If you’re unhappy in your dating life, even if everything else is going well for you — good health, stable job, wonderful friends — you may find yourself feeling pretty miserable.
I should know. I’ve been there. And that’s why I wrote my new book, How to Shop for a Husband.
If you watched me on the “Today Show” during my single years, you might never have known that my love life was less than picture perfect. I probably seemed like a sensible, smart career woman-and I was! As an experienced consumer reporter for many years, I knew the tricks of the trade and I was great at giving advice.
Only one problem.
I didn’t seem to know how to date.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Almost all my friends were in the same boat, as were many colleagues, relatives, and both my mom and sister. Too many of us look at love as something ruled by the gods, something that will happen when it happens–something you can’t control. Well, I’m here to tell you that although you may not be able to control love, you can help it along.
I can say this because after years of dating misery, I finally took matters in hand. The key for me was realizing that dating was the most important shopping trip of my life. And shopping was certainly a topic I knew a lot about. So I decided to approach dating in a smart, systematic way, as if I were making the purchase of a lifetime. Slowly but surely, and almost before I even realized it, I began to apply the rules I had learned as a consumer reporter to shopping for a husband. And it worked! I met a great guy and with the recent arrival of my second child, I can’t believe I spent all those years not knowing the how, what, and where of shopping for a husband. I wrote my book, How to Shop for a Husband, because I don’t want you to waste time like I did.
So, how do you shop for a spouse? Here are some tips from my book:
Make a shopping list. No kidding: an actual list. But make sure you are not being crazy picky, OK? One of my friends nixed a guy because he mispronounced the name of a street in New York City. Come on! Forget motorcyle sex, flashy cars and clothes, and concentrate instead on the stuff that really counts. Look for a spouse who is a classic: the equivalent of a little black dress. You want “PGHM” or Perfectly Good Husband Material (or Wife Material, for you guys out there)-not perfection.
- Narrow your shopping venues to the places that are likely to yield good dating prospects. eHarmony, of course, is a great start: it’s a niche marketplace that does the work for you. Target your interests and don’t forget to focus on activities that actually appeal to the opposite sex. Ladies: think flyfishing! And, finally, be sure to use word-of-mouth to let everyone you know help you find the love of your life.
- Read the labels. Thanks to the Internet, there is plenty of information out there on just about everyone you meet. Use Google, Facebook, and the more sophisticated background-check services to find out the real scoop on your dating prospects. And don’t forget to recognize the signs that a guy or a girl is a lemon. Seems to have no friends? Is disrespectful to waiters? Forgets every story you tell? Time to go back to the store!
- Don’t get scammed. Once you are in a relationship, don’t throw your common sense out the window. Remember that if you are in it for marriage, and your honey is seriously dragging his or her proverbial feet, let it be known that the relationship has an expiration date-and that you intend to honor it! And remember, if your date seems too good to be true, he or she probably is
As it turns out, shopping for the typical consumer goods — a car, a bed, a diamond ring — is really not that different than shopping for a guy. The laws of consumer behavior and protection really do apply beautifully to the dating scene. So, just remember, caveat emptor is the way to go — and you too will be happy with your purchase.
See you at the register. Ka-ching!
Janice Lieberman has been the featured consumer reporter on NBC’s “Today Show” for more than ten years and is a contributor to Reader’s Digest.
How to Shop for a Husband, by Janice Lieberman with Bonnie Teller, will be available mid-May nationwide from these great booksellers. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Powells, Borders, Books a Million, and Indiebound .