All you need is love right? That’s what they say and if you believe that’s true then you might be interested in my guide to love. Read on for my insights into finding love, knowing it when you do find it and hanging on to it!
Step One: You’ll Find it When You’re Ready / Don’t Be Desperate
My Mom always told me she found love when she stopped looking for it and that was my experience too. How’s that for a frustratingly smug and vague opening? But wait, it’s true! When you make finding love your soul focus, you lose sight of all the other aspects of your life. You lose the enthusiasm and passion that make you attractive to a potential mate. You also tend to jump at every opportunity when you are desperate for love and no one wants to feel that the reason someone is interested in them is because they are around and have a pulse.
Step Two: You Have to Love yourself For Someone Else to Love You
And the clichés keep on coming! This one is true too. Confidence, happiness and a dash of self-aware humor are all attractive qualities and are unable to be achieved if you don’t feel good about yourself. The thing that you have to remember during this stage is that you don’t have to be perfect for someone to love you, although always striving to be your best self can’t hurt in your search for love. The key is to strive to be the best you, not the best version of some ideal that has nothing to do with you. There’s an old saying that goes: “For worry, work is better than whiskey”. This means if you really hate something about yourself, address it and work on it, don’t avoid it and let it fester.
Step Three: You Have to Put Yourself Out There and it Has to be The Real You
The other reason why loving yourself is so important is because if you don’t love yourself you will find this step impossible. You truly have to believe you are worthy of love to risk putting yourself out there. Guess what, it is really hard to find love sitting on your couch and watching TV or not filling out that online dating questionnaire, or not talking to that cute person at work. In fact I would go so far as to say it is nearly impossible. If you’re super stumped about where the love of your life might be found, there were a couple of good suggestions two sentences back and if neither of those options appeal to you than just do what you love but do it with other people. Another idea is to think about what kind of person you would like to be with and go where those people might be found. That last one is tricky though and requires thought about the Real You. If you want to meet someone who is kind and community oriented but you absolutely hate DIY and getting sweaty maybe don’t look for love by volunteering at Habitat for Humanity.
Step Four: You Have to Have Standards, They Aren’t Just For Every Other Aspect of Your Life
As Cher from Clueless said “You know how picky I am about my shoes and they just go on my feet!”. She may have been clueless about many other things but this one she got right. If you don’t have some idea of what you want in mate, how are you supposed to find them? Perhaps instead of trying to hook up with every rando that comes along, you should be alone for a while and think about what you want out of life and a life partner. I’m not talking about physical attributes or fairy tales about how you might meet. I’m talking about qualities such as “family is important to them” or “they have a decent job”, or “they are capable of being selfless”. Obviously you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover and some people may seem nicer than they really are, at first. But if there are clues, like they are really nice to you but really mean to everyone else, that they are perhaps not what they at first appeared, have some self-respect and hit the bricks.
Step Five: You Have to Find Someone Capable of Independent Happiness, Being Needed is Nice but at Some Point You Might Need Someone Too
This is one of my examples of knowing what your needs are and making sure they get met. Standards people, they are really important! If you are anything like me you love to be needed and there is nothing so attractive as someone that needs and appreciates you. The thing you have to be careful about with this noble intention, is that there are folks out there who are incapable of being happy by themselves or indeed happy at all. You will spend all of your time and energy trying to prop them up and talk them into seeing the world as a halfway decent place. The only and inevitable result of this will be that they will continue to see the world as they always have and you will be exhausted and unhappy yourself. Toxic attitudes are like any other contagious disease, no matter how strong your immune system if you keep making out with someone who has one you are gonna end up sick and tired!
Step Six: Is It Love? The Three L’s You Need to be Sure Are There
So, say you have found someone that is in fact a decent person and everything seems to be going really well. How do you know if this relationship has what it takes to last? Let me introduce you, dear reader, to the three L’s. And the three L’s are, drumroll please, Like, Lust and Love.
Let’s start with like. In order for a relationship to work you must like the person you are with. This seems really obvious until someone comes along that is absolutely drop dead gorgeous and you are in lust city, until you realize that every time they open their mouth you want to die. This is a situation where you have lust but no like and that is not gonna work out. The person you are with should be like your best friend and you should genuinely respect their opinions and have fun in their company.
Let’s talk about lust, baby! If you cannot picture yourself kissing someone much less doing anything else to them it’s not gonna work. On the flip side if kissing and stuff is all you do because you have nothing in common it’s not gonna work. Keep this in mind as well. If you end up with this person forever, there are gonna be times where they and you are not at your best looking and you are still going to have to kiss and do stuff with them, so make sure that sounds like fun before you commit.
Lastly, love, but wait isn’t that what we are talking about anyway? How can love be a requirement for love? When I say love I mean the kind of love parents have for their children. The kind that makes sacrifice seem worth it and would have you gladly leaping in front of a bus to save them. Hopefully your love story will not require you to die in order to prove your devotion but it will require you to put your own needs aside on occasion to be there for your partner. It will also require you to tell them hard truths and see them at their worst and if you don’t feel that all-encompassing, selfless kind of love for them; then, say it with me, it’s not gonna work.
Step Seven: Once You Have it Don’t Take it for Granted
Yay! You’re in love, love with a big L, love that lasts a lifetime! How do you hold on to that love in the crazy world in which we live? Step number one: don’t take it for granted! Don’t just assume that it will continue along perfectly fine without attention or upkeep because that is true of absolutely nothing in life. And if you are this far along in this article, one might assume that love is important to you, so take care of it. Tend it, tend your partner, tend yourself, make it a priority in your life! The definition of husbandry from which the word husband derives means: the care and cultivation of something. So care for and cultivate your relationship and ladies just because you are not a husband does not let you off the hook. I know society would have you think that you are doing your partner a huge favor just by being with them and putting up with their manly, ridiculous ways but, spoiler alert, society is full of it and men need just as much care and support as anyone else and if you can’t be bothered to figure out what that means to a man, to your man, than I can honestly say you don’t deserve him.
Step Eight: Don’t Give Up
We’ve come to the end of our road. We have found love and like and lust and we are trying to not take it for granted. So, what else do we need to make sure it works? In short we need to not give up. If all the steps above have been followed, it sounds like this relationship has been built on solid ground and includes two awesome, amazing people, so don’t give up on it! Don’t do it, it’s not worth it, if you break it you’re just gonna have to start all over again and guess what, if you are a giver upper you’re probably gonna do that the next time too. So don’t put yourself through that. Nobody is perfect and things will happen to test the relationship and each of you individually but take breaking up off the table. Don’t threaten to leave just to get your way. Love is tough at times but it’s worth it so, please, don’t give up!