The movies tell us that there is a magical elixir concocted of equal parts damsel-in-distress and femme fatale that will instantly attract a brain surgeon prince astronaut, who does his own laundry, smells like a starry sky, and who thinks the way you get all panicky when a homeless person asks you for money is incredible.
In this great big world of ours, anything is possible, but since possibility does not increase probability, it’s probably better to put on your big girl panties and take off your tiara for now. It might make Dr. Prince-stronaut a little nervous anyway.
Now that we’ve established hopes and wishes won’t attract most normal human beings, what else is there? That’s an easy one!
Finding True Love
Regardless of how long it has been since your last date/serious relationship/ living houseplant, how well you have your life together right now will determine the health and stability of your future relationships almost immediately.
Have you been putting off being a grown up until the last possible minute? How clean is your closet? Are you still (technically) married? Can you afford your half of the bill? Will you be constantly interrupted through the night by texts and calls from ex’s or co-dependent friends?
True love is a benefit reserved entirely for actual adults and Disney princesses. If you did not wake up this morning with perfect hair, singing sweetly, while birds helped you do chores, there is a decent chance you are not a true princess.
True love is a wonderful and amazing thing, but it comes with a few caveats: you have to find someone who wants it too; it takes a lot of work; and even after all of the work is done, you may find yourself alone again. But, fear not!
Dating is a process: the process of trying people on and seeing how they fit. Every person you let into your life has the potential to change things about you for the better or not. Dating is your opportunity to challenge each other, to experience each other and see if the world would be a better place with you together.
Finding a date is easy enough with all of today’s technology.
- Step one: Login to the website of your choosing.
- Step two: Tell anonymous internet strangers what makes you, you.
- Step three: See if anyone likes your face enough to write you or write back. Meeting strangers in person is essentially the same process, except a bit more time consuming and slightly more nerve wracking.
The problem with honest-to-goodness-can-I-borrow-a-quarter-to-call-home true love is that finding a date is the easy part.
Most folks, singles and couples included, get stuck right around the part where they have at last discovered one person who agrees to text back and they immediately decide that it is unquestionably love.
Love, unfortunately, is less romantic than even someone else whose loneliness is comparable to your own. It is cold, hard science set to soft music and candlelight.
Love always begins as a surge of chemicals coursing through your body. The beginning phase, infatuation, has been shown to light up brain scans in a similar pattern to addiction when couples are shown the object of their idolatry.
Is there an addict in the world who willingly gives up that which their brain tells them they need, even if their addiction is slowly destroying them? Unfortunately, the same can be said for those poor fools in love.
But what does that have to do with our heroic quest for true love, you may be asking? Just about everything.
If you decide, going into a relationship, that this one is The One, you may be setting yourself up for something much worse than an ordinary break-up and contrarily if you approach every relationship with unobtainable goals, you will invariably be disappointed.
This is where being a well-put together adult with reasonable expectations comes in to play. Knowing who you are and what you want are absolutely essential to finding true love.
If you grocery shop without a list, a few random odds and ends will inevitably end up in your cart and the same is true when searching for the one single person who sets your soul on fire. The “odds and ends” in this case don’t just leave you with over-stuffed cupboards and less money in your wallet.
There are very few points in a regular person’s life where they are emotionally, financially and physically capable of extending and receiving true love and this is where many couples will ultimately meet their end.
If you are going in to a relationship as a mess, there is a good chance you will attract the type of person who enjoys cleaning up messes or, on the flip side, if you are the one looking for human-shaped messes, you will usually have no trouble finding one or a dozen.
Once you or your potential soulmate are back on your feet and feeling like whole people again, you have both completed the main objective of the relationship and run the risk of drifting towards other whole people or fresh disasters.
True love is a relationship goal in and of itself, but, like a temperature-sensitive and fickle flower, it takes care and patience to bloom. It is the culmination of two people’s efforts to know one another, first as friends, then, as more than friends.
It sounds simple enough, but in reality, people are terrible. We hurt each other. We lie. We make mistakes. We require more forgiveness than the human heart should be able to supply, but if you find someone willing to love you despite your myriad of faults, someone who will walk beside you and who you think is pretty great too, you might just have a chance at true love.
Even if you will never get to be Mrs. Doctor Prince-stronaut on paper, he might just be able make you see stars anyway.