Are you single and happy with your romantic life in its current state? Are you actively seeking to improve things? Do your actions reflect your desires? Or, are you really just paying lip service and staying safe while hoping that love and romance will simply strike you like lightening?
It isn’t unusual for people to express interest in having more of something without actually following through. But, if you really want a new romantic interest, why not pursue these things just as you would a new job? That is, seriously. Outwardly. Intentionally. Openly. Honestly. Respectfully. Boldly.
There should be no shame in seeking a new romantic relationship; it’s hard to imagine why people don’t broadcast their availability more freely in order to cast a wider net. We should all cheer the brave souls that rent billboards in hopes of meeting their beloved. It should be commonplace for anyone seeking a new romantic partner to tell everyone and ask for help with introductions. We aren’t shy about asking for referrals for doctors, housekeepers, lawyers or prospective employers. Why should we be shy about wanting help meeting those whom we might want to date. What’s the problem with asking for help finding our love match?
I know many singles fear expressions of condescension or even pity from partnered acquaintances and even friends. One has to wonder, though, whether such “sympathy” for singles is truly sorrow, or actually feigned. Sometimes, it may even mask a bit of unrecognized jealousy. After all, when one is single and openly seeking love, the journey can be quite exciting despite the inherent ups and downs. While dating can be a bit scary, a wise soul can parse out the thrill of opportunity, recognize the pleasure of a heightened sense of awareness, and bask in the energy generated on a date. Anticipation, hope and excitement can stimulate all the right places in our brains to create pleasure such as others seek through drugs. Why would you feel sorry for people getting such natural highs without risk to their brain? After all, the heart can heal after the most brutal of breaks, but our brains are much more fragile. It is rather ironic that so many spend such effort protecting the wrong organ.
Of course, these highs are often accompanied by lows such as when we don’t find our dream partner quickly, or we think we found them only to be harshly assured that we were quite wrong. Some people choose the safety of status quo rather than face risks of this nature. Other people will suffer the hugest of grief and heartbreak, yet they will try to heal by dating again almost immediately after. Who are we to tell anyone they are making a bad decision?
Rather than judging anyone’s choices, we can support and encourage people to seek and create a life that truly fills their spirit. An unpartnered life can be absolutely beautiful when it is embraced rather than forced or settled upon. Similarly, a life spent seeking the right love partner should be celebrated and honored for the vulnerability, exposure and effort it requires. The truth is, it’s not so much what choices we make, but whether we actually make them. Sitting back and allowing our lives to happen to us without our taking ownership is what can dampen an otherwise bright spirit. Circumstances of life often force us into unpleasant situations with limited options, but until we take our last breath, we have some control and it’s when we accept that, as well as what we truly don’t have control over, that we can honestly claim authorship to our life.
Whatever life has thrown at you, divorce, loss, heartbreak, physical impairments, take time to feel and process the emotional effects, but after an appropriate time, force yourself to clarify exactly what choices are still yours to make. It is easy to pretend that we are left with no options, that “there is nothing I can do”, but let’s be clear. There is almost always something that we can do. Even when the odds are against us, or we don’t like the only available options, we generally have some choice. Lousy choices perhaps, but choices nonetheless. Do yourself the honor of acknowledging the reality of your situation without aggrandizing it. If you have lost your true love after a lifetime of love, mourn your loss while honoring it for the gift it was for as long as you believe helpful for your healing. After that time, don’t pretend that there is no one else in the world that you might also love. It’s sappy but true, love is limitless. The fact that you loved someone so much is the best indicator that you could love another as truly, though of course, differently. We each deserve to own the fact that whether we decide to seek romance or not, the choice is truly of our own. The world will never run out of others worthy of our love; it is our choice whether or not to share.
So take off your kid gloves and ask yourself the hard questions. Are you happy with your current status? If you are (whether solo or partnered is irrelevant), props and cheers to you! Enjoy every moment and recognize the effort that you have put into achieving this level of satisfaction. You deserve credit for deciding what you want and making it happen.
If not, what can you do to change things? Be completely honest with yourself about what you want, what you are willing to invest to get what you want, and what you are willing to invest to keep what you want (or thought you wanted). But if you find yourself saying “Oh I am open to dating and falling in love, but…(insert excuses here) “, and your body is not doing anything to actually seek out or get to know available people, you may benefit from a more pointed conversation with yourself about what you really want. It’s easy to find people who do the same meaningless dance with jobs; they say with deep feeling how unhappy they are with their current placement and express sincere desire for new opportunities. However, a simple follow up question gives the truer answer; they haven’t prepared a resume, let alone submitted any serious applications for other openings. One has to wonder why we allow our own selves to be fooled by our own big talk, but none of us is immune to this self-deception at least occasionally.
There are so many things in this world we can’t control; why surrender those that we can? If you want something or someone, start shouting. The louder the better. Someone special is bound to hear you sooner or later.