Find Your Soul Mate Online’s love expert and the author of How to Find The Right Person In 90 Days shows you how to find The One.

re you ready to get serious about finding The One? We’re here to help! We recently invited Dawn Yanek (shown above), relationship expert and author of our step-by-step guide How To Find The Right Person In 90 Days, to participate in a live chat with hundreds of Happen readers just like you. Read on for her smart, insightful answers to dating and relationship questions.

Q: What is a good strategy to determine if someone is the right person? Is there a list of “must have” and “can’t stand” questions, experiences and beliefs?
Dawn: This is one of the big things I talk about in How to Find The Right Person In 90 Days. Before starting a new relationship, it’s essential to take a step back from dating for a while so you can figure out what you want to bring to a relationship and what you really want in a significant other. There are great exercises in our 90-day guide to help you can figure out your core values, needs, what you absolutely need in a relationship and won’t compromise on, and some
Whether you meet someone online or out and about, be yourself and you’ll find someone who will love you for all your quirks—not in spite of them, but because of them.
things you could compromise on. So if you do your homework ahead of time, when you start meeting people you’ll know better if you have that spark of chemistry with somebody. Part of it is about following your heart; another part is making sure you don’t get swept away by the romance of it all and making sure you get what you need out of a relationship.

Q: What are men really looking for? I present myself in a ladylike manner, and things are great for a while, then everything seems to blow up in my face.
Dawn: Hang in there! I think all women have felt this pain in some form or another. You say you present yourself in a ladylike manner and behave in a way you think you should behave—there’s nothing wrong with this, unless you’re not being true to yourself and honest with the people you’re meeting. Don’t forget that whether you meet someone online or out and about, you are basically an advertisement for yourself. Be yourself and you’ll find someone who will love you for all your quirks—not in spite of them, but because of them.

Q: What advice do you have for singles over 55 who are anxious for another chance at love?
Dawn: My biggest piece of advice is get out there! It’s never too late. The 55-and-over crowd is one of the fastest growing age groups in online dating. There are lots of people out there looking for another chance at love. Go for it. Look online; go out with your friends; sign up for a new activity; network with co-workers. You never know where the right person will pop up.

Q: I really want to speed up the process of finding The One, so lately I’ve been dating more than one person at a time. How do you suggest handling this without upsetting one of the women that I’m dating?
Dawn: When you start to date someone new, you’re not focusing on the end result, you’re trying to figure out if you even like the other person. If you want, casually mention that you’re dating other people if it comes up in conversation. Unless you have had the talk about exclusivity, assume that you’re both dating other people. If you decide you’re ready for sex, you should absolutely have that conversation about whether you’re both exclusive and what it means to both of you. That could change whether or not someone will cross that line. The important thing is not to misrepresent yourself—just have fun, figure out if you like each other, then make the decision and have the talk.

Q: How do you know when you are totally ready for a new relationship?
Dawn: It’s easy to obsess about whether you’re ready for a relationship, especially after a bad breakup or something's gone wrong, but sometimes you can worry too much about it and it can become intimidating. It’s important to take a break and take inventory of your past relationships—what went wrong, what was good, and what you're bringing to a relationship in general. And know that you can set aside any bitterness and bad feelings and be open to something new. Remember that everybody has the same fears about dating again. The important thing is to feel them and move on. Sometimes the best way to get over a past relationship is to start dating again and meeting new people.

Q: What are the tell-tale signs that someone is genuinely interested in you?
Dawn: If you’re together in person, you can look for body language clues. People who are attracted to each other exhibit what experts call submissive behavior. In the animal kingdom, animals do this to show that they’re not threatening to their mates. And humans basically do the same thing. Some of these behaviors are lifted shoulders, an inward rotation of the feet, showing your palms. These are all signs that you’re not threatening, that you want the other person to approach. Of course if we’re not talking body language but signs of attractions, then is this person getting closer to you, is this person calling you? These are all symbols of obvious attraction that I probably don’t need to tell you.

Q: What are your suggestions for writing a good headline that’ll attract my soul mate?
Dawn: I would say be as unique and specific as you possibly can. If you go online and look around you’ll see so many of the same headlines. You’re a nice guy looking for a nice girl. You’re a nice girl looking for a nice guy. Yeah? Who isn’t? But when you add specific
Try some practice emails and have a friend read them and tell you what they think—your friends can be your best allies in the dating world.
aspects of your personality to your headline,you will stand out from everyone else. That's what’s going to make people want to click on your profile.

Q: What are some danger signs that someone’s not being authentic? How do you protect yourself if you decide you’re not interested?
Dawn: I think it’s really, really important to trust your gut. Whether you meet somebody online or offline, all you really know is what the other person tells you. So you have to have numerous conversations before you know if you can trust this person. One of the big warning signs is inconsistency. Do you notice a difference in what this person says from one conversation to the next? Is the person saying he’s a Ph.D. but has absolutely no grammatical skills? Is this person secretive when you ask a direct question? These are things you want to look out for. If you feel at all unsafe or that this person isn’t trustworthy, move on. End of story.

Q: I am so much better in person than writing emails to people I don’t know. How do I get past this stumbling block so I can find the right person?
Dawn: I would say practice makes perfect. Try practicing some emails, have a friend read them and ask what they think of them—your friends can be your best allies in the dating world. Once you’re ready, start a conversation online, then transition to phone conversations sooner rather than later, and you can get to know somebody there.

Q: Why do women want the “bad boy” versus a sensitive guy?
Dawn: In my experience, women don’t actually want a real bad boy. They want a guy who’s really a big softy at heart, but maybe who’s a little bit of a challenge. You should retain a sense of slight mystery and spontaneity and make sure you don’t just become “one of the girls.” This isn’t to say you should play games. Hang in there—the right woman will come along.

Q: I met someone who is just getting over a relationship. She hints that she might want to be just friends. Is it best that I don’t put effort or any hope into her being The One?
Dawn: See where it goes. If you’re having conversations, and things seem to be progressing, that’s a good thing. She might just be scared of getting involved again. If she continues to say, “We’re just good friends,” that may be a hint—sometimes women view that excuse as a way of letting men down easy. You can ask her directly, and tell her you want to know where things stand as you have romantic feelings for her.

Q: I want to meet my match, but how do I get over my shyness about meeting girls?
Dawn: Studies show that about half the population of America consider themselves shy, so know that you’re not alone. I’m really a big believer in practicing. The more you do something, the less afraid of it you’ll be. Go out with your friends, without worrying about meeting someone. Go have fun, and that in itself will take the pressure off. Go out with a single friend and talk to different groups of women, suggest a pick-up line or go talk to somebody. The important thing is to have fun and see what happens. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

Q: How do you know when it’s the right time to have “the talk” about being exclusive?
Dawn: Most experts will say not to have “the talk” before a few months. You’ll know the time is right when the person is the one you want to go out with Friday and Saturday nights. You get butterflies in your stomach thinking about that person, and they feel that way about you. You should have “the talk” when you know that you don’t want to see anyone else. Once you are exclusive you will gain a different level of intimacy and trust, and that’s what relationships are all about. Good luck!

In addition to How to Find The Right Person In 90 Days, Dawn Yanek is the author of Women’s Best Kept Secrets and is a frequent commentator on relationships for MSNBC, Fox News, E! and VH1.
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