We’ve all been there.
You know, watched a rom-com (or better yet, a full-on rom) and avidly decided that today you were going to find “The One.” Maybe it was the latest heart-wrenching Valentine’s day blockbuster (Me Before You, anyone?) or the newest Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie adaption.
Whatever your fix is, the Hollywood version of love is quite the intoxicating little cookie. While you’re under that spell, anything seems possible.
That guy on the corner? Mysterious, but maybe he’s got a soft heart.
Dark-and-brooding lined two places in front of you? Rough-edged but it could just be his improbable deployment in the army and he’s probably only here for leave and if you give him the chance he’ll fall madly in love with you in two weeks.
So you put yourself out there, try harder than a cramming college student, and still come out empty-handed. (Literally. You don’t have a hand to hold.) Crushed, you’ll pick yourself up and find another dream guy, but somehow that falls through, too. No matter what you pursue or how hard you try, nothing seems to turn out the way you want it to. You’re left wondering:
Why does it feel like whatever I do, nothing clicks?
The hard-hitting truth is that there’s no recipe for love. You can cook a romantic candlelit dinner, or he/she could plan a night on the town, but it ultimately comes down to the two of you. No matter how many roses you receive or good-night texts you exchange, it won’t change who you are. It doesn’t change the reality that your dating experience won’t look like a rom-com. Why? Because hollywood movies are just that, movies, not reality.
They say that love is blind, and I think that looking for love is blind, too. It’s like we put these goggles on that block out every warning sign and shape-shift it into a promising obstacle. We don’t get the hints of cold-feet, or see the smiles that don’t reach their eyes anymore. Maybe some jerk even decides to ghost you.
But you know what? It’s not your fault. It takes two to tango and no matter how badly you want it to work, maybe it’s just not meant to be. Don’t hold on to the threads of a person or the pieces that you loved best just because they are familiar. Wrap yourself up in a quilt of a person, all misconstrued patches sewn up around a stuffing of warmth. Wrap yourself in a blanket that will love you with all the torn and frayed edges, all the little nonmatching parts that you love just as much.
To find these people, you have to stop looking so hard and start living. Don’t look for love, look for life. I love seeing the passion in someone’s eyes when they talk about something that’s important to them, or the glow that they emanate when they make someone’s day.
You see, if they can love something that much, they can love you even more. Beyond that, you’ll have things to talk about, stories to tell each other, jokes to exchange, and a wild adventure ahead of you.
Stop looking and start living.