Like a lot of women, I’m kind of a workaholic and feel happiest when I’m dedicating most of my time to career goals. However, recently I decided I was ready for a serious relationship and made a plan to meet my next boyfriend. I took two weeks off from work and texted every decent guy who’d recently asked me out on a date. I double, triple, and sometimes quadruple booked my days. I made finding love my top priority, and here’s how it played out:
- Trying to find a boyfriend is exhausting. I’d booked my calendar with lunches, dinners, happy hours, and late night cocktail meet ups. I picked up some new date outfits, answered 1,000 rounds of “getting to know you” questions, and did my best to not call anyone by the wrong name. I tried to weigh out chemistry with the objective pros and cons of each guy. My schedule was jam packed with running around, and I wasn’t actually getting anywhere. The whole “you’ll only find love if you’re not looking for it” cliche started to seem really appealing.
- If your short term goal is finding love, you’re setting yourself up for failure. In retrospect, finding love was a super lofty goal. Part of why love is so special is because it’s so rare, and your search can take quite a long time. An achievable goal might have been finding someone who was good enough to tolerate dating, or making a friend I also enjoyed having sex with, but those weren’t the things I wanted. As far as short term goals go, making finding love your end game is a great way to end up failing.
- Single women shouldn’t have to tolerate being told they work too much. You should be able to want success and want to find love without being accused of wanting to “have it all,” like that’s a bad thing. There’s no shame in enjoying your job and taking pride in being a motivated hard worker. If being single is your fault for working too much, then what responsibility should men who work a lot take for their single status? You’re not at fault for being single, and screw anyone who tells you that you’re married to the office or don’t put yourself out there enough.
- There was nothing wrong with my priorities. I guess it boils down to the old ridiculous notions that a woman should give up her career when she’s ready to settle down. And while there’s nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom if that’s what you want, there’s also no reason why wanting something else would hinder your relationship prospects. I was almost ashamed of myself for listening to people who told me my priorities were in the wrong place, because I should have known that idea was outdated. Blaming a woman’s priorities is almost a screwed up way of saying a woman’s place is in the home.
- Mr. Right won’t just show up because you’re ready. Somewhere around date 20, I was starting to wonder, “Where is he?” I’d changed my priorities and put myself out there, now it was his turn to show up. I did my part and was expecting him to do his. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. Now that I’m in a serious committed relationship, I know exactly what he was up to that month. He was about a half hour away, actually, completely not ready to find love. I hadn’t even considered the possibility that there might not be a good guy for me nearby just because I was ready to meet him.
- You can’t put love on a schedule. You can’t just schedule it into your life when it’s convenient for you. I’d actually looked at my calendar and saw I had a really slow few weeks coming up, and decided that was a good time to invest in my personal life. There’s only so many about love you can control, and timing is definitely not one of them. When we did actually meet, it was objectively a really bad time for me to start seeing someone, but he respected me enough to wait it out instead of immediately demanding more attention.
- The guy for you will accept when he’s not your #1 priority. If your job is your top priority, you should be with someone who not only accepts that, but loves that about you. If you compromise on who you are, there’s a good chance you will end up bitter and resentful. There are plenty of strong, secure men out there who won’t be threatened by your success, so why settle for anything less?