How To Develop Patience In The Taxing Dating World As A 20-Something

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Oh, love: Everybody wants it, many desperately.

We date avidly in the ongoing search for love. It’s such a powerful emotion; people have tried for years to understand it. There’s no reason to try, however, because there’s no way to ever get a grasp on it. Everyone has his or her way of showing love.

So, why is it so hard for us to accept it as is? Why is the dating scene so complicated? Now, I say this because the journey to love sometimes becomes one of tedious searching, endless dates, empty one-night stands and a lot of bluffing.

If you are a straight male, you likely deny even the slightest acceptance of the word. You try to act macho and put down the fact that you have a lady in your life. You admit it with complete anger that you are in love, and constantly try to appear dominant.

Then, there’s the hopeless romantic, the one who wants love so badly he thinks he is the guy every girl wants. He likes dating, freely-thinking each time, "This is the one." He works hard all of his life to be a good guy, but when things don’t work the way he planned, he’s in denial. He stays in bad relationships hoping it will just be a rough patch. Most of the time, even when it doesn’t work, and it’s obvious, he still holds on to that hope.

Girls are more in tune with these emotions, but they mostly look for it so intensely, the dominant male feels put off. Independent women are too busy to waste time trying the dating scene, since it’s not part of their plans. But they try, often leading hopeless romantics on, while looking for ambitious men.

This where the toxic cycle starts, the mismatch of personalities that happens out of the desperation of finding the right person is staggering. In big cities, the amount of broken hearts that walk beside us increases every moment.

The thing is, almost everyone wants to fall in love. Everyone wants to go home and cuddle with somebody and have somebody to lend a hand. But, that one person is not every person with whom you go out.

Not every date turns into a love story. Most people let themselves sink in a hole when all they need is to let it be. The key to finding the right person is perfectly described with one word: patience.

Oh, right! Like we haven’t heard that before. The right person is out there for you; you hear it every time you go through a break up. Every time you throw yourself in the dating sea, you come up with nothing. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but how do you fish?

When you fish, do you desperately throw the hook at any part of the water and bring it back up right away? If you do that, you may get algae, but most likely, you’ll get nothing other than a fledgling moment of getting wet and coming back empty.

What you do is you sit and wait. Sometimes, you get fish you don’t want to keep and you set it free. You know if you wait long enough, if you have patience, your catch may be greater. Your catch might be the one of a lifetime. So, why act differently when it comes to dating?

Patience is everything, and I learned that the hard way. I was a hopeless romantic that swam with a spear trying to get the best catch. I was constantly flailing and becoming more cynical, treating people like they didn’t deserve to be treated.

I blamed my next hookup for the last one not working, till I became empty. I was in a seven-year relationship that lasted at least three years too long. The girl was wonderful, but it wasn’t the right time, and we weren’t right for each other.

Once I reached a certain age, I thought this was it. I finally broke it off and found myself in a two-year affair with my best friend who had a boyfriend at the time. Let’s just say that didn’t end well for anyone involved. I had no patience.

Once I moved to NYC, I got into a relationship with this gorgeous law student. If I thought the affair was bad, this literally destroyed my idea of love. We were on and off for the better (or worse) part of a year. I went through the "slut period" after each breakup, feeling worse and worse, while other males praised me for sticking it in anything.

I lived for that praise because somebody needed to validate what I had grown to hate. The idea of dominance left me to refuse submitting to love, and all I got was a lot of relationships that overstayed their welcome.

It was when she broke off the relationship, which I was very happy about, that I let finally myself think, “I don’t need it. It will come.” That freedom was something I never knew. I didn’t even want to sleep around; I was ready to love myself and to submit to the idea of patience.

It didn’t last long. A month later, one of my best friends and somebody I was already developing feelings for, came back from her trip to Europe. I didn’t force it; I didn’t try to make it work. It just happened.

We hung out every day until every day became connected. We started dating without even knowing it. Since the summer of 2011, we haven’t left each other's side. We are friends with each other’s friends; we like to talk and joke around, and we have our own lives outside of each other.

Once I let go of the idea of dominance and the idea of fixing broken things, I found what that powerful emotion really feels like. I had no idea because I never really felt it before this way. I had loved before, don’t get me wrong, but not like this.

Maybe I’m wrong -- I probably am -- and everybody has his or her own individual journey. What I’m here to say is that the rules you think apply to this quest, don’t. There are no rules, only emotions and reactions until something falls into place.

What I’m telling you is to have patience; believe you can be loved correctly and wait for the person who does just that. It’s okay to date, to have fun, to have heartbreaks and to cry. In the end, nothing is secure, but when you find the right person, you will know that moment has turned into a lifetime.

Photo Courtesy: Fox Searchlight Pictures/500 Days of Summer