I am someone who has always preferred to look for love.
After my gap year in college, which I took to write the first draft of Waiting at Hayden’s, I was debating transferring schools. I hadn’t loved the school I’d started at for many reasons, one being that I hadn’t seen anyone on campus I was remotely excited about dating at some point during the next several years.
Yes, I know I wasn’t going to school to meet someone, but I didn’t want to be somewhere for three more years where there wasn’t any hope that I might!
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Fortunately, I ended up seeing a photo online of a law school student who had started teaching fitness classes at the school gym and I had a really strong gut feeling I would like him if we met. So I went back, took his class, and we happily dated for the rest of our time there. My best relationships have started much like this.
The times I’ve let love find me well…I went out with a guy who bit my lip so hard the first time he kissed me that I started to bleed. And another one who drove me to his parents’ house at midnight on our first date to meet them, then proceeded to steal his dad’s “super cool” car from the garage to drive me home in. And I can’t forget the man who drunkenly raided my entire fridge (including my week’s worth of happy hour charcuterie for friends) and ate every single item, before starting to cry when I politely told him I thought it was time for him to go home.
Of course there is the infamous saying, “love finds you when you least expect it,” so there must be something to it.
And I will say this: the only time I’ve ever been completely and irrefutably swept off my feet was not only a time when I wasn’t looking, it was a time I was praying I wouldn’t be seen. I had just finished teaching a fitness class, was covered head to toe in sweat, and was trying to make it home unnoticed. And there he was. The only person who’s ever made me believe love at first sight is a real thing.
Then again, I’m not yet married, so what is the official verdict on looking for love vs. letting it find you?
What I love most about love stories is that every single one is so shockingly different. Last week I was talking to a woman who told me she ended up marrying the spouse of the person her partner was cheating on her with. Clearly she hadn’t anticipated that.
At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters how love comes into your life. I think it’s okay to look for it (dating apps, etc.) and to go about your life and let it find you. I think love can come from someone you’ve loved before or from someone you’ve never met.
The thing is we have to be open to it. We have to be open or it won’t come.
And the more horrible first dates you go on the harder this can be. Bad dates are tough. Lost love is even tougher. But I truly believe that love is out there. Only because I’ve heard too many wonderful stories to not.
This Valentine’s Day month—whether you love the holiday or not—my wish for all my readers and friends is that everyone stay open to the possibility of it.