There are women (and men) out there who need to hear this: When people tell you that you’ll find love when you stop looking, they’re lying to you.
At a friend’s son’s first birthday party recently, I was chatting with some of my girlfriends about how they got together with their husbands. I can’t remember how the conversation started but I suddenly realized that all 4 of us involved in the conversation were only with the men we married because we went after them. We had to put ourselves out there in some way and make the first move. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize this sooner (heck I was in some of their weddings)!
From a pretty early age, women are taught not to go seeking love, instead we’re told “When you stop looking for love, it will find you”. I always thought that was bullshit because of my own experience with dating but I’ve always gotten crazy looks when I told people that. After talking with my friends, it’s clear that my experience is and was not unique. Many of us were taught that it was up to the man to initiate a date, a relationship or even that it was inappropriate to call boys. Times have changed and people are dating longer and getting married (if at all) later. Male or female, if you wait around until someone asks you out because you don’t want to be “looking for love”, you may be waiting around a long time.
Taking action isn’t being desperate
Why are we encouraged to put so much effort in other areas of our life but not with finding love? We work hard, study hard and play hard. But God forbid you’re a woman who wants to find love and you’re actively trying to meet someone. You’ll hear “Stop looking, it’ll find you”. What? How? Does Love have GPS or your cell phone number? Probably not. You also might hear “She’s so desperate”. The idea isn’t to go around throwing yourself at everyone you meet but you must open yourself up to the possibility that love is out there for you. Taking action isn’t being desperate. If you sit back and decide to stop looking, you are closing off a huge opportunity to get what you want. You are responsible for putting yourself in situations where there’s even a chance love could find you. You are responsible for projecting an attitude that says “I’m here. I’m ready. I accept”.
No one will love me because . . .
When I was in my early 20’s, I had a non existent love life. I had zero luck with guys and I always blamed it on my weight. I was outgoing and got asked out but would quickly shoot down anyone who showed interest because they weren’t fitting in to whatever criteria I had decided I wanted at the time. By the time I was 25, I was frustrated, sad and lonely. I had lost the weight but I hadn’t lost the attitude of “No one will love me because of my weight”. That’s what I was projecting to others even if I didn’t mean to.
The Summer of Yes
Out of frustration, I finally decided that I was going to have more of an open mind when it came to dating. I was going to be more proactive about getting what I wanted. I was tired of everyone around me finding love and still waiting for it to happen to me. I started to say yes when guys asked me out (provided they weren’t giving off a serial killer vibe). As long as they were nice, it was worth going on one date, right? I needed to stop pre-judging them. I went on some really good dates and some bad ones (one picked me up on a motorcycle in a thunderstorm, then told me 5 minutes into dinner that he tried to kill himself after his last girlfriend dumped him – ahh, red flags everywhere!). I call this period of time my Summer of Yes.
When there was a guy I thought was cute at the bar, I started to be the one to show interest instead of waiting for him to do something about it. At the end of one night, I told one man I had my eye on: “This is the time of the night when you ask for my phone number”. He laughed, seemed a little surprised but he took it and he called. And we dated for awhile. Was I nervous putting myself out there like this? Hell yes! But my strategy of waiting for the right person to come along wasn’t working – I had to change my approach. What’s interesting, is that after a while of taking action and being open to people I normally wouldn’t have been interested in, I started to get a lot more attention. Instead of putting out “No one will love me because of my weight”, I had started to put out “I’m here. I’m ready. I accept.” and others could see that so they were attracted to my energy.
Come back here and kiss me
By the time September of that year rolled around, I had done more dating than ever before in my life. I was sending a beacon out into the universe telling it that I was ready for love. I went stag to a wedding in early September and there was a cute boy at my table. I managed to get his phone number early on in the day because some of us were going to carpool downtown after the wedding was over. We said goodbye at the end of the night and I told him “We should hang out sometime”. He agreed but we left it at that. He drove away and I began to walk home. I thought he was interested but just shy and I realized that if I didn’t let him know that I was digging him, I may or may not hear from him. What did I have to lose? Nothing. I pulled out my phone, dialed his number and when he answered I said “I think you should come back here and kiss me”. There was a pause (which was only a second but felt like three minutes) and then he said “Where are you?”. I told him where I was, he came back, he kissed me and we’ve been together ever since. That was close to 10 years ago. I’m so glad I had the guts to do that – he’s admitted that while he thought I was cute, he had had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t ready to take initiative himself. He never would have called if I didn’t do something about it.
I know the only reason we met was because I had opened myself up to the possibility of meeting someone. I thought I was open to it before I went on this active quest to date as much as possible (even those that I didn’t think I was interested in) but I was sitting back waiting for others to make the move. It didn’t matter that I was social and outgoing, because I wasn’t taking an active interest in anyone, the universe thought I was fine with the way things were.
You have to go to the ball
Do you need to go out and ask out every guy you meet? No. But if what you are doing right now isn’t helping you meet people, you need to make a change. You need to get out, talk to more people, ask people out if they’re not asking you and if you don’t have anyone to go out with, go alone. I ended up going to concerts alone, went out for a drink alone, sat in coffee shops alone and as uncomfortable as it was at first, I did end up meeting people. And it got easier.
I know it’s naive to think that everyone can and will find romantic love. I’m not saying that it will happen for everyone. But you’re a lot more likely to find it if you put a little effort in. If you don’t think you will ever find love, guess what? You are right. Whatever you believe will become true for you.
If you’re sitting at home wondering where Prince Charming (or Princess Charming) is, I’ll tell you where he is. He’s at the fucking ball. If Cinderella didn’t go to the ball (and lost her slipper), she would have never met him.
The Time is Now
And if, as you are reading this, you are thinking of all the things that are holding you back from loving now, dating now, being happy now? Your weight? Your hair? Your income? Your past baggage? All of that is a story you have been telling in order to keep yourself from being and feeling vulnerable. You deserve love and can find love right now. Not when things are perfect (because there is no such thing). And if you are someone who has been in love and had their heart broken? Then it’s even more important to take action. When we’ve been hurt we put up walls that no one can climb over. How can love find you if you’re blocking it with a barrier?
To sum up a really long post: I’m not saying you need a Prince Charming. Hell, some of us don’t even want one. But if you want one, you deserve one and you need to take some ownership in your love life and make it happen. You have to welcome love in by taking active steps towards it. Love will only find you if you let it in. Let it in by showing others that you are here, you are ready and you accept.
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This is such a beautiful post, Andrea! I actually just got out of a three-year relationship this year, and at first, I honestly thought I was going to disagree with your post because of the title. I thought I wasn’t actively looking for love after that break-up, but in a way, I realize I was just open to it! Not wildly seeking it, but definitely making myself open to what- (and who-) ever came along. I’m not saying I’m head-over-heels, but I met an amazing guy just following my passions and eagerly seeking new and exciting experiences. I found someone and had an instant connection with him because we share so many of the same interests/passions. So thanks for this message—you don’t have to necessarily be seeking that “prince charming,” but if you do what you love, that shared love just may bring you someone. 🙂
Thank you Natalie! I’m so glad you’ve found someone whose company you enjoy! Being open to love (or anything else in life) is the only way to get it (if that is what you want) and clearly you are choosing to project that you are worth it and open to it.
Love, love, love this Andrea! I admit that for many years I was one of those that felt that love would find me if I just stopped looking. In my case I felt that “looking for love” made a gal seem desperate. And that was not and is not who I am. But that being said one does most certainly have to put themselves out there and let the men know that they are interested. Yes, times have changed and it is much more acceptable for women to do this. And I love your phone call to come back and kiss you. Dang…I may just have to steal that idea!
Kendra, thank you! I worried about appearing “desperate” at times too – I think many women have that fear when it comes to love and dating. But if what we’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to reasses. There is always chance for rejection (and reinforcement of the feeling of desperation) but if you don’t risk rejection occasionally, you may not even get an opportunity! Feel free to use my “come back and kiss me” method. 🙂 I have a feeling it works more often than not!
I couldn’t agree with you more! People are so afraid of failure, and I think this is what drives them to want to believe that love will simply find them. There’s more I’d like to add – even when you find love, you’ll have to constantly be looking for it. Love isn’t a given and you’ll need to keep it alive by doing for each other and investing in each other, or you can lose that love…
So very true Menucha! I think people think once they have love it will always be there waiting for them. You have to nurture it like anything else in life that you want to grow – plants, children, careers and yes even love! All need care, attention and patience. I feel very lucky that I still have great love with my husband 10 years after getting together but we both work at staying connected to each other when life gets busy. You are so correct – we do need to invest in love to continue to see returns!
I agree, many men these days want a bold and confident woman that knows what she wants and when she wants it. Going after what you want shows them you can hold your own.