You've listened to a thousand pop songs, watched a hundred rom-coms and your Mum says the right girl is just around the corner.
But somehow, a lasting and meaningful relationship is still proving hard to find. That's because pop songs, rom-coms and yes – your own Mother – are all liars.
Here, we ask Virginia Sweetingham, founder of Gray & Farrar matchmaking service for some sensible, practical advice on how to find the right partner. It's unsentimental, but it might just help.
1 | Women are influenced by presence, style and a sense of power. The good news is, there’s no such thing as punching above your weight, as long as you have the confidence to pull it off.
2 | Men are looks-driven. No point fighting it. But successful relationships rarely occur where there’s a 10-year (or more) age gap. David Walliams, we’re thinking of you here.
3 | Are you a giver or a taker? Put simply, givers are glass-half-full people. Takers are glass-half-empty people. Opposites don’t work in the long term, so work out which one you are and look for a partner to match.
4 | You like The Pixies, she likes One Direction. That’s fine, as long as you share the same beliefs and values, and respect each other’s views. You know the sort of thing: children, politics, football team.
5 | Don’t start relationships at work. It’s tempting, because it’s easy, but that shared experience can often be the only thing holding you together.
6 | Everyone can have a great time dining at The Ivy, but can you get on over a pub lunch and a few drinks with friends? Try and get to normality fairly quickly and you’ll have a better idea of how compatible you are.
7 | Don’t assume a partner is a solution to your problems. Overweight? Unhappy at work? That’s for you to sort out, not your relationship.
8 | Don’t enter a relationship where you can’t be yourself. That doesn’t mean 24-hour Xbox marathons, but it does mean not pretending to be teetotal/a card-carrying member of Peta to make your new partner happy.
9 | Trust your instincts. You’ll know within 30 minutes of meeting someone if things aren’t quite right, even if all the usual boxes are ticked. These instincts are rarely wrong, so ignore them at your peril.
10 | Communication, communication, communication. Your partner is not a mind reader. Unless you’re dating Dorris Stokes (and she’s dead).