Don’t leave everything up to fate.
How was your love life in 2018? Mine was, for the most part, quiet. Really quiet. Save for an unexpected vacation fling, I had a lot of solo time. I don’t lament over this – there were a lot of moving parts in my life: management changes at my day job, living alone for the first time, navigating mental health challenges….much of it felt like work I needed to do on my own. With the new year here, I think about the one thing I never plan for – my love life.
The start of the year is a natural time to consider wins and losses from the previous year. So I think about the things that went well for me in 2018:
I got out of my comfort zone. Casual sex interests me a lot less than it used to, so I don’t seek out hookups anymore. When I went to visit an east coast friend over the summer, I met someone. We hit it off really well, exchanged numbers, and saw each other one last time before I went home. I had a spectacular night and morning.. I causally follow my fling on Instagram, but it’s not that serious. And that’s okay. Because now, I’m thinking about all the things that would happen if I made more of an effort to do stuff I typically wouldn’t. I would certainly meet more people, or at least have some good stories.
I’ve been on a self-imposed app hiatus. I still prefer to encounter people IRL, but that doesn’t happen too often. So what’s the harm in getting back on Tinder (gulp) and scheduling a date? I’m not going on there to hook up, which may present some added challenges, but better than my go-to Friday night standard (i.e., wine and celebrity gossip channels. Yes, I’m that boring).
I wouldn’t say that my romantic life was a failure in 2018, simply because I didn’t set any goals.
Life overwhelmed me. If not for my summer fling, 2018 would have been a totally dateless and celibate year – not always a bad thing, mind you. But I know that’s not what I want for 2019. I know I want meet new guys – on dinner dates, dive bar hangouts, movie outings, and other low-key commitments. I don’t believe in setting deadlines on when to find the love of my life. But I do believe in timing. I do believe that things happen when they are meant to happen. I also believe that life only gives you as much as you put in, and I put very little towards my love life in 2018.
So, if you’re like me, thinking about ways to shake up your love life in 2019, I have some ideas:
Figure out your long-term dating goals.
Just because you’ve been single for a while doesn’t mean you don’t want to get married someday. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to build a family with someone. As a woman who’s used to being single, I get stuck in the mindset of “I may be single forever. And that is ok.”
Is it really okay for me? Living alone is great right now, but I don’t want to live alone forever. Buried in layers of practicality lies a soft romantic inside of me. Get real with your inner romantic and get real with your hopes and dreams. Sometimes just writing out the love you want for yourself will make it feel more real.
After that, you can set clear goals for yourself next. They don’t have to be time-sensitive, like “find a boyfriend by June.” Good luck with that. But they can be smaller, more attainable things. Like go on a date a month. Or sign up for a foreign language class. Or fit more sessions at the yoga studio into your calendar. These are all measurable things, and things that will get you to meet more people.
All goals don’t have to involve meeting people. Look inwards too. If you have some personal baggage that’s been holding you back, work on that. Find a therapist online or in-person. Reflect on past relationships and the mistakes you won’t make again. Therapy has forced me to be honest about the love that I want for myself, but don’t feel like I deserve (ouch). Working on personal hang ups will only make you a better person – and romantic partner — in the long run.
The universe listens to us when we’re proactive about what we want. Love is all around us. We just have to prioritize it. One of my favorite self-love affirmations is “I Choose Love.” Remember that in 2019. Choose love more often.