Dating can be an unappetizing stew of disappointment, frustration, and dashed hopes no matter where you do it. But it can be all of that with a dash of psychosis and the desire to never ever hear the word "date" again if you're doing it in a place like New York City. So it's no wonder that, by the time a woman or man gets to be a certain age and hasn't found "the one" yet, he or she can be "commited to dying alone" -- as a friend of mine recently put it. However, there are some success stories. A friend of mine recently got married in her 40s. The media would have us believe the odds of that are nil. But my friend followed some basic -- yet kinda crazy -- rules.

Here are six ways to not let the dating game get you down.

Never get bitter. No matter how many stories my friend told me about awful guys who dumped her for baffling reasons, or who simply disappeared one day, or who turned out to be total jerkwads, she never let it get her down. She still considered love and marriage something she could have and would have. She still smiled, still laughed, and still flirted, and still dated. She still LIKED men.

Don't let them waste your time. That said, my friend gave guys a year at most. If it didn't seem seriously like it was moving towards marriage after that, she cut them loose no matter how much she liked them or how much they promised things would get serious soon.

Each man is a new man. My friend's motto all during her dating days was, "One man doesn't deserve to be punished for what another man did." No matter how egregious a boyfriend behaved, she never for a moment held that against the next boyfriend. That means even though she was cheated on in one relationship, she still trusted the next guy.

Keep trying even if it didn't work last time. My friend had a thing for dating guys long distance. She did it over and over. And it never worked out. Yet she kept trying -- and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought she was nutso. Yet the guy she ended up marrying lived in Italy when she met him online. She knew what she liked (foreign guys) and she wasn't going to let the fact that it hadn't worked out in the past stop her from trying that again in the future.

Never compromise yourself. My friend has had all kinds of guys try to change her over the years -- one wanted her to lose weight, one said she was "too happy," one didn't like her spiritual hippy-dippy side. But she never wavered in not changing what she liked about herself. Eventually, she found someone who loved it all. But even if she hadn't -- she still would have loved herself.

Don't feel rushed. Despite the fact that my friend was closing in on 40, she still retained an optimistic attitude about finding love and marriage. And she wasn't going to let society, her friends, or her family, rush her into settling down with someone she didn't feel right about. After each break up, she still felt like she had plenty of time. She knew it was about WHO not WHEN.

What are your tricks for finding love?


Image via Emily Rachel Hildebrand/Flickr