Let's face it, this generation could stand to learn a thing or two about real love, genuine commitment, and creating a solid foundation with someone.
While we're busy swiping right and left and engaging in this month's latest situationship, we rarely take the time to create authentic, lasting bonds with one another (Quite frankly that is rarely encouraged in our society anyway). Luckily for us, love expert, wedding planner, and author, Diann Valentine is here to help us maneuver through our chaos-filled dating lives and find the love we all desperately deserve. With her platform, she aims to show everyone still looking for genuine love that it is indeed still out there - you just have to be willing to do the work, and go the distance for it.
Whether you've seen her dropping knowledge on The Steve Harvey talk show, planning the weddings of Nas, Usher, or Toni Braxton (just to name a few of her famous clientele), or even hosting her new Bravo series To Rome For Love, love expert Diann Valentine is full of all the relationship gems you need to know.
From acknowledging the red flags early on in relationships, being realistic with your standards or how we view sex and dating, Valentine shows us a realistic approach in dating and finding love. But out of all the great love advice she shared, she continues to emphasize the importance of self-love and how the relationship with one's self, is still the most important.
"I believe that in order to find the love that we so desire, we have to make sure that we are doing the self-work on ourselves. Being the best version of ourselves is what is going to attract the love you want and need in your life"
Doing the work on yourself is the key to ultimately becoming the best version of yourself, which can lead to your lasting love.
In her new book Going The Distance For Love, Valentine breaks down 22 tips on how we should handle our own internal issues and be open to finding love wherever it may be, because it is in fact possible. Although it may not seem like it, in a world full of too many f*ckboys and too many commitment phobes, Valentine proves to us all that real love is still out there, we just have to be patient, be open and be willing to go the distance for it. Here's what else Valentine had to say.
What would you say to the women who have completely given up on love?
Never, ever, ever give up on love. It is the natural order of existence for human beings to be in relationship with one another. We were all conceived in love, and we all have an innate desire to love and be loved. It is the most beautiful gift you will ever receive, but it is important that you are ready to receive it when it shows up.
What should we be looking for in a potential life partner?
I think that checklists are important, but it is equally important to make sure that your checklist includes character requirements and not so much about someone's physicality. It should be easy to love someone who loves you and treats you well.
What are some red flags women should be aware of while dating?
(1) Men that do not keep their word and have too many broken agreements. (2) Previous spouses, girlfriends, and children's mothers that are still in his life but you cannot meet them. (3) If he has too many women that he refers to as his "little sister" but you have not met any of them. (4) If everyone knows that the man you are seeing is a hoe. In most cases, you cannot rehab a hoe into a husband.
"In most cases, you cannot rehab a hoe into a husband."
How can women "do better" when it comes to finding and maintaining healthy relationships?
The best way to find and keep love is to make sure you are constantly working to be your best self. When you are a woman that is confident and full of self-love, has found balance between career and a personal life, and has learned how to LIVE this life, she is naturally going to attract those qualities back into her life. Bad relationships are often a mirror reflection of our own shortcomings.
What should women focus on during their single years?
(1) Confronting past hurt and pain so that they can leave their baggage in the past where it belongs. Oh, and we all have baggage, just various versions of it. (2) Learning to love yourself and knowing that you cannot make anyone else happy if you are unhappy with who you are so if you don't like something change it. (3) Setting and reaching career and personal goals. An established woman is not looking for someone to take care of her. Rather, she is looking for someone to complement her life.
"An established woman is not looking for someone to take care of her. Rather, she is looking for someone to complement her life."
Is love really worth fighting for or should it come easy if it's real love?
This is a great question and I am asked this all the time. I do not believe that love is hard and requires that we fight for it. I once believed this until I started studying healthy, loving relationships and found my own. Love is supposed to be easy [because] when you have been waiting for something all of your life and it shows up, why should you have to fight for it? We only fight when there is an imbalance in the mutual desire for love. My husband is everything I dreamed my husband would be and more, and I love him more and more as each day passes. He is my best friend and loving him is the easiest thing in my life.
What's your advice for divorced women hoping to find love again?
(1) Heal your past hurt and pain and often guilt from your divorce. (2) Get back out in the dating scene as quickly as you can. Things may have changed a bit since you last dated but it's just like riding a bike and it will all come back to you. You might be older but so are the men that you will be dating. (3) Do not hold every new man you meet responsible for the damage that was caused my your ex-husband.
How should single mothers approach the dating scene?
Carefully. I do think that younger children adjust faster to new people in their lives but cautiously introduce them to a new love interest. Establish boundaries that will protect your child and make sure that anyone that you are dating is clear about those boundaries upfront. Do not expect any new man to be an instant stepfather to your child.
Do you believe in soulmates?
Yes. Absolutely. I also believe that you might have more than one. There is a time and a season for everything in this life and God may send you someone different for a new season in your life. Now, I am not saying that we all have a dozen soulmates, but it may be possible that some of us have more than one.
"There is a time and a season for everything in this life and God may send you someone different for a new season in your life."
How should women heal and eventually love again after heartache?
Confront your issues head on. Stop being in denial that you even have any issues in the first place. Seek counseling. Move on...
How do you know when you've found your life partner?
Also a great question. I am not a big fan of judging by your feelings because your heart can deceive you. I think it is important to know what are the qualities you were looking for in a life partner so that when you meet someone, you will not judge the fate of your future with them based on how much he makes your liver quiver.
If you have any questions that you'd like to have Diann answer, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question could be answered in an upcoming #AskDV feature and answered by the love expert herself!