I am not a mysterious woman. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, and I do so with this blog as well. So, I will tell you up front the only two things you need to do to find love. And it’s up to you to hang in there with me while I thoughtfully break this down for you. Will you join me for the ride?
1. TO FIND LOVE, YOU NEED TO MASTER THE ART OF SAYING NO
2. YOU NEED TO BE SUPREMELY HAPPY AS A SINGLE PERSON IN ORDER TO FIND LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE
If you have been looking for love, I am sure you have heard both of these concepts before. When I was single, I heard this shit all the time, and it got really old, really fast. You know why? Because I thought I had done both of these things. And I couldn’t figure out why I was still single. I thought that bullshit advice was a total crock. And I thought it was super smug and self-righteous of those “in love” people to feed me this crap. But here I am feeding this crap to you. And you know why? Because I have been where you are. And I know what these two concepts really feel like, in my bones. I know what it takes to find love, and it’s not easy. But if you do nothing but these two things, you will find love!
I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE
This article is actually inspired by a podcast episode I listened to today. Ali Wentworth, the host of Go Ask Ali, did an episode with her dear friend Julianna Margulies about “finding success.” Honestly, I was actually hesitant to listen at first. I love both of these gals, but right off the bat I thought, “How will any of this be relatable, hearing about the success of two celebrities with tons of money, power, and fame?” Well, this episode honestly turned out to be mostly about finding love. And from the moment they started talking, I was hooked.
They both came from imperfect and broken families. Same. And they both made terrible choices in their love life for the majority of their youth until they reached their thirties. Same. And both of them found love by using these two principles mentioned above. Same.
See, applying these principles to your love life really works, and not just for me!
FIND LOVE BY MASTERING THE ART OF SAYING NO
There’s a fine line between giving a guy the benefit of the doubt, and saying no to his bullshit behavior. And actually, the better you get at mastering the art of saying no, the thicker this line becomes. Eventually, when you get really good at it, the line becomes an uncompromising barricade that keeps you protected from shit and instead steers you directly into the path of love.
Here’s an example, so you can feel this one in your bones:
If he says something hurtful to you and you tell him he hurt your feelings (if you aren’t doing this by now, you need to start doing this immediately guurrrlll), he may react in one of two ways. One way is a YES, and one way is a NO.
RESPONSE #1: HE APOLOGIZES, TALKS THINGS THROUGH WITH YOU, YOU FIGURE THINGS OUT TOGETHER, AND HE IS LOVING AND CONSIDERATE IN HIS COMMUNICATION WITH YOU
RESPONSE #2: HE DISMISSES YOUR FEELINGS, MAKES YOU FEEL BAD FOR EXPRESSING YOURSELF, ACCUSES YOU OF BEING OVERLY SENSITIVE, AND DOES NOT APOLOGIZE. ESSENTIALLY, HE MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM.
Now, I have to say, even in a good relationship, if you are having a tiff about something, emotions can be high. And at first, at times, he might defend himself, try to put things back on you, and/or accuse you of being too sensitive. And maybe you are! But the fact is that your feelings are hurt. And a loving and mature man will not be able to sit with himself knowing he hurt the woman he loves. So, as long as he behaves like the examples in Response #1, he’s still fair game.
By the way, I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Response #1 is the winner.
And if the person you are dating, or in a relationship with, behaves regularly like Response #2, you can do better! I’m sorry, even if you have been with this person for a long time and/or have invested a lot. You deserve better. Emotional abuse and true love are incompatible. Like Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, “neither can live while the other survives.” One must go! And Response #2 is an indication of emotional abuse.
Let me also clarify what saying no looks and sounds like.
I’m not kidding. They need to go. Exit your life. You don’t need that shit. There are WAY better things waiting for you. But you have to say good-bye first in order to open those new doors.
I can offer two examples of bad behavior, from two separate men I was dating. And I ultimately decided to stop dating each of them, because of these behaviors.
We had only been dating for a few weeks, but we had an amazing connection. Together, we had so much fun and were very attracted to each other. We also had a fair amount in common and could talk endlessly for hours.
However, he was incredibly controlling with me. It started subtly at first, and I dismissed it because I really wanted to find love, and thought I was close. But it just kept getting worse. He would try to exert control over me about something that I felt was inappropriate. For instance, my hair. He ultimately started making a big deal about my silver hair. Meaning, he didn’t like it and wanted me to change it. I should have left immediately, and did shortly after. But it took me some time. At first, I would push back, telling him this hurt my feelings. And he would gaslight me for hours. To the point where I would be in tears. And his response to my tears and hurt feelings? An eye roll and an accusation that my tears were an act of manipulation towards him. Wow!
These endless cycles of back and forth dialogue were so painful and they actually took a toll on my body (stomach cramps, exhaustion, etc.). I finally ended it in the middle of a terrible argument and have never looked back. He contacted me months later wanting to connect again, and I ignored and deleted.
He was emotionally abusive and a huge NO.
Man B wasn’t much better. We dated for several months, although I didn’t feel quite as much of an electric connection with him. Actually, I didn’t feel much of a connection at all. But he seemed stable, was consistent, and seemed to like me very much. In my mind, that was enough to proceed at the time.
After a few months of dating and the inevitable intimacy that came with that, I became curious. And as we were on the couch watching a movie, I asked him kind of playfully if I was his girlfriend. He instantly became speechless, angry, and completely frustrated with me. At one point he said the words, “This sucks, just so you know.” He wanted to keep dating and liked where it was going, but was completely unprepared to have this conversation, and was mad at me for even asking. He had made clear in that moment that I had basically ruined his evening with this question.
By the way, he was older than me and had expressed early on that he ultimately wanted to settle down with someone.
I defended myself by saying that I didn’t think it was a crime to ask where we stood. And since we were being intimate, I had a right to know if he was being intimate with anyone else. Three months of dating and intimacy is TOTALLY not too early to have this conversation. And we weren’t young and in our twenties. I was in my thirties and he was in his late forties!
I understand that he might not have been ready. But all he had to do was tell me he wanted to keep dating me but wasn’t ready to commit, or whatever kind of bullshit people like that say. Instead, he became furious with the beautiful woman (whom he had the privilege of sitting on his couch with) who wanted to be his girlfriend.
Asshole. No. I ended it the next day. If a man can’t have a grown-up conversation about the relationship and express himself in a kind and considerate way, he’s a NO. He contacted me months later as well. Ignore. Cancel. Delete.
If this saying no thing sounds like a foreign concept to you, don’t worry. You’ll get better with practice. This all comes down to self-love and self-worth. We think we’re being cruel, or judgmental, or picky, or bitchy, when we say no to bad behavior from a man. But this is just not the case. Saying no to bad behavior (coming from anyone) is a declaration of love for yourself. And honestly, the more you do it, the less you will experience people giving you shit. The Universe will start to respond to your energy shifts and will start sending you things that match your new vibe. They will start sending you MUCH more appropriate contenders for love. Those who would not even consider disrespecting you or intentionally hurting you.
But, it truly starts with you. You don’t have to feel like a bursting ball of self-love. It’s okay if you don’t believe deep down that you are Wonder Woman. You will get there by taking action. Just start saying no to bullshit. And little by little, you will start to peel away your layers of self-hate. And you will see how much you fucking kick ass. Eventually, you will look back in disbelief at the shit you put up with for so long.
It’s a process, and it starts with saying NO.
To discover more juicy morsels about finding true love, visit the LOVE AND DATING section of my blog to read additional articles about love, sex, and relationships.
GET SUPREMELY HAPPY AS A SINGLE PERSON
This saying no thing is kind of a perfect segue into the getting happy thing. The two honestly go hand in hand. Because really, it needs to become all about YOU.
When I was looking for love, I wasn’t focused on me nearly as much as I was focused on them.
“What is he doing?”
“Does he like me?”
“Why does he act that way?”
“Oh, things must be so hard for him.”
“His childhood is awful, worse than mine, no wonder he’s so complicated.”
I’m not saying not to care about other people’s feelings and struggles. But it’s important to get into the habit of caring about yours first! This will remain true even and especially when you ultimately find love. Each of you need to have the tools to take care of your own emotions before you can be there for the other person. And you will attract an emotionally mature man by becoming emotionally mature yourself.
You aren’t selfish for seeking your own happiness and putting yourself first.
WHAT DOES BEING HAPPY AS A SINGLE PERSON LOOK LIKE?
I always thought I was happy as a single person. And towards the end of my single period, I really and truly was. However, there were many times during my single life that I thought I was happy, but really, I was still waiting for someone to save me. And really, I never let go of my dream for love. And you don’t need to either! You just need to shift a bit.
It’s hard to explain abstractly, so again, I’ll give some examples of what this might look like.
HAPPY #1: ON VALENTINE’S DAY, YOU MAKE A DATE WITH YOURSELF AND LOVE EVERY DELICIOUS MINUTE OF IT. YOU SAVOR THE ROM-COM YOU SAVED JUST FOR THIS OCCASION, YOU DEVOUR A PINT OF YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM (NO GUILT, ONLY CELEBRATION), YOU GIVE YOURSELF A SPA NIGHT AT HOME, AND YOU TALK TO YOUR MOST FAVORITE FRIEND FOR AN HOUR BEFORE BED. YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL DAY WITH YOURSELF!
HAPPY #2: YOU ATTEND A WEDDING WITHOUT A DATE AND YOU OPEN YOURSELF TO HAVING A GREAT TIME. YOU AREN’T LOOKING FOR YOUR SOULMATE AND AREN’T FOCUSED ON THE MOST ATTRACTIVE GUYS IN THE ROOM, ALTHOUGH YOU CAN’T HELP BUT NOTICE THE HOTTIE AT TABLE 12! BUT MORE SO, YOU ENJOY CHATTING WITH THE OLD LADY AND THE MARRIED COUPLE YOU ARE SEATED NEXT TO. YOU GET OUT ON THE DANCE FLOOR AND BOOGIE, AND HAVE TONS OF FUN. EVEN THOUGH YOU REALLY WANT TO MEET SOMEONE, YOU FEEL SO HAPPY FOR YOUR DEAREST FRIEND WHO JUST GOT MARRIED.
HAPPY #3: YOU COME HOME FROM A KIND OF MEH DATE THAT YOU AREN’T REALLY INTERESTED IN PURSUING. TAKING IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, YOU CALL YOUR CLOSEST LOVED ONES TO TALK IT OUT. YOU GET BACK ON THAT APP (A NON-HOOK-UP APP LIKE COFFEE MEETS BAGEL) AND LIKE A FEW POTENTIALS, REMAINING HOPEFUL AND OPTIMISTIC. YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD AT A SHOW ON TV AND FEEL SUCH LOVE FOR YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AS YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE BED.
HAPPY #4: THE FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS WHO CARE SO MUCH ABOUT YOU BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER. EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE DETERMINED TO FIND LOVE, YOU KNOW THAT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS ARE JUST AS VALUABLE TO YOU. AND YOU WORK TO CULTIVATE THOSE EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS IN WAYS YOU NEVER HAVE BEFORE. YOUR LIFE BECOMES RICHER AND MORE FILLED WITH LOVE AS YOU LET GO OF THOSE SUPERFICIAL CONNECTIONS AND GIVE YOUR DEVOTED ATTENTION TO THOSE THAT MATTER MOST.
HAPPY #5: YOU HAVE A SESSION WITH YOUR THERAPIST AND YOU LEAVE FEELING VERY LOVED AND APPRECIATED. FOR A SPLIT SECOND, YOU FEEL FOR YOURSELF HOW OTHERS AROUND YOU SEEM TO FEEL ABOUT YOU. AT TIMES, YOU QUESTIONED HOW PEOPLE WHO LOVED YOU COULD EVEN STAND YOU. BUT IN THAT MOMENT, YOU FEEL FOR A SECOND HOW OUT OF CONTROL LOVABLE YOU REALLY ARE, DESPITE ALL OF YOUR IMPERFECTIONS. YOU REALIZE YOU ARE DOING PRETTY GOOD AND FOR A MOMENT, YOU WANT TO GIVE YOURSELF A HUG. THE MOMENT PASSES AND YOU GO GRAB YOUR FAVORITE CAFFEINATED DRINK AND GO BACK TO WORK.
All of these are very specific examples, but I hope they convey to you the FEEL of happiness. You don’t always have to be feeling fantastic. And you absolutely don’t have to let go of your dream of finding love. But those moments of YOU-FOCUSED JOY are what you want to aim for.
When I was single, I NEVER let go of my search for love. And I would get really annoyed when people would say, “You have to stop looking for love in order to find it.” That might be true for some, but that was never true for me. I was always looking. But when I started looking with a new attitude of love for myself, putting my happiness first, that’s when things changed.
The key is, you want to get to a point in your life, where your life becomes so precious to you, that you won’t allow any guy to fuck it up. You can step back and say that you worked really hard to make your life as beautiful as it is. And if and when a good guy does come along, he has to ADD to that already beautiful life. There’s plenty of room for him! He just has to be great like you!
Unfortunately, I have to give this caveat as well. And it’s also something I HATED hearing about when I was single. Because if divine timing was at play in my love life, that meant that I literally had no control over my fate. However, this isn’t entirely true. Although, it kind of is. But look at it more as a collaborative effort between you and The Goddesses.
I look back on my path and wonder sometimes if I had done anything differently, would I have found love sooner? And would I have been able to spare myself the pain? But I truly believe the answer is no. My path was my own, and every single red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, brown, gray, and white part of my journey, was meant to be mine. Each piece was built on another piece, and it took as long as it took. Sometimes, the truth is, you haven’t met your person yet because HE isn’t quite ready for you.
So, what can you do? The best thing you can do is spend your time working on yourself. And making yourself the happiest and healthiest goddess you can possibly be. You don’t need to be perfect to meet him. Oh hell no! And he will be SO far from perfect also. But if you get yourself as close as you can to fab, that’s enough.
And go on dates! I used to think I would run into my love at Whole Foods, or a party. And you might! But the truth is, you really do have to kiss, or at the very least, have coffee with, a few frogs. But it’s worth it. I wouldn’t be writing about this if it wasn’t all worth it!
I wish you so much luck on your journey to finding love!
Did you enjoy this article? Do you relate to the struggles? Have you tried everything and nothing seems to work? I feel your pain, trust me, and don’t lose hope!
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Featured photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash
Goodbye photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash
Saying no photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash
Happy woman photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Frog photo by Jack Hamilton on Unsplash