“What I Wish My Single Friends Knew…”

Men and women who’ve found the love of their lives reveal what they learned along the way. Take their tips to heart and you might be the next success!

By Julie Taylor

f hindsight really is 20/20, then married folks have a lot of wisdom to impart about dating. Because their single days are behind them, these people have a unique perspective on love and relationships from which we all can learn. After all, who better to give relationship advice than those who have successfully navigated the dating trenches? That’s why we asked ten happily married people: Knowing what you know now, what do you wish your single friends knew about dating? Stop, listen, and learn.

Chuck your checklist
“During my dating days, I had a long list of requirements for any future mate. I wanted someone tall, Republican, with a master’s degree and a full head of hair. Naturally, I
“When I was single, I didn’t always enjoy the freedom I had. Now I realize what I was missing!”
ended up meeting a short, liberal guy with only a high-school education. And did I mention he was bald? If I'd stuck to the script, I would have turned this guy down flat. But his sense of humor won me over, and I agreed to a date. That was fourteen years ago—and we’ve been madly in love ever since.”
—Joy Frazier, 44, Bartlesville, OK

Enjoy your independence while you can
“When I was single, I was so worried about finding the perfect partner, I didn’t always enjoy the freedom I had. Now that I’m married with three kids, I realize what I was missing! Instead of stressing about finding a mate, I should have stayed out later, hung out more with friends, and just celebrated being a party of one.”
—Jake Fox, 32, La Canada, CA

Don’t try to make Mr. Wrong into Mr. Right
“I spent so many years trying to ‘fix’ the guys I was with. I always convinced myself I could make them change into who I wanted them to be. I truly believed if I tried harder, they would appreciate me more, drink less, or stop gambling. But when I met my husband, we just clicked. There was nothing major about him that needed fixing. That’s when I realized: The right person will never be an improvement project, but he will improve your life immensely.”
—Robyn Lewis, 29, Plano, TX

Never take rejection personally
“I remember I used to get so bummed when a girl would dump me or would shut me down when I asked her out. But once you meet that right woman, you thank your lucky stars that all those women in the past turned you down. If they hadn't, you might never have met the woman you’re supposed to be with. I’ve been married ten years, and I’d just like to say thank you to every woman who turned me down, because they led me straight to my wife!”
—Tim Beacon, 40, Hoboken, NJ

Travel more
“When I think back on my single days, I kick myself that I didn’t travel more. Even though I had the time and the money back then, I think I was waiting to take big trips with my future mate. Now that I’m married, I’m strapped with a hefty mortgage, and I don’t have the
Unfortunately, I initially met more duds than studs.
opportunities to travel that I once did back then.”
—Jim Edwards, 33, Boston, MA

Call in reinforcements
“When I decided to get serious about meeting someone in June of 2003, I sent out a mass email and asked all my friends to set me up with any single men they knew. Sure, it was a little crazy, but I took the leap of faith. I went on more blind dates that summer than I ever had in my life! Unfortunately, I initially met more duds than studs. But I didn’t give up. After four months, a former co-worker set me up with the man who would later become my husband. There is probably no way we would have ever met if I hadn’t been so shameless about wanting to be fixed up. Now, my motto is: ‘Ask and you shall receive!’”
—Kiley Jones, 29, Madison, WI

Don’t put your life on hold
“In my 20s, my favorite phrase seemed to be ‘When I get married…’ I’d buy a house when I got married. I’d start investing in stocks when I got married. I’d buy nice furniture when I got married. But I ended up missing a lot of opportunities because I put things on hold until I got married. Now, I’d just go ahead and take the plunge on things. You don’t have to be married to make grown-up decisions!”
—Jen, 34, Darien, CT

Make your move
“I came so close to not asking my wife out. I saw her at a café, and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. But I convinced myself that she must have a boyfriend, and there was no way she’d go out with a guy like me. But then I saw her smile at me, and I decided to just go for it. I asked her out, and she said yes. That was ten years ago, and now we have beautiful twin daughters. If I hadn't gotten up my nerve that day, I would have missed out on the best thing that ever happened to me. So just swallow your fear and make your move—or you might regret it for the rest of your life.”
—Jimmy Palmer, 41, Bentonville, AR

Don’t settle
“I spent five years with a woman I knew wasn’t right for me, but I felt like being with her was better than being alone. I even proposed to her. But three months before our wedding day, I realized I couldn’t go through with it. Even though I had invested so many years in our relationship, I couldn’t marry someone that I wasn’t head over heels for. Many people told me I was making a big mistake. But a year after I broke it off, I met the love of my life. I fell madly, deeply, intensely in love, and experienced emotions I’d never even imagined. We got married last June, and I’ve never been happier. If I hadn't gone with my gut and broken off my past relationship, I never would have known this level of happiness existed.”
—Jeffrey Adams, 32, Phoenix, AZ

Have your own life
“So many people’s lives revolve around their partner. But I’ve found that the best relationships are comprised of two people who have their own lives. In the past, I’ll admit that I’ve blown off my girlfriends for my guy. But now that I’m with my husband, he is totally cool with me hanging out with my friends or doing my own thing. That’s because he has his own life, too. So my advice is to maintain your independence, even when you are in a relationship. When you’re not joined at the hip 24/7, you’ll appreciate each other so much more when you are together.”
—Alexandra Sena, 34, Asheville, NC

Julie Taylor has contributed to Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and other publications.
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