You’re single. You’re not happy about it. You lament to a friend, someone who is NOT single, and she smiles benevolently.
Then she says the one thing all single people hate to hear: “Maybe if you stop looking for love, you’ll find it.”
Talk about rage-inducing advice. And yet, maybe there’s something there.
Consider this. The guy who invented the microwave oven was actually working on military radar equipment when he accidentally melted some candy in his pocket.[i] Super Glue didn’t start out as a successful adhesive, but as a failed gun part.[ii] And Play-Doh was originally intended to be a cleaning product![iii]
In each case, someone realized what they’d found by mistake was actually a priceless discovery.
What if something like that is happening in your love life? What if you miss an unexpected kind of romance because you’re too busy looking for something else?
The trick isn’t to stop looking for love, no matter what a well-meaning friend may have told you. Rather, the trick is to look for love with eyes wide open, ready to find it wherever and however it pops up.
And even after you’ve found love, don’t stop looking for it. Because some of the most powerful forms of love are “discovered” only after you become a couple.
I have two strategies for you. One for when you’re single, and one for when you’re dating. Used together, these tips will ensure that you don’t miss out on something amazing.
WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE
I promise I’m not going to tell you anything cheesy like, “Maybe love has been right in front of you the whole time.”
That happens in movies. It rarely happens in life.
No, THE ONE probably isn’t already your best guy pal. But your idea of the perfect partner could be getting in your own way.
Have you ever dismissed a possible connection after a single so-so date? Have you stopped talking to a guy because you discovered his views on one topic didn’t match yours? How critical is it to you to feel a spark right away?
When you’re unattached, don’t be too quick to push a guy into “the friend zone.” Keep an open mind, even if there are a couple of things about a potential partner that aren’t exactly the way you imagine them being.
For example, instead of saying no to a second date just because there weren’t fireworks at the end of the first, consider giving him another chance.
Sometimes romance takes a bit of time to blossom. Those initial hiccups could end up being a part of your “how we met” story one day!
WHEN YOU’RE DATING
Once you’ve started dating someone, you may think the hunt is over. Hardly. That’s when it becomes really critical to keep your eyes open.
Steady relationships don’t have the same kind of novelty new relationships have. So, it can feel like the excitement is gone. Almost like you’ve traded passion for stability.
But there’s probably more sizzle left than you realize. You just have to look for it.
Pay attention to the times when he does something selfless for you. When he rearranges his schedule for your sake. Or pays you a sincere, un-fished-for compliment. Or even just takes your hand for no reason at all.
While those may seem like small things, revel in them. Recognize that those simple acts are signs of enduring romance, even if the flames of passion aren’t burning at their hottest right then.
When you acknowledge, just to yourself, all the ways he’s still courting you, you’ll start to feel that spark again.
As Andy Warhol once said, “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
Don’t miss out on romance. If you’re single, be flexible with your notion of the perfect guy. And if you’re dating, acknowledge every single act of love and kindness.
You may be surprised to find there’s more romantic opportunity in your life than you thought!
[i] Ackerman, Evan. “A Brief History of the Microwave Oven.” IEEE Spectrum. IEEE, 30 Sept. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.
[ii] Hiskey, Daven. “Super Glue Was Invented by Accident, Twice.” Today I Found Out. N.p., 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.
[iii] Hiskey, Davin. “The Shocking Story behind Playdoh’s Original Purpose.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 20 Sept. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.