Everything in your life has taken time to build and shape.

You’ve spent years getting the education you want, working towards a career you love, creating financial security, maintaining close friendships and family relationships, and excelling at various hobbies or sporting endeavors.

When you make up your mind to run a marathon, you spend months training and eating right. When you decide you want to get in shape, you hire a personal trainer and keep at it week after week, month after month, year after year. When you want to get that dream job, you network like crazy, practice interviewing, and write and re-write your resume and cover letters.

BUT I want love NOW! Immediately. Stat. Right away, please.

I’m sorry, but for the majority of us, finding someone doesn’t work that way.

You may have always fantasized that you’ll be crossing the street one day when you magically bump into the love of your life, but that kind of thing only happens to Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, and other such stars of flight-of-fancy romantic comedies.

Don’t get me wrong: I encourage you to be open to twists and turns and surprises in your dating and love life. However, I discourage you from relying entirely on this strategy, which is what a lot of women do.

And please, never, ever, ever assume that it should be easy or kid yourself into thinking that it will happen exactly as you want it to happen and exactly when you want it to happen.

Your dating journey is just that: a trip, a voyage, in which you experience ups and downs, trial and error, and a vast range of emotions. It’s a process, one that takes time to build and shape.

We live in a culture of instant gratification, yet we realize that anything of substance in our lives (career, education, etc.) takes time and energy and effort.

Somehow, though, we’ve filed love and relationships into the instant gratification category, in the same way we categorize, say, social media. While we can send a tweet or create a status update in minutes, if not seconds, we rarely will find instant gratification when it comes to creating healthy, happy relationships.

This may not be the answer many of you are looking for. There are plenty of sketchy dating gurus and websites doling out dating advice who will claim you can find love with little effort and a few secret tricks.

Be wary of these magic claims.

Approach your love life like you approach every other area of your life: with patience, energy, commitment, and resilience.

Lastly, find a mentor or coach or therapist or trusted friend to whom you can share your experiences and emotions; someone who can help guide you make healthy, conscious choices in your love life so that you ultimately are creating and building a happy relationship.

Do you receive my free dating advice newsletter? If not, sign up in the email capture box below to receive a free, 3-part video series on why you keep attracting the wrong men and how to end the cycle of dead-end dating and relationships. These videos will help you start seeing your dating and love life in new ways so that you can start creating the type of committed, loving relationship you’ve always wanted.

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