Once a long time ago a very wise woman told me that falling in love and being in a relationship is like finding and pursuing the perfect career; an investment of time and resources. She told me that if I wanted a loving, supportive, and meaningful relationship, I needed to be out there, (emotionally and literally), pounding the pavement and putting myself in a position to find the love I was looking for.
For a long time, I didn’t really understand what she meant. All of my life, I’d been told that love just sort of “lands in your lap”. I figured that one day I would wake up, get dressed for work, take my usual 6:30 train, and, whilst waiting in line for my morning coffee, the perfect person would just bump into me and sparks would instantly fly. Our hands would brush as we scramble together to pick up dropped work documents or the contents of my scattered purse. We’d exchange numbers and I wouldn’t be too scared to ask them to dinner (unless they’d ask me first). I’d be nervous about our first date but it would go really well and lead to others. We’d date for 2-3 years (maybe even break up for a few weeks in between until they realize that I’m the best thing that’ll ever happen to them…ever!) and then “boom”. Next thing you know, I’m eating at a romantic restaurant or sailing on a yacht in Belize (this would be better, obviously, but in this economy I’d take what I can get) and suddenly that ’10 karat Tiffany & Co’ diamond is starring me in the face, waiting for my tearful and joyous “yes!” (don’t forget enthusiastic, it’s gotta be enthusiastic). There’d be a beautiful-expensive (yes, I hyphenated this word on purpose!) wedding, I’d pop out 1 or 2 kids (twins, 1 boy and 1 girl) and we’d be happy…arguing maybe once or twice a year.
Oh, and dogs. There’d most certainly be dogs.
Every romantic comedy I have ever loved has told me this. Every fairy tale and Disney movie worth watching has told me this. Ever Hallmark card expresses this sentiment. Every wedding toast talks about those magical moments that just seem to…happen; appearing out of thin air when the world decides we are worthy or ready for love.
So what gives? How could all of these expectations be reduced to a personal decision? Can it really work that way? Can hard work really make this dream a reality? Is it time for us to get a new dream?
Now that I’m a little older and (hopefully) wiser, I think I understand this flip side. For those of us who throw up a little whenever we see a representation of so-called “unrealistic” romantic expectations, maybe love really is a choice that we must first make and then be an active participant in.
This wise woman was telling me to get out there and find it. Do things that make me feel good and confident in myself, things that remind others why I am a catch. Most importantly, things that remind myself of why I am a desirable woman to have in a relationship.
This looks different for everyone, so you must find what makes you feel good. This can be shallow things; make-up, new hair styles, new clothes, workouts, healthy eating. It can also be more mental; meditation and manifestation, reading books about relationships and communication, seeking spiritual guidance, making a list of things you’d like to achieve and learn in “love”. The possibilities are limitless!
She told me that with this confidence I would stop shying away from someone approaching me in a bar or on a train. I would stop hating myself because I would no longer continue to behave like a person no one wanted. I’d stop questioning whether I was worthy of love. With this new confidence, I’d be able to walk up to someone and strike up a conversation, ask for a phone number, and even make plans for dinner!*
*note: if you are a girl, there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with asking for a phone number. Why not? Ask yourself this “what’s the worse thing that can happen?” and then ask “what’s the best?” Unless the answer to the first question is that there is a good chance of being stabbed with a pocket knife, you have no real excuse. Rejection is a part of the journey…and is something you should welcome as you learn what you do and do not like.
This “Decision” is hands on. It involved taking an active approach to finding relationships (or just one, whatever your bag is); going on shitty dates, setting your standards, failing with grace and optimism, until you find someone who wants to be in the same type of relationship you are looking for. It means knowing what you want and making it happen for yourself instead of leaving it to the romantic gods. & finally, it means opening yourself up emotionally to the challenges and frustrations that come with “the biz” (biz = the business of love and dating).
This advice was invaluable to me. Being one who has experienced both sides, “fate” and “choice”, I can’t say that there has been a surefire formula for the successful and miserable (or successfully miserable?) relationships of my life. Of course, there are caveats and downsides to both avenues (desperation, clouded judgement, accidental pregnancies, and unexpected “monkey wrenches”) but I have to ask…in your opinion, what is the “best” way to find “the one”?*
*this assumes you believe in finding “the one”,which is whole different topic for another week! I guess we could substitute that for “the best way to find something long(er) term” and be just fine. Either way…
Carry on, Wifeys!
(from fate or otherwise)
Ms. Renai 🙂 ❤