You’re beginning to feel like “settling” for someone is no longer the least appealing option.
Here’s the big secret nobody writes in love stories: you soul mate isn’t someone you meet. It’s a relationship you build by spending every day together and learning each other inside out, without the pretense that you should just be “perfect” for one another. It’s usually what happens once you lose the person you think is your soul mate, based on a totally arbitrary set of ideas you had about what the love of your life “should” be. Your soul mate relationship is something you create.
You’re re-considering what you once thought your “deal-breakers” were, you’re opening up to different kinds of people and “types.”
Is it *that* important that your partner has dark hair, or works in accounting, or went to a certain type of school? Are these the things that really help you connect with a person, or are these the things that help you love the idea of a person? When you’re ready to open up to love in whatever form it comes in, rather than just evaluating every person who meets some insanely shallow set of standards to see if they will love you, you’re ready to actually find them, not someone who just looks nice.
You wouldn’t mind being single for a little bit.
In fact, you’re at the point where you know exactly how you’d like to spend said single time. This means that when you are trying to find a partner, you’re not just trying to fill a hole in your heart. You’re developing compatibility.
You’re starting to give up.
When people “give up” on love, they begin investing in themselves. It’s only when they start developing who they are as individuals that they do the work that being single is designed to do: make you the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, and the person that the love of your life, loves too.
You’re coming off a string of major disappointments and failed relationships.
Though this is often when it most seems like there’s no hope, it’s only when people get fed up that they stop playing games, and wasting their time on people who aren’t emotionally or otherwise available to them.
You’re beginning to understand the most fundamental part of human dating: if they want you, they’ll be with you. If they don’t, they won’t.
If someone is interested in you, they’ll call. If someone is into you, they’ll try. If someone loves you, they will be with you. Anything else is a half-assed, secondhand, stand-in, weak excuse for “love.” It’s not until you understand this brutal truth that you’ll really be able to decipher between who wants you for real and who wants you to fill a hole in their heart and a space in their lives.
You’ve stopped taking dating so personally.
When a relationship doesn’t work out, you understand that it’s because you just found yourself in a mis-match. Being paired with the wrong person doesn’t mean you are inherently less worthy, or that there’s something wrong with your side of the equation. It wasn’t adding up because you weren’t right together, not because you’re not right at all. Understanding this is the key to being fearless. Being fearless is the key to finding your life partner.
You’re beginning to understand what love is because you’ve had to learn what love isn’t.
Most people are in love with the idea of love – the all-consuming, endlessly validating, permanent fever high we think will excuse us from our daily anxieties and mortal fears. But with time, you begin to realize what’s really beautiful about companionship, which is that it is selfless, and it makes your life about something greater than just you. It takes being shown what love is not to learn what love is, and most of the time, it’s the last lesson we have to learn right before it shows up.