Dating expert offers checklist to follow before 1st date

Many thinking of love around Valentine's Day, professional matchmaker offers advice to avoid serial dating

Lauren West said she struggles finding the "one" even though she goes on date, after date, after date.

"You want to find someone that you want to be able to spend time with, like have someone there for you, and someone that can support you in a number of different ways," West said.

Like West, Ellen Morrow said her endless dates usually turned to disappointment.

"I just met people and went out on dates even if they weren't perfect or specific to what I was looking for," Ellen said.

Professional matchmaker, Stef Safran, said that's the problem with serial dating

"I think that there's too much focus that there's so much available for you as opposed to finding those, you know, basic criteria when you start that are important to you," she said.

Before starting to date, Safran recommends answering these ten questions:

1. Are you willing to commit?
2. What are your financial values?
3. Is religion important?
4. Do you want children?
5. Where do you want to live?
6. How do you handle conflict?  
7. Are you able to care for someone?
8. Do you like to go out or are you a homebody?
9. Do you lead an active or sedentary lifestyle?
10. Are you willing to try new things?

"You have to know: are you looking for a relationship and what does that mean to you," Safran said.

Whether you meet someone in person or online, it's important to find out beforehand or on a first date if they have similar values. If not, Safran says don't waste your time.

Safran believes too many women waste time thinking they can change someone. Thanks to her advice, Morrow is in a committed relationship while West is still looking, she's stopped serial dating and only spends time with guys she thinks are compatible.

While using the checklist is key, Safran noted the importance of the "eighty-twenty rule." If eight out of the ten items on your list are a match, chances are you may have found the "one."

It appears more people are looking for dates on the Internet, 38 percent of single Americans have chosen to use online dating at some point.

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