“Imma start looking for love so it won’t find me!”
I laughed hysterically when my friend said this jokingly in high school, but man did she have a CONCEPT…
Dating in my late teens/early twenties was…a shitshow. A beautifully disastrous, painfully exhausting shitshow. I was looking for love in ALL the wrong places *face palm emoji*
After dating for the better part of [over] a decade, I can honestly say that I haven’t known true love until now. And you know what’s funny? It showed up when I was finally happy with being alone.
I used to think that love was supposed to be exciting and passionate all the time–it wasn’t the real thing if there was no drama or epic tale of courtship to show for it. I later realized, however, that I was mistaking anxiety and confusion for passion and excitement.
“Baby, get a man who loves you more than you love him”
…is the advice I’d get from older women in my life, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feed into this at some point.
I noticed a trend: I either chased
passion anxiety or settled for attention. It was a nasty cycle of accepting bullshit from the men I wanted, hurting my feelings (then leaving), and settling for men who wanted me to ease the pain.
As a result, I threw myself into relationships when I wasn’t in the best head space. To keep it all the way real, a couple of my exes were rebounds that just went too damn far.
Did I think I was in love before? Sure. I loved what they did for me and how they made me feel desired. It was a twisted and selfish kind of love but it was love, nonetheless.
I wanted the attention and didn’t care who I hurt in the process of getting it. Up til this point, I saw love as a game–a game I was playing to WIN.
“…but is it worth the effort?”
Right before I turned 25, I had an epiphany: I didn’t want a love that felt like hard work.
This isn’t to say that relationships don’t require work, because they do, but there’s something to be said about how it feels. Does it feel like work? Does it feel safe? Reliable? Definite? Worth the fight?
Around that same time, I was in a relationship that felt like a chore; I was unhappy and it didn’t take me long to grow tired of catering to deep-rooted insecurities and a fragile ego. (This was one of those “bad headspace decision” relationships I mentioned before)
I didn’t feel safe, respected, or valued. When I received mixed advice from loved ones, it made me feel like I’d be settling if I stuck around. In other words, my effort outweighed my happiness in the relationship.
Needless to say, I ended things and it was ugly. I won’t blame or chastise him for his flaws, but I WILL take accountability for not taking the time to truly learn him before I decided to be with him.
I regret making him feel like I was equipped to love him how he needed, before I even understood what that meant.
Not too long after, I started dating a blast from the past who I enjoyed spending time with, but he was so inconsistent. In my “love game” mindset, I’d match his energy (sometimes reluctantly): when he was “here” so was I, and when he backpedaled, I did too.
It was psychological warfare trying to be with this man, i.e. anxiety that I mistook for excitement. So, what did I do? Demote him from a priority to an option.
He’d be all in if he wanted to be; I was fine with being 100% single and playing the field until further notice, if it came down to it.
After I made that shift, everything changed–I felt lighter, my spirit was brighter, and truth be told, I exuded more confidence.
“We are what we attract”
…is what they say, right? (whoever they is)
It makes sense that I attracted miserable situations when I was a miserable person; I attracted insecure men when I felt insecure.
I’d like to think that when I made the choice to be happy, I attracted happiness.
The best love I’ve ever experienced came when I least expected, but it was right on time. I’m still on cloud nine with a person I initially wrote off as a fling (LOL). And the most beautiful part: we didn’t force anything, it just felt right to be together.
Weekend stays turned into weeks, texting turned into 12-hour facetime calls and cross-country trips–it just happened so organically. NO mind games, NO bullshit, NO egos or crippling insecurities, just two people unsure of where we’d go but still enjoying tf out of the ride.
I’m a firm believer in divine timing, so I trust that God reserved this blessing for when, and only when, I felt complete all by myself. When I stopped chasing love, it forced me to work on myself and my own issues instead worrying about someone else’s.
Love, like happiness, is a conscious choice we make everyday. We reach our highest form when we practice self-love, which, I believe, attracts the best version of others or challenges them to meet us there.
I can’t tell you a secret formula and x amount of steps to find true love; there’s no rule book to this shit.
Here’s the way I see it: you know that old saying ‘a watched pot never boils’? That’s how I feel about love–when we’re too consumed with finding love or having a relationship, we’re less likely to find a satisfying one.
Question why you think you need it so badly–is it loneliness, the need to feel important, etc? When we’re working to fill a void, we may force relationships that don’t align with our best selves.
When I made more of an effort to heal and work on myself, having a man became less of a priority.
What I can tell you is this:
I found real love when I stopped looking for it.