There are so many irritating cliches that coupled-up people love to preach to the singles of the world. Potentially the most annoying one? “Stop trying to find someone! As soon as you stop looking, it’ll happen for you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’d heard that adage—and I can’t tell you how EXTRA annoyed I was when that turned out to be true.
I had sworn off guys for the foreseeable future. To fill you in, I’d spent the previous three or four months chasing after a toxic loser who just up and ghosted after a summer of subpar hookups. I felt pathetic, I felt like a try-hard and a fool, but most of all, I felt angry. That small heartache was enough to jolt me to my senses: I was done chasing after douchey guys and trying to make myself who I thought they wanted me to be. In fact, I was done with guys altogether. It was time to focus on me and only me.
In that time, friends tried to set me up. Even though I told my girlfriends I was taking a dating hiatus, they only respected my wishes for about a week. They started suggesting single guys they knew and one even went so far as to “accidentally” invite a dude over for a movie night with me. All of their attempts fell flat and I stayed firm in my insistence that I didn’t want to see anyone but myself.
The following four weeks were very zen for me. I don’t know how much I can impress upon you the luxury of taking a dating break. Just to clarify, I wasn’t just done going out with men or trying to meet men, I was done thinking about men too. It was temporary and I knew it, but it was such a nice mental vacation to just focus on myself rather than desperately trying to attract the men around me. I focused on my writing, I read, I meditated, I exercised, I hung out with my squad—I felt balanced and calm for the first time in three years.
About a month into my break, a guy caught my eye. Taking a break from dating didn’t mean I didn’t observe cute guys around me—God knows I did plenty of “observing” in that time, but each one passed me by with only a flirtatious glance and I forgot his face by the end of the block. There was nothing wrong with that—in fact, it was the way I preferred it. But seeing my fiance for the first time was like an out-of-body experience. It was more than seeing a cute guy, it was this feeling of being drawn to him like we were magnets. Talk about cliche; the room literally melted away from me and I got tunnel vision. All I could see was this guy in his purple shirt and his grey shorts, looking absolutely exhausted.
Luckily, it wasn’t just on my end. I could tell right away that he was noticing me the way I was noticing him (but I still wonder to this day if he was as freaked out as I was). When we finally got to talking, our conversation felt orgasmic and when he touched my arm? It felt like a jolt of electricity down into my fingertips. This wasn’t normal and we both knew it. He asked to see me the next night and I agreed.
Having taken that time for myself, I was totally confident around him. After a month of focusing on me, I was so comfortable being me when it counted. Here I was, presented with this very real chance at love, and I was in a prime mental state to accept it. Unabashedly, I showed him who I really was and took no BS—and that started our relationship off on the best foot it possibly could.
Even though I knew this was real, I felt no need to rush. The problem was, I didn’t feel like my “me time” was long enough. It had been an inspiring month and I had promised myself I was taking a hiatus, so I kindly insisted that we “take it slow.” Because he was the right guy, he respected my wishes but certainly didn’t forget about me; he gently continued his advances but gave me my space and it gradually evolved into an amazing relationship.
We’re engaged now and actually obsessed with one another. Fast forward six years, we’re engaged and out-of-our-minds happy. People keep asking us if we’re “afraid to get married,” and we can honestly look them in the eye and say, “Not at all.” We started our relationship when it was right for us. Nothing was forced, there was never a question about “what we were,” and all that helped us build our relationship on a very healthy foundation. So, I get it. Hearing couples preach to you about “not looking” is infuriating, but it might not hurt to listen. Take it from me.
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