Please Stop Telling Me Love Will Happen “When I Least Expect It”

What does “you’ll find love when you least expect it” even mean? If it implies that I should give up my search for love, I can’t and don’t want to. And why should I? When I’m told to chill out and wait for the right moment by well-meaning friends, all I can do is roll my eyes.

I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s not helpful. 

When these words come out of someone’s mouth, it feels like a cop-out, like they just don’t really know what to say to me. Some similar messages that could be more effective are: “keep working on you and you’ll attract the right person” or “trust in the timing of the universe.” Either of those would land much better than the vague “it’ll happen when you least expect it” cliche.

When I’m told to stop thinking about finding love, finding love is all I can think about. 

Do NOT think of a pink elephant. Don’t do it. Think of anything else. What are you thinking about? Probably a pink elephant. Similarly, when I’m told explicitly to stop focusing on finding love, it just makes me want to think of it all the more.

I’ve done a TON of work on myself. 

I’ve been single for most of the last three years. I’ve done a ton of emotional digging and character-building. For the most part, I know what I want, need, like, and dislike. I’d make a great partner, so telling me it will happen when I least expect it is getting pretty old. Like, it’ll happen in a decade when I’ve finally accepted that I’m never going to find love? I thought it’d happen when I’ve been single for a while and have done the work to be the best version of me possible.

Sure, fate might be real, but it will require action on my part. 

There’s a funny tale about a man drowning at sea. God sends a jet ski to rescue him, but the man says, “No thanks, I’m waiting for God.” God sends a boat and the man says, “No thanks, I’m waiting for God.” Lastly, a helicopter comes and the man turns it away. Once in heaven, he asks God why He let him drown and God said, “I sent you a jet ski, boat, AND a helicopter!” The moral of the story is, sure, there may be some divine intervention placing love in my life, but I have to do the footwork by keeping my eyes open and taking action in new situations.

If I’m not looking for love, how can I be open to it? 

Building on the God story, I could just be assuming that a love is going to be placed in my life when I least expect it. As a result of this, I may have my eyes glued to my phone at a bowling alley with friends while the lover I’m supposed to meet is one row next to me. I need to remain open to it and to me, that means looking for it in random places.

Online dating is a great way for the universe to make connections. 

As much as I’d be thrilled to meet a sweetie at a coffee shop, it’s so much more common to meet a partner through online dating. If I’m thinking that someone will just be plopped into my life, I likely won’t spend time putting myself out there on apps. Instead, I like to use dating apps. I think dating apps just provide another opportunity for the universe to connect me with a potential match.

The idea that love is effortless is a fantasy. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for fairytales, but I have no delusion that love at first sight is going to occur in my life. Hollywood has done a great job of warping our minds to believe that love is supposed to be shooting fireworks, then perfection. Saying I’ll find someone when I least expect it conjures up images of bumping into a gorgeous person at a water cooler, apologizing to each other sweetly, then swapping digits. This is not real. Love, dating, and relationships are messy, imperfect, and take effort.

This idea can actually keep me from taking an honest look at my life.

 I could use thinking that a relationship is just going to fall into my lap as an excuse to not examine my life. Maybe I’m working 80 hours a week and that’s actually why I haven’t found love yet, but if I’m just saying a mantra to myself, “Well, it’ll happen when I least expect it!” I could just be deluding myself and using this as a copout.

Part of me is addicted to the chase. 

Crushing and dating can be tons of fun. I love the high I get from being interested in someone new. There’s a rush that comes with the chase, even if the person is just going to another letdown instead of “The One.” Maybe I have a flair for the dramatic, but I love the chase, so I don’t wait to sit around and wait.

Even if that sentiment is right, I don’t want to hear it. 

Let’s say that after all of my ranting here, this commonly heard advice is indeed true. Fine, I will find love when I least expect it. When all my hope is gone and I’ve totally given up on finding a lover, one will fall into my life unexpectedly or I’ll realize I’m in love with my best friend. Even if this is the case, please stop spewing this generic advice at me. It’s not helpful… and it’s annoying.

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