MANILA, Philippines – It’s safe to say that many men and women want to live “happily ever after” with one person for the rest of their lives.
But not all of them are lucky enough to end up with “the one.” Why? Because they are not looking hard enough, said relationship expert Maribel Dionisio of Love Institute.
She said that women, in particular, do not even bother to look believing instead that there is this one person who is meant for them.
“Minsan ‘di sila marunong lumabas, ‘di sila marunong mag-flirt with finesse,” Dionisio told radio dzMM on Monday.
“Akala kasi nila kakatok lang sa bahay nila,” she added. “Hindi, you have to create opportunities.”
So how can someone look for a potential partner without looking or sounding too desperate?
One can always look at the place he or she often stays, such as the university or the office. But those who have given up on schoolmates or officemates, Dionisio said, can turn to family and friends for help instead of going on blind or speed dates.
“Mas maganda ‘yun kasi kilala ka noong kapamilya o kaibigan mo, ‘yung mga ni-refer nila baka mag-fit kasi. It’s good to meet people through that system,” she explained.
After finding a “candidate,” Dionisio said one can agree to meet him or her not for dinner – but over coffee or dessert. According to her, a shorter first meeting will help break the tension – and may lead to more dates.
“’Wag dinner agad, kahit over a cup of coffee lang. Kasi baka after two minutes [di mo pala siya gusto]. Or pwede ring ice cream para after five minutes, pwedeng goodbye na.
“’Wag muna masyadong formal. ‘Pag dinner kasi ang investment of money and time napakalaki, eh hindi mo pa naman kilala,” she said.
It is after that first date, she said, when a person can decide if he or she wants to take it a step further.
The ‘M’ word
When a person has been dating for at least a year, the word “marriage” would naturally come to mind.
But not so fast, Dionisio warned: “Mahirap magpakasal after one year [in a relationship]. ‘Yung iba the first year pa lang of their marriage, nag-aaway na sila kasi magkaiba pala sila, hindi compatible.”
“Mahirap kung ‘he swept me away’ lang, pang-teenager lang ‘yun,” she added. “Kaya ‘di pwedeng x factor lang. It starts with that pero hindi pwedeng ‘yun lang.”
Dionisio stressed that marriage is different from a simple boyfriend-girlfriend relationship as the former also takes into account a person’s values, emotional maturity and financial stability.
How long does it usually take to know a partner’s true colors? At least two years, excluding long-distance relationships, she said, adding that this is the best time for a person to decide if he or she is ready to get married.
“Kailangan din the values are the same. ‘Yung pangarap natin sa buhay pinag-uusapan bago magpakasal. There should also be relationship qualifications, like fidelity. It’s important to know kung meron siyang history na he can be unfaithful.
“Is he responsible? Does he have a steady job? Napakaimportante noon.
“He should also have emotional maturity that time has tested. ‘Yung marunong mag-give and take. ‘Yung iba kasi give and give, ‘yung iba take and take only.
“At sa mag-asawa, dapat meron kayong something common, something that will connect you and make you strong. Kasi kapag ‘di kayo nag-connect, baka mag-connect kayo sa ibang tao. Affair ang tawag doon.”
Again, family and friends play a huge role in finding “the one,” so it’s best to seek their advice and opinions, Dionisio said.
How to ‘ask’
There are cases when all the checkboxes have been ticked but the relationship is still not taking off, according to Dionisio.
This is because as some men tend to be content with a “dating relationship” without tying the knot, she said.
So how can women deal with this? Dionisio said all they have to do is ask properly.
“Maraming paraan ng pagtatanong diyan. Ano ba ang plano mo sa pag-aasawa, anong timetable mo. Parang general question lang,” she said. “’Wag mong sisindakin na ‘ano ba ang next step natin?’”
“Sabihin mo, ‘Alam mo, enjoy naman ako na magkasama tayo. Pero ikaw, ano bang plano mo?’ But don’t push it.
“You take the risk. That’s part of it.”