For the past 10 years, I’ve had many ups and downs with diverse relationships but always felt like ‘finding the one’ was not in my cards. It was just not going to happen.
Getting married was just not something I felt I needed nor wanted. And if I’m honest, I was kind of scared of commitment and didn’t think I could find someone that I’d love enough to want to say ‘yes’ to.
Somehow, I went from saying I’d never get married to finding myself engaged and almost married in the span of a year. About 10 of my friends got engaged or married within the same year too (imagine the holiday planning stress)!
What was it that got me to actually say yes?
What is it that all my friends did to get past the honeymoon phase? Or even find someone, to begin with?
From my humble observations and experience, here’s what I say to friends that ask me:
#1 — Don’t look for it
Trust me when I tell you, I was really not looking for love.
I showed up super late to the engagement party the night I’d meet my current partner, didn’t drink, and didn’t even think of meeting someone. I was more excited about being with friends than meeting a guy. It wasn’t even on my mind.
Actually, the only time I remember really looking for it coincided with the year I had my infamous one-year dry-patch.
Don’t get me wrong — many people live in cities and have situations where the only way they can really meet people is online. You can totally use dating apps, and not ‘look for it.’ By that I mean, giving an air of desperateness — which most people are quite turned off by. Chat with the person, travel and visit them, do whatever you want, but just take it as it is.
Don’t become obsessed with finding love, because any love you could’ve had will slip right out of your tight grasp.
#2 — Be the most important person in your life
That means being selfish — in a very generous way.
When you make yourself important, you take care of yourself. You do things you love, and thus you make your happiness a priority, which it should be. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen when others speak and make time for others. It just means you should set your priorities straight.
I love myself. I listen to myself. Of course, I’m not perfect, but I value myself and so I always set aside time for things I love to do, things that make me happy. If I’m unhappy, I cheer myself up, as if I’m another person.
When you do not ‘love thyself,’ you dispel negativity. You say things that show your lack of confidence. You don’t do things you love, because you don’t make time for yourself, because you don’t think you deserve it, and thus you are even less happy.
Everyone deserves to be their own number one fan.
So, be the most important person in your life. Only in this way, will you be the best person you can be, and be ready for love to enter your life.
In this way, your heart and energy will be completely calm and open, ready to generously give and receive love.
#3 — Stay open
At one point in my dating life, I had a kind of mental checklist. In fact, it looked a little more like a 10-page risk analysis checklist.
And guess what?
I actually FOUND that guy. He ticked literally every. single. box. I couldn’t believe it.
He was wonderful. He was intelligent. We shared the same interests. It was like he could read my mind. For the first time ever, I thought, ‘Wow, I could marry this guy.’
Aaaaand we broke up a few months in.
Moral of the story? Sometimes, you don’t really know what you want in a partner. Rather, you don’t know what you need. And the beautiful thing about life is that your wants and needs are allowed to change.
Staying open means you don’t tell yourself limiting things like, ‘Ah, he’s 30 and I’m 31 so I won’t give him a chance. I just HAVE to date someone older.’
People can really surprise you, so give them a chance, even if they don’t ‘tick all the boxes.’
Say ‘yes’ first, and before the time comes for the big question you can always say ‘no.’
#4 — Find happiness first
I hear a lot of people complain about how they’re single and just can’t seem to make things work out in a relationship. They get very unhappy about it — which I can totally understand. It can be really hard to be alone.
As an observer, the problem I see is this: the person is unhappy because they can’t find love. I see them getting a little desperate and becoming obsessed with finding a partner. I need to get married by 30. I need to have kids by 32.
Their obsession makes them unhappy, and their unhappiness makes them more obsessed. It becomes a vicious cycle.
And if I can see that, people can feel it.
I was in a pretty low place for a year or so and I definitely didn’t attract anyone. In fact, I was excellent at repelling people — my boyfriend broke up with me, and to be honest, I would’ve done the same. I could barely handle myself — I was angry, stressed, upset, constantly bursting into tears, not taking care of myself, not eating, and it was all just far, far beyond his help and support.
As supportive as people can be, they can’t help you help yourself for that long.
People are generally attracted to someone who will lift them up, make them better, inspire them, motivate them. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you’re in a place like I was, you need to make yourself a priority, not finding a partner.
Take the time you need to find your happiness. Seek professional help, or take a month off and slow down. Change what it is in your life that needs changing.
It may sound cliché, but after working on yourself, love will come.
#5 — Be compassionate — always
I’m highly attracted to compassion.
The more compassionate someone is, the more I long to be in their presence — whether it’s a partner, a friend, or even a colleague or teacher.
I guess it makes sense since who really wants to be around a dickhead?
The moment I wrote that I realized, ‘Wait — but many people are attracted to dickheads!’
Thinking back to friends with dickhead partners (sorry), these people don’t quite realize that the person is a dickhead, or if they do, they definitely haven’t followed step 2. They didn’t put themselves first and love themselves enough to know that they need someone better than a dickhead, someone kind.
I’m personally allergic to people that aren’t compassionate. Being around them makes me a worse version of myself.
Compassionate people inspire me to be kinder, warmer, and what I think is a better version of myself. I LOVE being around them, in part because I love how I become around them.
Seriously, don’t settle for anyone who has no compassion in their life. They’ll slowly bring you down with them, and you won’t even notice it.
So here I am, a few months away from getting married, after years of believing I’d never do it. After years of not caring if I ended up ‘forever alone.’ And when asked, here are the few things that I’d tell all my girlfriends and guy friends who are looking for love.
My main takeaway — and I guess this can apply with friends too:
don’t be obsessed with love, but be obsessed with selfishly loving yourself, stay open-minded and don’t create checklists, find your own happiness, and most importantly be compassionate.
Then, love will find you. ❤