Love is a tricky topic when it comes to whether it'll find you without actively seeking it. Many people believe that if you simply focus on living and pursuing your interests, love will eventually find its way to you.
A friend of mine, *Eliza, 31, takes this belief to heart. She’s absolutely convinced that she’ll find a partner naturally, without resorting to dating apps. So far, Eliza hasn’t been on any dates or been in a relationship because she believes the right person will show up to ask her out. (You can read more about singles who never considered dating until their early 20s.)
“My ideal scenario would be to meet someone through the church. At least then, I’ll know we share the same faith and priorities,” she tells me.
To be honest, I used to be a firm believer in this theory too. Perhaps it’s all the romantic comedies and TV series I used to watch, but I used to think that the only way I would meet someone was through a meet-cute or a blind date set up by a friend who truly knows me. Otherwise, it was going to be through work. Unfortunately, I don’t come across many guys in my field of work.
On the other hand, others argue that you need to actively seek out love to find it. They believe that swiping away on dating apps, constantly going out to meet other singles, and joining social clubs that organise frequent activities are the best ways to find love. Essentially, they make conscious efforts to put themselves out there. Some also go out of their way to pursue friends of friends. While it might seem a bit excessive, but for some, it works like a charm.
“I think when you tell your friends that you’re looking for a relationship, they’re going to be on the lookout for you. I think it’s also about manifesting that a relationship will happen,” says *Sally, 29, who met her husband through mutual friends. “When I was single, I told my friends I really wanted to be in a relationship and used dating apps to meet people. I’d like to think that the energy I spent looking for someone was what brought *Isaac to me. In a way, I manifested a relationship and worked towards it.”
No one-size-fits-all solution to finding love
The truth is, while I may have a soft spot for the first option, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to finding love. To some extent, I agree that if you're serious about finding a partner, you’ll have to put in some effort. To me, it’s like trying to get a promotion at work – rarely does a promotion come without you actively seeking it out.
According to Dr Joshua Klapow, PhD, psychologist and creator of MentalDrive, it’s possible to find love even when you’re not looking for it. “It’s possible. And it really means, looking for a meaningful relationship. We can hope for love, wish for love, but love is something that evolves through emotions, connection and conversation,” he explains.
However, he says there’s also a caveat when using dating apps. “While dating apps increase our exposure to people, they may not lead for more intimate connections. To find people, you have to put yourself in situations where [those connections] can happen.”
One piece of advice I often give my single friends is to avoid forcing a relationship, and take breaks in between extended periods of casual dating. Often, in the pursuit of finding the one – or even just affectionate and companionship – we lose ourselves in the process.
Personally, taking breaks between bouts of serial dating gives my mind a break and prevents me from unnecessarily obsessing over the need for a relationship. It can also prevent you from lowering your standards and meeting people for the sake of it.
“I always thought that dating was a number and probability game so the more people I met, the quicker I'd find the one,” says my best friend *Natalie, 26. “When I was single, I would go on dates with almost any guy who asked me out because after each date was done, I felt that I was getting closer to finding the right person,” she shares. “In the end though, I got really tired after a while and felt that my social battery was drained.”
Desperately looking for love can also create certain types of impressions.
“Once, I met a girl who was so eager for a relationship that after our first date, she was already asking if we could plan to meet every few days,” says *Roy, 33. “While it was nice that she was so direct about her feelings, it made me uncomfortable that she wanted to meet so frequently at such an early stage.”
Roy was so turned off by the behaviour, he ended things with her.
To foster more intimate connections, Dr Klapow suggests putting yourself in situations where they can flourish.
“That doesn’t mean having to go to clubs or bars. But it can mean letting friends know honestly that you are looking to meet people. It means going to parties and gatherings that may not seem ideal at first, but could be a place to meet someone new. It means, making sure you are out and about, and connecting with people for various reasons, not just in search of a relationship. The more you connect with other people on any level, the higher your chances of meeting someone special.”
(*Names have been changed and details have been modified upon request.)
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