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    Finding Mr. or Ms. Right for You

    Excerpted from
    Hot Relationships: How to Know What You Want, Get What You Want, and Keep it Red Hot!
    By Tracey Cox

    Love at First Sight

    It happens in 5 percent of all relationships' and researchers say even that's usually more a case of wishful hindsight than anything else. Women who fall in love instantly tend to fall out of love just as quickly. Men who fall in love instantly stay in love for longer. Why? Because men, bless their little hearts, fall instantly in love with what women look like.3 Since physical characteristics don't usually change rapidly, he's happy for a while. Being more cerebral creatures, women fall in love with what they think a guy will be like-which is impossible to gauge within five minutes. When we discover he's not as intelligent/funny/charming as he looks, the feeling evaporates rather quickly.

    Love at first sight can happen because you're open to it (the timing's right) or you meet someone who on surface level appears to have the main qualities on your partner wish list. Some experts think it's simply our subconscious choosing someone who reminds us of someone else we've loved dearly (an ex or even good old mom or dad). You feel a sense of recognition because a smell, a memory, or a gesture matches one you already know and love.

    The brain is very sophisticated when it comes to recognizing familiar elements like the shape of a cheek or an elusive scent. When it spots one, it starts processing this information immediately, triggering a biological response in the body.4 Your heart rate increases, blood pumps faster, and you feel like you've just downed six glasses of champagne. This also causes the brain to release dopamine and serotonin which make us feel happy and emotional.

    Horrible thought, isn't it? You think you've met Mr. or Ms. Perfect when, in reality, you've fallen for your father's cheekbone.

    Choosing Wisely: Pick a
    Partner with Your Heart and Head

    No one likes getting hurt, and one way to protect your heart is to be careful who you give it to. I'm all for giving in to chemistry, but don't turn off your brain while you're at it. I don't care how strong the attraction is, if the person you're feeling it for is looking at you through bars, forget it. On those first few dates, be sensible, look for warning signs and get out early if you see them. Watch yourself as well-we're all cheery little optimists at heart and want to think we've found true love.

    Spot the loser

    People often say to me, "I always end up dating losers. But how can you tell in the beginning? Everyone looks good at the start." They're wrong. Most losers give themselves away within three dates. People look good early on because you want them to.

    Meeting someone when you've been single for a while is a buzz. Regular sex is blissful and you don't have to stress about what you're doing on the weekend because, when you're a couple, well, you can do nothing and still have fun and not get lonely. It's so easy to get carried away with the great feeling of having a relationship, people forget to take a good look at the person they're having the relationship with.

    Next time, pay attention. Most of the time, the signs that someone's a total loser are right there in front of you, you're just not noticing them. It's great to be optimistic, but you're wiser to take off the rose-colored Ray-Bans and pick up a magnifying glass in the beginning. Don't see what you want to see, see what's really there. And don't be gullible.

    For starters, you're asking for trouble if you date people who are unavailable. Just for the record, unavailable includes: married people and people who are already involved with someone else (living together, dating someone, or sleeping with the same person once a week). Also unavailable are people who are getting over someone else or about to get involved with someone else. In other words, anyone who has any type of romantic involvement with another person.

    How "in touch" with themselves are they?

    Are they aware of their character and personality faults? Do they know their strengths? They don't have to be wearing an "I walked across hot coals with Anthony Robbins" T-shirt to have done a bit of personal soul-searching. Have they sorted out the emotional baggage from childhood and past relationships or are they dragging it along behind them?

    Are they affectionate and able to
    express their feelings?

    In Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus John Gray is all for letting men go into their caves and respecting the right for people to remain silent. I say, if someone behaves like a caveman, let them be eaten by wild animals. The person who knows what he's feeling and shares those feelings with you is going to be a for easier to share a bathroom with than the person who locks himself in it.

    Are they honest? Are they a "good" person?

    Can you count on them to do the right thing by you and others? Do they treat their friends and family well? Do the right thing in business? Whatever your partner does to other people, he's more than capable of doing to you. That's why on-the-side people get really paranoid when their married lovers finally leave their spouses to be with them. They think, They did it to them, what's to stop them from doing it to me? (Nothing.)

    Are they an adult?

    A girlfriend of mine is 28 and acts 16. She's a scream as a friend but God help the guy who has a relationship with her. Does this person know how to cook, clean, look after themselves, pay bills on time, and manage their money? Are they mature enough to know they can't afford a Lamborghini when they're barely covering the rent? Are they responsible?

    Do they love themselves?

    The more they tike who they are, the healthier your relationship will be. The more hang-ups they have, the more you'll be used as their therapist. Needy, clingy, scared-little-mice people suck all your energy and confidence until you feel like a balled-up, soggy towel.

    Are they positive and happy most of the time?

    Do they look for problems or solutions? Are they a doer or a procrastinator? I once went out with a guy who was constantly depressed because of all the starving children in Bosnia. He thought he was holier-than-thou because they were never far from his mind. I thought he was a hypocritical son of a bitch. His fretting didn't help one iota-but a big tar check from his very healthy bank account might have.

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