I’d love to meet the person who came up with the concept of the one because, let’s be honest, there can’t be just one person out there who is the perfect match for us. If that were true, then what happens to the people who have been married for 5, 10 or 20 years, and then their spouse dies unexpectedly? Was that their only chance at finding true love? I’d hope not.
That being said, I do believe in finding one partner with whom you intend to spend your life. I know it’s not easy, and dating can be frustrating, especially in our day and age. Old-fashioned courtship is almost obsolete; replaced by online dating apps and bar hookups. At first glance, technology may seem to make dating easier, when it fact, it’s making everything more complicated. Reminds me of Drew Barrymore’s line from He’s Not That Into You:
“I had his guy leave me a voicemail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine had one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn’t. And now you have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”
Yes, dating is hard, but we should be thankful that finding a spouse isn’t easy. Choosing the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is one of the most important choices you will ever make.
Why the search shouldn’t be easy
When you’re in a new relationship filled with excitement and passion, you don’t really grasp the definition of “forever.” It means standing by each other through life’s ups and downs: deaths in the family, moving across the country for a job promotion, having kids, and the list goes on. Most importantly, you two are a team and need to work well together. In the beginning, everything is simple, but what about 10 or 20 years from now? Is this someone who will support and stand by you through the hard times? Is this someone who will inspire you to be a better person?
Choosing your partner for the right reasons
The sad truth is many people feel they have to settle if they reach a certain age because everyone they know is already married, or they think, “This is the best person I’m going to find.” Personally, I’d rather be alone than spend my life with someone I can’t stand or who I merely tolerate.
How to rewire the way you look for love
When it comes to finding a partner, “You’re more likely to meet someone living your life than doing anything else. It seems simple and obvious enough, but it comes down to three levels,” according to Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman.
- Day-to-day lifestyle: From the time you wake up until you go to bed, there are always things you’re doing that give you the chance to interact with others. Once you open yourself to talking to them, you immediately increase your chances of meeting someone.
- Passions: Love working out? Yoga? Spin? Playing kickball? I’m sure there are others who do, too. There are plenty of groups enjoying the activities you love. Find them, join them, and mingle – you instantly have a commonality you can use as a starting point.
- New hobbies or interests you’ve been wanting to try: Want to explore photography? Hiking? Craft beer tours? These new groups will open you to new people and experiences.
Making the leap
Remember, there are no guarantees in life. You will never know they will be the one you’re with forever.
“Commitment is making a choice to give up other choices. That’s the deal,” according to Dr Scott Stanley, research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. “Believing that you might have found perfection elsewhere—if you’d only searched a little more—will make it harder to commit to, invest in, and be happy with the person you married.”
Even if it takes longer than you want, don’t be discouraged. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in New York City, it’s that you define your own dating life. Against the odds, I met my current boyfriend the old-fashioned way, during a night out with the girls.
The bottom line: be positive, but not delusional. Make sure your standards are realistic, and you aren’t basing your relationships on romantic comedies. Yes, it would be great to have a handsome stranger catch your hat blowing in the wind, but that’s not reality.
Ignore the clichéd advice from people who say, “You will find him when you least expect it.” You do have to put in the work. You won’t find your future husband by watching Netflix every weekend with your cat. Stay optimistic, surround yourself with good people and the things you love because there is nothing more attractive than happiness.