Love is hard to find – and harder to keep! Even if you happen to enjoy amazing chemistry, the timing probably will be wrong. Or she’ll get bored. Or he’ll give in to his commitment phobias, right? It’s amazing anyone manages to couple up at all.
No matter how positive you try to stay, it sometimes feels impossible not to get beaten down by this scarcity mindset. Well-meaning friends and family chime in, “Hang in there! We know it’s hard (optional: at your age).” They blame the Internet. Rudeness. Communication problems. Society. Instant gratification. Men. Women. They tell you about the aunt who finally found love after looking for eight years – or the widowed neighbor who didn’t find it at all and decided to be happy being alone.
Sometimes we unknowingly slip into such negativity, muttering “Why IS this so difficult?” as we trudge to the car after a ho-hum date or scan our inboxes in search of the match who seemingly disappeared into thin air.
Or there’s this fun report to make any ambitious woman cry into her pumpkin spice latte: The new book by financial journalist Jon Birgir called Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game, which informs us that women are outnumbering men at America’s colleges. The message: Educated women will have to fight each other for a dwindling pool of eligible men. If they can even land them! Other articles tell us that men are too busy swiping left and right to be interested in real relationships.
It doesn’t matter that these men might attend college later or maybe bypass formal education altogether to start businesses or join the military. Whatever the case, the author is probably right in that they’re not all hanging out at wine bars in Manhattan.
Fear is powerful, and when you’re feeling discouraged, it’s easy to create your own bleak reality. You don’t really notice your Facebook feed bursting with engagement announcements or wedding photos when you’re busy detailing why dating is so miserable.
1) Get a reality check.
All it takes is an afternoon watching couples troll Costco arm in arm in search of free samples to realize that romance is not dead. They’re probably not any more attractive or have any better relationship skills than you. Maybe they got lucky or maybe they’re like people who have jobs: They made the effort to find what they wanted.
2) Update your assumptions.
Remember that horrible Newsweek cover from 1985 claiming that a woman over 40 had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married? Not only was that ridiculous statistic completely disproved 20 years later, it turns out that the current dating options for both men and women in their 40s are actually kind of awesome.
Why? Many people who were married in their 20s and 30s are going through divorces and are back on the dating market.
It’s the same story for people 50 and older. Who would have thought that the online dating market among seniors would be one of the fastest growing in history?
3) Don’t live in a Tinder world.
If you’re serious about finding a romantic partner, it makes sense to go where they are, such as a dating site like eHarmony that attracts marriage-minded people. If they take the time to fill out questionnaires and correspond at length with matches, they probably believe that finding love is possible. Hang out with them!
Love is everywhere. All the good ones haven’t been taken. Or if they once were, they’re back out there looking for a similar good catch. It might take some time – and some occasional disappointment – to figure out who you’re a good fit with. But that doesn’t mean love is hard. It’s just finicky and worth getting right.
That’s a better story to tell yourself.
Do you think love is hard to find?
About the Author:
Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.