Love is a wonderful but complex emotion, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. Though it can be wonderful when you are in a romantic relationship, the process of finding the right partner for your needs can be stressful, filled with heartbreak, and can leave you with many questions about yourself. Why is this taking so long? Will I ever find love? You may work and work to try to find the “perfect one” (or perfect ones), but perhaps you’re starting to wonder if your true love is really out there.
There is a belief in some parts of our society that giving up on finding love is the key to finding it. The more common way to say it is, "Love will find you when you least expect it.” But is that true? There are actually cases for both sides of the argument.
It's one thing to go out looking for love; it's another thing to obsess about it. What's the difference?
If you are looking for love, it means that you are actively searching for a partner or partners who is right for you, meaning you remain open to meeting new people, going on dates, and seeing if you can find a connection with them.
Looking for love is often a positive experience. You may be eager to find the person or people who you can spend your life with. It can be an exciting experience and one that doesn't cause you too much stress. If you are looking for love in this way, you likely have realistic expectations of the kind of partner or partners you are looking for.
If you cross the line from looking to obsessing, your experience will usually look a little different. Those who are obsessive about finding love usually focus intensely on the idea of love rather than the practical experience of it.
Some people who are obsessed with finding love have an unrealistic expectation of what they're looking for or interested in. Obsession in this case might look like searching for a fairy tale, with the perfect relationship from start to finish and a flawless partner. It might also look like having incredibly specific, perfectionist standards for your partners that are nearly if not impossible to realistically fulfill. This can make it difficult for you to find real love because no one is able to meet what you're looking for.
Others who are obsessed with finding love may rush into relationships. They may be so desperate to "find love" that they end up dating people that they shouldn't, which often leads to heartbreak. Beyond that, if you become obsessed with the idea of love, you might begin to feel that you aren't "enough" so long as you're not in a serious relationship.
If you feel you may be obsessed with finding "Mr. or Ms. Right," then you might need to step back. “Giving up” on finding love can be just the thing that you need to correct your course.
Stepping away from an active search for romantic love can allow you to focus on the love you feel for yourself and strengthening the relationships of other kinds that already exist in your life.
You don't have to look at this as giving up on finding love forever, but simply as stepping back or taking a break. There is a lot more to life than being in a relationship; by stepping back, you can take some time to focus on all of those things and enjoy the things that you can do because you aren’t in a serious relationship.
On the other hand, there is an argument to be made that you may not find true love if you aren't looking for it. Many believe that if you want to find love, but decide to stop looking for it, you could pass right by a great partner every day and never notice them.
This may be true to some extent; if you don’t allow yourself to look at anyone in a romantic light, you may miss someone actively attempting to enter into a relationship with you, which can cause more frustration. To this point, it may be worth keeping an open mind rather than completely stepping away from the idea of love.
By allowing yourself to acknowledge potential partners, even if you aren’t actively pursuing a relationship, you can open the door to romances that spring up more naturally.
If you decide to keep an open mind to love, here are some tips and healthy ways to look for it:
If you are struggling with dating, talking to a therapist can help. Therapy can help you to identify exactly what you really want to find in a partner. It can also aid you in establishing important boundaries and avoiding potential heartbreak. An experienced therapist can also help you recover from the hurt that you may have experienced in your dating journey. This may be necessary in order for you to move forward in a healthy way and find true love.
Research shows that online therapy is an effective way of confronting romantic relationship issues, including emotions related to isolation and sadness. In a report published in Behavior Therapy, a peer-reviewed academic journal, researchers studied the benefits of internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (iCBT) when treating symptoms of loneliness and found that it significantly decreased loneliness in participants—along with feelings of worry and depression—and increased overall quality of life. These findings are in line with a growing body of research that points to online therapy as a highly efficient and useful form of counseling.
BetterHelp’s online therapy service can make it easier to manage mental health issues related to love. You don't have to wait for weeks or months in order to get an appointment, and if you are nervous about addressing private emotions, therapy through BetterHelp can be completely anonymous. You can meet with your counselor in the comfort of your own home and message them at any time with your questions related to love, relationships, and other complex emotions.
Whether you are going to go out and actively look for love, or stop looking and let love find you, don’t hesitate to get the help you need. Therapy can be an important first step.