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I’m convinced my love of love stories comes from my sister.
I wouldn’t call it genetic, since our parents weren’t great models of softness and affection. On second thought, that’s probably how we arrived at loving love the way we did: we were hardwired for it. Whether we knew it or not, my sister and I hungered for examples of solid, enduring relationships that transcended what we’d seen as kids in our home and extended family.
For my sister, she spent much of her teen life in between the pages of Harlequin romances, much to our mother’s amazement. “You keep reading those things,” she warned, “and they’ll spoil you for real love.” It wasn’t that she’d hoped for a prince or a rock star to scoop her up into a perfect life; I think she just wanted a healthy relationship template to build on—one that looked nothing like the kind we’d been given. For myself, I fell in love with love much later, once I’d grown winded from chasing potential—instead of accepting the reality of my romantic relationships.
Here’s the disclaimer: you are not wrong.
Giving yourself permission to love and be loved deeply, despite your imperfect past or your imaginings of a loveless future, means there’s plenty you’ve done right already. Sometimes, the longing for love and relationship can throw us so far from our center, it can’t help but impact the way we see ourselves and everyone around us. Rather than feeling shamed or sad-faced about the steps you’ve taken toward love, let’s take a moment to lay them out and give credit where it’s due. Because for every attempt you made at love and you think you failed, there are countless people who can only wish they’d had half as much courage to take a similar risk themselves.
Feeling down about your dating and relationship prospects along with all of the efforts you’ve made for love’s sake? If so, it’s possible the experience is triggering old stories of hurt, self-worth, and disappointment. And while it’s important to allow those feelings to come, it’s equally key to examine them from a different perspective this time. Be willing to get curious about any information you get in the process. I’ve listed a few examples of common dating frustrations to show you a conscious shift in your thinking could make the difference that helps you refresh your loving nature.
“Online dating is brutal…and pointless.”
My friend Dana has been active on at least nine relationship sites in the past three years. Each time she registers, she swears it will be different, only to wind up disappointed at “the science” behind their matching algorithms and “the caliber” of her dates.
Where credit’s due: Dana gets props for widening her dating options by exploring the offerings of a variety of dating sites, and for being proactive. She didn’t let her efforts languish on just one or two sites that weren’t delivering good returns for her.
Finding the insight: Since Dana continues to be disappointed at the results she’s getting, I’d encourage her to take a second look at her profile, prompting her with questions like: Are the photos a current and accurate? Does the language go beyond the usual “I’m fun and active” paragraph? Whose opinion do I trust enough—male and female—to ask them for feedback about my profile?
“Men don’t want to get serious.”
Gregg is a great guy. He prides himself of knowing what he wants and wastes no time in going for it. He’s ready for a husband, but feels like he’s the only man he knows who’s ready for serious commitment. When he’s feeling especially disappointed with his dating life, he often says, “Men only want one thing.”
Where credit’s due: Great job, Gregg. Knowing what you want is a crucial part of a relationship because it helps you clarify your goals and lets your partner know, in very certain terms, what you’re looking for. As the saying goes: If you don’t know where you’re going, that’s where you’ll end up.
Finding the insight…
…Follow us over to MeetMindful to finish reading How a Conscious Shift in Thinking Can Transform Your Dating.
Author: Kriste Peoples
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Mike Licht/Flickr