How ‘Love Shows Up When You Least Expect It’ Is Ruining Dating

Love happens when you decide to accept the entire journey and the setbacks that it entails.

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Photo credit: iStockPhoto

By Benjamin Ritter

After enough heartbreak dating and relationships can start to put a bad taste in your mouth. You can’t imagine going on another boring date to talk about the weather, dealing with flakes if it isn’t a breakfast cereal, being ghosted when you thought everything was going great, or getting benched because someone “better” came along. It stops being worth it. Why should you spend money and waste time on something that isn’t working? You feel like giving up, and then you remember the age-old advice that you shouldn’t have to try to find love, that it happens when you least expect it.

There’s one almost-guaranteed way to know if the advice you’re getting may be worthwhile. Does it make you feel slightly uncomfortable and does it make you feel more accountable? If it doesn’t, don’t follow it. “Love happens when you least expect it” is another way of phrasing, “I give up.” It gives you an excuse to stop trying, to let go of any personal accountability, and to feel comfortable in your disappointments.

Tired of boring dates? Only hang out with friends. Do people keep flaking? Stop planning anything. Are you having people ghost you or bench you for apparently no reason? Stop having expectations for anyone. Just give up.

It makes sense why this advice has become popular; it’s easier. The self-help, dating and relationship advice arena is filled with advice like this, and it’s ruining dating and relationships. You can’t achieve something if you don’t work towards it. Setting the mentality and expectation that love happens when you stop looking only sets you up to not meet anyone. No prince charming. No princesses. If you give up, you get exactly what you would from every area of your life, nothing.

There’s only one sure way to find love, and that’s to look. It won’t be easy. You will get disappointed, flaked, ghosted, benched, and so much more, but at least you’re on a journey towards finding what you want. The search for love is not supposed to be easy, because that’s what teaches you what you’re actually looking for. If you didn’t get lost, distracted, and sometimes even tricked into thinking you found love, you would have no idea how to differentiate from all of the options that are out there. This is why, no matter how disappointing your past or present experiences may seem, they should be viewed as a gift. Each one brings you closer to the end of your journey, but only if you don’t give up.

Love happens when you decide to accept the entire journey and the setbacks that it entails. That should make you feel uncomfortable, and that’s how you know you’re on the right path. You are accountable for your own success, and the only way to find what you are looking for is to get out there and keep looking.

Look and you will find it — what is unsought will go undetected.” — Sophocles

This story was previously published on The Good Men Project.

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