Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon

People often say, “When you’re not looking, that’s when it’ll happen.” These people are usually in a relationship.

I get it – just when you’re busy getting your life together instead of obsessing over dating, Mr. or Mrs. Right could be eyeing you from afar.

It makes sense, but the most difficult thing for me to wrap my brain around when it comes to dating is that it’s one of the only things in our lives that’s completely out of our control.

Think about it: in general, when you work hard, you know at some point, you’ll get a promotion. When you put extra time and effort into a hobby, the chances are likely you’ll get better at it.

But when it comes to romantic love, there’s really nothing we can do to ensure it’ll happen in the way we hope, or that it will even happen at all.

I wouldn’t consider myself a control freak, but when I think about all the things I try to control in dating, there’s a chance I might be.

For example, controlling where we meet someone. No one wants to meet in a bar anymore, and even online dating is considered taboo for some (I’ve done it, no judgment). I think meeting someone in a grocery store would be cool — we could bond over organic produce.

Once we meet someone, we try to control our feelings to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We also try to control who has the power in the relationship. But in the end, none of these efforts really work.

So, how can we stop trying to control one of the potentially biggest aspects of our lives? There’re a few ways, although they may not be easy.

For starters, stop wanting a relationship. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you want something, your brain automatically starts thinking about what you don’t have; in this case, a significant other. This leads to you thinking you’re not enough on your own, and you are!

Next, it’s time to invest in yourself. I don’t mean Botox or plastic surgery, I mean those hobbies you want to spend more time on. Take yourself on a date, treat yourself to an afternoon of something you like, take a class to improve a skill or plan an outdoor adventure that will soothe the soul.

The point is to fill your life with things that are going to make you happy and help you feel complete. It’ll serve as a good reminder that you don’t need to be in a relationship, and when you meet someone, you won’t come across as desperate or needy.

Once you do meet someone special, because you will, stop attaching meaning to every single thing. Try to just be in the moment, and be in the relationship. We spend so much time analyzing every little text or action, and not only is it exhausting, but you miss the opportunity to just get to know the person.

Finally, and this is a tough one for me, stop fantasizing. It’s time to see things for what they are. Your mind may wander to that fantastic kiss, but stop yourself before you’re mentally walking down the aisle. This will help you stay present, and if the relationship doesn’t work out, you won’t be working through a mind-created divorce.

Some of these are going to be difficult for me to grasp, but I feel like a weight has been lifted. If love is out of my control, then I’ve got to just throw my hands up and leave it to fate. Hey, this whole “fate” thing gives me an excuse to wear sweats more often, right?

Read more about losing control when dating on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.

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