Growing up, I believed in romantic films. My mother would play old movies whenever she had time off from work. It’s how I fell in love with Jerry Lewis at the age of 16, only to be disappointed when I saw him in his old age.
It wasn’t the last time I felt love just wasn’t in the cards for me. With time, I fell for other classic films and loved another man: John Cusack. “Say Anything” was on repeat and so were the ideas of what it meant to be with someone who appreciated me.
Years went by and I entered the dating scene after a bad break up. Every date led to a rollercoaster of emotions. Happy, but never satisfied.
Do you know that saying that tells you to love yourself before loving someone else?
Well, it’s true.
Nothing felt right until I learned to love myself, wholeheartedly. Learning to accept my flaws, embracing them along the way and everything that comes with being me.
I spent four years dating myself to help achieve all the above. I actually went on lunch dates alone, and once I went to watch a movie. It felt liberating to do so.
A year before meeting my husband, I met someone who I thought was a single dad. Turned out he was married. Somehow, that didn’t keep me away.
I was a college student who didn’t want anything serious. Yet, this was satisfying. No attachments, just a good time.
With time, I felt uncomfortable knowing two people were living a lie. I tried tricking myself into thinking I’d be 100% okay creating something with a married person. The idea of being with someone who was emotionally unavailable was no longer exciting. Maturity was slowly kicking in.
This Mr. Unavailable told me I should never get married or have kids if people and things quickly bore me.
I believed his words for a long time. In fact, I thought marriage would become like a routine — the same thing over and over again as the love begins to fade.
There was someone else who once ended things with me by saying I wasn’t looking for anything serious and that I played mind games.
Another who I had been seeing on and off for years had told me the opposite. It’s funny how people get a different version of you when you’re dating them.
He said, “I can tell you’re looking for something serious — settle down and start a family. That’s just not something I want for myself.”
I laughed and I couldn’t believe he had told me this since I heard the exact opposite from someone else.
Maybe it had something to do with the connection we had over the years, but he was right. I hadn’t realized it then, but he made me come to the conclusion that whatever we had wasn’t going to become anything else.
Writing has always been therapeutic for me. When I walked away from Mr. Nothing Else, I needed to figure out what I wanted for myself. That’s when I took out my Notes App and jotted down the qualities I looked for in a partner.
Spending time with family and friends will remind you of all the things you need in life –– great food, genuine people and good laughs. I had all that with them, but I wanted more.
I turned to religion and prayed that those from my past would find happiness and love. I went on family road trips every weekend and focused on work. By focusing on the things I already had in life, I made time for the things I wanted.
The Beauty Of Life
Life has a funny way of showing you how to appreciate things for what they are, not how you’d like them to be.
When friends ask about love, and where to find it, I always tell them love finds you. You can’t go looking for it, you just need to focus on the things you enjoy and the people you love. In time, everything just falls into place.
Today, I’m married with three kids and two pups. I met my husband while chasing a car in New Jersey. We’ve been together ever since. I can assure you this, marriage might not have been in the cards for those people who gave me advice, but it was in my future.