Dating is hard. Multiply that level of difficulty by 100 and you find yourself dating in L.A. — the entertainment capital of the world. With the daily influx of beautiful, artistic, ambitious, career-oriented people, it’s no surprise that meaningful relationships can fall to the bottom of one’s to-do list. That’s why I refer to Hollywood as “The Frontline of Dating.”

However, the weakness of the L.A. dating scene is also its strength. How many other cities can boast such an array of fascinating people? With personality traits, looks and interests to suit every taste, L.A. is an ideal place to date, as long as you know how to avoid the dating landmines.

That’s what motivated me to write the ultimate dating survival guide, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs.” Based on over 300 interviews, straight from the Hollywood scene, the book uses time-tested, practical solutions and real-life stories to illustrate the 12 dating time bombs that are fatal to a satisfying relationship. I knew that if I could help people date successfully in Hollywood, where every dating hazard is intensified, I could help them date anywhere, even in Santa Monica. Endorsed by Dr. John Gray, (author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”) my book frees men and women from fixing, saving and changing the people that they date. My “Dating Survival Tips” are designed to not only help you survive, but thrive in the dating world until you’re able to recognize the best partner for you.

Over the course of this column I hope to receive questions from readers as they venture out into the dating scene. Here are a few to get the ball rolling.

Q: Dear Rachel,

Since I can remember, I’ve had this vivid image of my ideal man in my mind and no man I date compares to him. My friends say I’m too picky and unrealistic. What do you think? Am I having premonitions of my future dream guy, or have I invented a fantasy that’s destined to destroy my love life?

— Where’s Prince Charming?

A: Dear “Where’s Prince Charming,”

First of all, don’t beat yourself up for fantasizing about your own personal Prince Charming — you’re not alone. As young, impressionable girls, most women had Cinderella in their bedtime story rotation at one time or another and can sympathize with your dilemma. However, Cinderella was a fairy-tale (not an E True Hollywood Story) and as an optimistic realist, I remind you that in real life no man or woman is perfect. On another note, it doesn’t matter whether the ideal man in your head is a fantasy, a premonition, or a side of your own personality that’s seeking expression. The point is, the guy in your head is sending you a message loud and clear — you need his personality traits in your life.

What can you do? Write out his best characteristics (e.g., confidence, intelligence, good sense of humor) on a piece of paper and circle the top three, then practice integrating these qualities into your own personality until they become a part of you. Once you do this, you may find that you no longer seek these same traits externally in a partner. But if you do, the icing on the cake is that like attracts like, so you’ll be increasing your chances of meeting a man (outside of your imagination) who possesses qualities you can enjoy past a first date. Your best partner still won’t be perfect, of course, but he’ll be tolerably annoying on his worst day and maybe even ideal at his best.

Q: Dear Rachel,

Is love enough to make a relationship work?

— Confused.

A: Dear “Confused,”

When I was younger, I used to wonder why Tina Turner sang the song, “What’s love got to do with it?” I thought love was the most important thing in the world. Over time, I’ve come to realize the deeper meaning of that song, i.e.: love and compatibility are mutually exclusive characteristics. You can love friends, romantic partners and even family members without enjoying their company at all. If your romantic partner has qualities that are deal-breakers for you, no amount of love can compensate for your incompatibility and the relationship will eventually end. A satisfying relationship needs love, chemistry and compatibility. In other words, you can love someone without liking him or her very much. So, no, I don’t think love alone is enough to make a relationship work.

Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice. She is the author of “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” which has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit: www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact: rachel@rebelgirlpublishing.com.