Dating and relationships can be compared to buying clothes…
You go to a place where all the clothes are, and grab a shirt off the rack, hold it up and say, “This is the perfect shirt for me.” You pay for it, (sometimes too high a price), take it home, and then when you actually try it on, you realize it doesn’t fit at all, binds you in all the wrong places, is the wrong color, or makes you look ridiculous. Then you have to take it back to the store and hope there’s a return policy, so you won’t be out the money, even if you are out the time spent buying the shirt.
What you should be doing, is first and foremost, not shopping unless you have the money to do so properly; and then shopping at many different stores, in many different neighborhoods. You should pull five or six shirts off the rack, and go directly to the dressing room to try them all on. You should model them in front a mirror, look at them from all angles. You should also never ask the sales person how they look on you, because the sales person has a conflict of interest. You should ask your best friend how you look in them (because you know your best friend will always tell you the truth); thus, you make a decision based on several perspectives, and how it feels to actually have each of them on, and not merely an impulse buy.
This metaphor illustrates the basics of how to seek a romantic partner. The clothes, of course are the potential dates, and the salesperson can represent several things, like the person you’re dating-how they choose to represent themselves– which could be a misrepresentation, after all. Looking at the clothes from all angles is analogous to spending enough time with a person to know the many facets of who they are. The shopping at different stores means don’t look for your potential partner in one bar, or on one site, or at one event. You have to cast a wide net to increase your chances.
Primarily, you should be willing to take the time to make your decisions sound ones. There are those who are of the school of thought that “analysis is paralysis,” meaning, thinking our relationship decisions through is somehow a buzzkill. In my mind, analysis is meant to foster understanding, and if you dismiss, out of hand, your experiences, conflicts, needs, and standards, then you learn nothing. If your intent is to understand the person, understand yourself, and endeavor to avoid doing the same things using the same methods, while expecting different results, this is indeed the definition of stupidity. And the person-garment you chose will never be the right fit.