How To Meet The Love Of Your Life

Think back to a time before you could really love someone. Think back to elementary school when everyone was on an equal playing field, when attractiveness didn’t matter because you just weren’t sexual enough to care. Remember feeling safe in the asexuality and relieved that there’d be no judgments about your hair, skin, and body. Pray that it would stay this way forever. Dread the moment people start to acknowledge each other as body parts that could give them pleasure. Then have your worst fears confirmed and get left behind.

Come into your own when you’re in college and fall in love with someone. Have it happen very fast, like brief flashes of light, and watch it end before it ever really begins. Maybe it lasts six months, maybe it lasts two years. The actual length doesn’t matter because when it’s all over, it will feel like the realest thing that’s ever happened to you.

Assume that you will just get into another relationship. Isn’t this how it works? Someone loves you once so somebody else will surely do it again. You have the mark now. You have the “I’ve been in a relationship before and it was pretty healthy and good, so don’t be scared. Loving me is totally do-able!” mark. People will see you and they’ll just know. They’ll know your lovable.

Something happens. Maybe you graduated college and lost your strong network of friends. Finding a relationship is harder now. You actually have to work at it whereas before it usually just fell into your lap. You’re no longer guaranteed to meet new people. Your life isn’t as open as it used to be. Working to be social. What a strange concept.

Float through the days. Watch yourself become more and more locked up. Flinch when someone brushes your shoulder on the street and marvel at what you’ve been reduced to. You’re someone who once had amazing sex and been in love and now you’re getting your breath taken away by a passing stranger. How does one get to this point? Is it possible to find your way back? Is it possible to have a healthy amount of sex again and not give a crap if someone brushes your body at a bar. After all, it’s just touch.

Yes, you can. You can meet the love of your life. You can meet them in a bookstore, in a coffee shop, at a party, at a bar, through friends of friends, on the Internet, whatever. The trick to finding this person though is to never resign yourself. Never let the lonely days swallow you up, never accept that you’ll just be one of those people who doesn’t get to be loved. Because the second you start believing it, it can become true. That’s the scary part. How quickly days can turn into years. Just like that. I’ve always said that the whole “love comes to those who aren’t expecting it” is BS. Who ISN’T expecting love? I didn’t expect love for two solid years and guess where it got me? Celibacy. You should always expect to be loved, you should always expect to find somebody to love because if you don’t, you do get your worst fears confirmed and then you’re a goner. Then you’re denying yourself what you deserve. What you can certainly have. TC mark

image – Nicolo Patermoster

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Ana Gupta

    Have I told you lately that i love you?

  • Justin

    So fantastic and relevant.

  • Meghann

    This is awful.

    • Guest

      Cool your jets, hon. 

  • Brian

    I actually really liked this, thank-you.

  • Anonymous

    Really encouraging, thank you.

  • Selizabethward

    Thank you.

  • bee

    what is my circa 2003 livejournal entry doing here?

  • Gmo Saza

    Um, yeah, I’m still waiting for you to tell me how to meet her.

  • stella

    what if im just ugly

  • RR

    I loved this article. And when I scrolled up again to see who had written it, as expected, my favourite writer on the site. Thanks Ryan for this beautiful piece. (:

  • Chloe

    What if you don’t “come into your own when you’re in college and fall in love with someone”?  What if that’s just something that happens to other people?

    • Anonymous

      Then you are just like me and (probably/hopefully) many other people. But once it has to happen to us again, right? RIGHT?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GJVNBI5KPPLEZOIMSJEP3A7I3Q Kaitlyn

      Maybe one day we’ll be the “other people.” The only thing that keeps me going is the hope that the awful feelings I get when I see friends get into relationships over and over again while I’m pathetically, endlessly single will be worth it one day. 

      • Chloe

        Maybe.  Or maybe not.  On the one hand, I could optimistically think that just because it’s never happened to me doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen.  OR I could use the negative logic that if it was going to happen it would have happened by now, and view the fact that I haven’t loved/been loved as evidence that it’s not probable/possible.

        Very confusing.  And such a downer, I know.

        I’m a year out of college and working in a very corporate environment in a new city.  At my firm, there’s a seemingly endless stream of news about new relationships, engagements, weddings and maternity-leave-taking.  It’s “normal” to start on all that stuff in your mid-twenties, I guess.

        Someone asked me at what point in the future I’ll be upset with being single (what a douchebag).   I’m 24.  Should I set a deadline, like To Do: boyfriend by 25?

  • Genovese

    Oh how I wish there was a time in my life that looks didnt matter, unfortunately not all of us have that luxury. 

  • Christinaminouye

    i think you’re the love of my life

  • Anonymous

    “Just like that. I’ve always said that the whole “love comes to those who aren’t expecting it” is BS. Who ISN’T expecting love?” You used exact the same sentences in an older article. Still true though.

  • Devi

    You will be loved Ryan, you’ve got the mark.

    Thank you for re-affirming my belief in possibilities. We’ll go on expecting :)

  • SAM

    “I didn’t expect love for two solid years and guess where it got me? Celibacy.”
    LOVE

  • SuzyMcL

    Although there may be  people who criticize your writing Ryan, please ignore them.  I don’t even have the “come into your own college experience” but 
    this really helped me with where I am at in my life right now.  Thank you. 

  • JessSaysHi

     I wasn’t moved. I mean, its not bad it just didn’t really hit me, I didn’t feel that connection. It felt more like an essay out of a self help book.

  • hank

    “You can meet the love of your life. You can meet them in a bookstore, in
    a coffee shop, at a party, at a bar, through friends of friends, on the
    Internet, whatever.”

    It’s so easy in theory. Pragmatically it just seems so difficult. Maybe that’s a hangup I need to get over.

    Great article, though. I want to be loved again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I’ve met the love of my life and I owe it all to you!  I’ve been waiting for so long.

  • http://twitter.com/AllanStruthers Allan.S

    I’m 18. 
    Why are you scaring me like this?

    • Lak

      Same age, same thought. Yeesh.

    • Enny

      Ditto.

  • ABBY

    “Never let the lonely days swallow you up, never accept that you’ll just be one of those people who doesn’t get to be loved.” Sorry Ryan but this is real life and some people don’t get to be loved.

    • ariel

      I’m on Ryan’s side, be an optimist. 

      • ABBY

        Oh don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great article and it’d be nice for everyone to be able to get what they want through positive thinking. But, it’s a sad fact that not everybody gets love, even just once, or a happy ending.

      • ariel

        I think he realizes that and so does everyone else but there is still something to be said about having optimism that it will come or else you may just become complacent. You have to be delusional or you’ll never fall in love.

        And maybe I’m insane but it does seem that loving happy people find love in all kinds of forms.

      • ABBY

        Surely being optimistic and becoming complacent are the same thing? Not the opposite. You become complacent that you’ll find love, when in fact it might never happen. Not everybody is capable of deluding themselves. I’m not hating on the article, I’m just saying.

      • leero

        How old exactly are you? I think you’re still too young to give up on love

      • ABBY

        I didn’t say that I personally have given up on love, whatever that is. Just that sometimes it can be more harmful to presume that it will happen for you, like it does in the movies, and that really people should find other ways to fulfill themselves. I can’t say that I wish for anyone to not find a kind of love that makes them happy.

    • Lak

      This part scared the shit out of me, I’m 18 and I feel like I’ve hit the lonely days already. How is that possible? Am I going to die, alone and loveless? AAAAH!

  • http://twitter.com/dietblonde Elizabeth

    Hahaha, is this my problem? thinking I’ll be single for a while. But I’ve actually been very hopeful. 

    I think the next time a dashing stranger brushes against my shoulder I’m just going to make out with him. it’s what I should’ve done the other night on the subway. 
    I need more Ryan O’Connell thoughts to inspire me out of my rut!

  • Kirstie

    “They’ll know YOUR lovable”? Sorry, couldn’t let that one slide.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly what I was going to point out.

  • http://artfeedsmia.blogspot.com/ mia nguyen

    I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU RYAN.

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