What do you want from your relationship?

rose flower detail with droplets macro shot

Part two in our Time to Shine Online Dating series.

rose flower detail with droplets macro shotI am dying to know how you got on with the homework from supersizing your self-love.

What’s that I hear? You didn’t have time to do it? It’s OK, forgive yourself – that’s an important part of being your own best friend!

You can always start from today. I have my own self-love check list which I look at regularly to make sure I’m staying on track, which I would like to share with you here:

Self-love check list

  • Master the negative voice in your head and replace with a relentlessly positive one, be your new best friend
  • Remind yourself why and how you’re so great
  • Take care of yourself – exercise, eat well, follow good hygiene, leave affirmations on post-it notes around the bedroom, drink lots of water, etc.
  • Do good deeds whenever you can
  • Remember to be grateful for what you have
  • Forgive yourself when you screw up and move on
  • Praise yourself when you’ve done something well
  • Remember how you felt when you were at your most self-confident and return to that feeling whenever you need a boost

Fast-track to success

I love me pictureOnce you’re on track with your self-esteem, we are ready to move on to the next phase. Today my goal is to help you think about online dating in a new way that will help you stop romanticising it and take a more business-like approach.

I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t sound fun and it certainly doesn’t sound very romantic…

What I’m actually aiming to do is fast-track you to finding relationships that work for you and prevent you from wasting time and energy with people who are wrong for you. That sounds more like it, doesn’t it?

Are you planning to leave things to chance?

If you are anything like I was when I started out online dating, you probably have got as far as wondering which pictures you might choose and agonising over what to write on your profile.

You will put them on the first dating site you hear about and wait for the messages to come rolling in. Am I right?

READ  School reunions

That was me at the beginning – I had no goal in mind and no real idea of what kind of man I was looking for. Instead of being proactive in my search for love online, I allowed myself to be carried along, thinking it was romantic and therefore the best way to find love.

Let’s save the romance for the right person

woman in a brown dressOne day the penny dropped after I came home from another tacky date. I wouldn’t ever approach my career using this laissez-faire attitude. By using romance as an excuse, I was leaving my future relationship happiness to chance.

From that moment on, I completely changed my approach to finding love online. I would take control by doing the same things I did when looking for a new job.

Unromantic? Yes. Sensible? Yes. Ultimately successful? Absolutely, yes. My advice to you would be to leave the romance for when you find an awesome person worth being romantic with.

Today, I want you to focus on exploring what your ideal relationship looks like and get you to write it down and then visualise it so that you are clear about what you are aiming for.

In our love lives we attract what we think we deserve. What do you think you deserve? After supersizing your self-love last week, I hope you know just how much you deserve.

The more you believe you deserve from a partner, the more you can expect. Establishing from the get-go the boundaries of what you will and won’t accept in a relationship is crucial.

Mini exercise – define your ideal relationship

Take a bit of time to answer the following questions writing down your answers. Don’t let anything hold you back at this stage.

In my ideal relationship:

1) I value and expect…
trust, loyalty, patience, kindness, spontaneity…

2) I prioritise…
reliability, fun, financial stability, harmony, excitement…

3) I am happy when…
I’m cared for, I’m appreciated, I feel respected, I’m listened to, I can share problems, my partner actively supports my dreams and goals…

4) I love it when…
I am treated to something nice on special occasions, the DIY gets done, I don’t have to ask twice, I get cooked for…

READ  Dumped on Valentine's Day

5) I would be willing to put up with…
not always being the top priority (for example if children are involved or work is particularly stressful), rows about the small things from time to time…

6) But I would consider these deal breakers…
Never being a priority, not being trusted, being put down in front of others, a lack of respect, not sharing the same values when it comes to money…

7) My goals for my future relationship looks like this…
We will live together, we will discuss our issues when they come up, we will not sweat the small stuff and share the big stuff, we will actively support each other…

woman in a brown dressHow did you find that? Did it come easily or did you struggle to articulate exactly what makes up the ideal relationship for you?

By doing this exercise, you have created your own personal guide to help you determine whether somebody is right for you or not. Exciting, huh?

This will keep you on the straight and narrow and save you from being distracted by the wrong ones as you continue on your online dating journey.

One last thing

Take a minute to write down all the things that might be holding you back from securing your ideal relationship.

Have you written down things like the following?

  • I am too old to find love online
  • I had my big love and it failed, I won’t find love again
  • All the good ones are married
  • I don’t feel attractive enough to go out and find someone who matches up to this
  • They will be out of my league
  • I don’t deserve someone like that
  • I won’t have the energy to go out and look for this relationship
  • I don’t have time to devote to finding this relationship

I’m hoping that after last week’s look at ramping up your self-love, you won’t have included any of the above. However, working on your self-love is an ongoing process so you may well have gone for these sorts of reasons.

READ  Leaving a partner you love

Limiting beliefs

woman in a brown dressWhat I want to clarify for you here is that all the ‘reasons’ outlined above are not actually reasons, but what life coaches calllimiting beliefs.

The sad thing about limiting beliefs is that they are ideas that are believed by you (for whatever reason) that hold you back from living your life to the fullest.

The exciting thing about them is that they are just ideas believed by you (for whatever reason) and you totally have it within your power to turn them on their head and transform them into empowering beliefs.

It takes practice and a bit of patience while you search for evidence to back up your newly revamped beliefs, but it is so worth it.


Take the time to work through all the reasons you listed above and rewrite them as empowering beliefs. Then write alongside your new beliefs examples of evidence to back it up.

For example:

Old limiting belief: I am too old to find love online.

New empowering belief: I am the perfect age to find love online.

Examples of evidence: Plenty of people find love online in their 40s, 50s and upwards and I have found articles telling their stories. I have found websites dedicated to women of those ages. I have found forums and online networks where women of those ages are discussing how well they are getting on finding love online.

Old limiting belief: I had my big love and it failed. I won’t find love again.

New empowering belief: I am looking forward to falling in love all over again with someone equally special, if not more so.

Examples of evidence: There are many stories of people who have lost the love of their life either through divorce or even death who have gone on to find a special love again. There are stories which support the idea that people who are willing to be open to the possibility of a new love, can indeed find it again.

Powerful isn’t it?

woman using a tablet for online dating

Back to Time to Shine Online Dating series:


Saskia Nelson

About Saskia Nelson

Saskia Nelson is London’s one and only dating photographer. She supports men and women to find love at all stages of their lives by working with them to create some gorgeous images for their online dating profile and by running a blog, which provides practical online dating guidance. She learned a lot about online dating from her own personal experiences, in her long and bumpy, but ultimately successful, online search for love. Happily, she is now settled with her long-term partner (spotted on Guardian Soulmates) and has two stepchildren (who are awesome). She is passionate about helping London’s single people to shine online.