WILMINGTON, NC (WECT)- Looking for love is never easy. You're probably familiar with the song, "Love is a Battlefield" and well, it's hard to disagree with the lyrics.
That's why you need to arm yourself with the right knowledge before you put yourself out there.
Whether you are in a relationship, or looking to be in one, there are some things we can all do to make sure we have found the one we are meant to be with.
Before you get into a relationship, it's important that you are happy with yourself first, because you should never depend on someone else to make you happy. Once you're in a good place, then you can begin to look for that special someone.
Now there is no magic formula, but Joseph Leblanc, who counsels couples at Delta Behavioral Health, has some simple steps to follow that will make our love lives a lot less complicated and a lot more fun.
Most importantly- at the start of every relationship, take your time. The beginning of a new relationship is always exciting. You meet someone you think is attractive, then they have a great personality to go along with that, and next thing you know, you can't stop thinking about them.
That's when we think our hearts are happy, but at that early stage, scientists tell us that love is all in our brain. When two people are initially attracted to each other, a chemical called phenolphthalein is released. We usually refer to this as that feeling of having chemistry with someone.
"That's what creates new love feeling, butterflies in the stomach, feeling nauseous at times, not being able to sleep, that's from that chemical. That also makes you overlook anything as far as red flags," said Leblanc.
Eventually your body will stop producing the chemical, but usually at that point, you have already committed to the relationship. That's when you might start seeing negative things you didn't see at the beginning.
"When people start trying to separate you from your support system, your friends and family. initially it might feel good because somebody thinks, oh, they just want to spend all of their time with me, but that can be a bad sign later on because when they don't want you to talk to anybody and they feel threatened by you talking to other people," said Leblanc.
Other bad signs? Early displays of a bad temper, someone who criticizes or talks down to you, someone who doesn't listen well or awknowledge they are wrong, and when you feel your needs just are not being met.
Leblanc recommends that before you meet someone, figure out what it is that you want in a relationship. Write down your goals, and have a clear picture of what you want in the future.
When you meet someone with a similar outlook, that's usually a good sign. However, keep in mind that its ok to have differences with someone. In fact, couples who do not have the same opinions and beliefs about everything tend to get along better in the long run.
"People try to find someone just like them. Normally you tend to be attracted to your complete opposite and there is a reason for that," said Leblanc.
Now lets say you've been on a few dates, you really like the person, and you just hope they keep calling. The best way to do that? Be yourself.
"You are going to know whether you are going to keep the person engaged if you don't put on a big show in the beginning, and you are more the person you are going to be everyday. If they are interested they are going to remain interested, if not, you know its not going to work for you."
If you are in a relationship, and past the "lovey dovey" stage, don't fret. Leblanc says it's never too early or too late to get some help.
He sees couples who are not married yet, and couples who have been together for over 40 years. The most important thing every couple should work on every day is communication-both talking and listening.