Valentine’s Day can be a very lonely time. We have been ingrained since grade school – with all those tiny heart-shaped candies and cards — to expect a burst of connection and love.

Instead, here we are disappointed and alone again on V Day. But here’s the good news: Starting right now you can turn this state of affairs completely around. At this moment your chances of meeting the love of your life are better than ever.

The recession has created a boom in online dating — there are more potential partners out there than ever before. For example, showed a 22 percent increase in registrants last December, while memberships were 20 percent higher. In fact, more than 20 million people are now using online dating in the United States. You have a lot of partners to choose from.
So this Valentine’s Day, start with these 10 dating tips adapted from my new book, “Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love.”

1. Prioritize finding love.

Imagine if you didn’t have a job and needed money. You would spend hours posting and searching sites like; scanning the want ads; calling recruiters; and asking your friends. In contrast, despite being alone, finding love ranks pretty low on your to-do list. You work, run errands, answer some emails, call your friends, watch your favorite show and maybe spend 15 minutes browsing your online dating site. Yet study after study has shown that relationships are treasured above all else when we reflect on what has meant the most in our lives. So make finding love a top priority.

2. Work two online dating sites.

To get the most of your online dating experience, you’ll need to generate a lot of matches and expect to go through a large number of guys. Become a paid subscriber on two online dating sites: one of the larger well-publicized sites, and a boutique or specialized site that caters to your interests, or religious and ethnic background. Browse through different sites, reading the profiles.

3. Your online photo needs to pop.

Throw out your old photo and profile. Have a friend who is a good photographer take 100 headshots of you in order to get one that looks especially warm, attractive and inviting. Get some opposite-sex friends to help you pick out the best photo and work on your profile.

4. Your screenname and profile need to be unique.

To stand out from all the other women out there, your screenname, headline and profile have to be real, upbeat and clever representations of who you are. Research by signing on as a guy to one of the larger online dating sites and taking notes. Then, ask each of your two best friends to write up a description of you, highlighting your unique and wonderful qualities. Once you’ve completed these two tasks, you’ll be ready to write an optimal screenname and profile that is 100 percent you and stands out.

5. Go where the odds are good.

Sign up for two ongoing classes/activities that interest you that have lots of potential partners in them. For example: finance, investing and leadership at your local college, rock-climbing and golfing, snowboarding, dancing, hiking and wine tasting are great for meeting men.

6. Meet new people.

Find and say hello to three new men every day. Assuming you are in a safe or public place, make eye contact, smile, say ‘Hi,’ or ask for some help. If you don’t encounter a lot of men in your daily routine, vary it. Start with saying hello to the less threatening types and work your way up to the ones who are “out of your league.” You will be surprised how receptive the hotties can be.

7. Date against type.

Most people do not find love with the type of person they imagine for themselves. The guy who wants only a petite blonde winds up with a brainy brunette. The woman who dates starving artists marries a rich, balding lawyer. Look at photos and profiles that you would ordinarily take a quick pass on. Try and experiment. You may be happily surprised.

8. Go for a second date.

Even if you are not exactly blown away by a person at the first date, remember to stay open. You cannot know what secret goodies are hidden in someone just by meeting them once. You have to let a potential partner unfold and show you his/her different sides. If there is any connection with this person at all, give it another chance. Love almost always comes in a surprise package.

9. Open the door.

If you do meet someone and have a really good time, send a quick text or e-mail the next morning to let the person know that the door is open to getting together again. Write something specific about the date that points to the connection between the two of you or refers to something you both loved. For example, if you went to a funny movie, write a message that refers to a joke you both enjoyed and add, “Let’s do it again sometime.”

10. Go on the dating program of three.

Date three men at the same time without having sex with any of them. By not seeing any one too often, you find the men who are really into you. You also build self-esteem and find men that are much more fulfilling. (You tell the guys on the second date you are taking it slow and seeing others. The great ones will stay the course.)

Using the online and offline meeting techniques we have discussed will net you a crop of people to choose from, which means you will be able to find at least three potential partners. So go for it! Now you have your 10-step plan. Most importantly, commit to the first step and make this work Priority 1 in your life. Chances are, by next Valentine’s Day, you’ll be kissing the one you want.

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