There are 20 to 40 million Americans dating online at all times, and one in five marriages start online.

4. Stop “speed-dating.” Start giving love a chance to develop. Unless you see any deal-breaker behaviors (angry, abusive, addictive, critical), give him/her up to five or six dates to let the love develop. Don’t be too quick to toss high GHQ guys back into the pond!

5. Stop getting intimate too early. Start waiting until you are in an exclusive relationship. This continues to amaze me. Successful women wonder why sleeping with a man on the third date is a bad idea. Why? It usually stunts the emotional growth of the relationship. He should love you before hopping in the sack. Old school? Maybe. Good advice? Definitely.

6. Stop thinking butterflies in your stomach are the sign you should be looking for! Start knowing that it’s the sign to run. Butterflies are fear and anxiety, and your body’s way of saying, “Danger up ahead! Run!” I don’t know any women who married the guys who gave them butterflies.

Think hard about what you’re doing well and what’s not working — what to stop and what to start. If you’re not in a relationship and want to be, you can be. If you’re in one that’s not healthy, you can find a better one. I promise you, love exists for everyone. That’s the real secret.

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