‘You’ll meet someone when you stop looking for them’

How do you feel when someone says that to you?

As someone who has been single and looking for a partner for several years, it makes me want to smack the person who has said it on the nose….and I am not a violent person.

Do you feel the same way?

Why does it provoke such a response?

I think there are several reasons.

One is that is more often that not said by someone who has been in a relationship for at least a decade and has absolutely no idea of the nightmare that the modern dating world is.

But, the deeper, more poignant reason is that it is glossing over the situation you are in with a simple platitude. 

Which is generally said to make the person who is saying it feel better, but does absolutely nothing for the person who is being told it.

You see the problem is that being single and wanting a partner can be a lonely place. Especially if the majority of your friends are happily coupled up.

Yes, from the outside it may look like you have a fabulous life with time… perhaps even child free time to pursue your hobbies or do whatever you please. Which to couples who never have a moment’s peace or time to themselves looks like a slice of heaven.

They don’t see the fact that you miss having someone to share it all with. 

And they don’t understand the worst bit. 

Which is that you don’t know when it will change. 

When you will meet that person that will turn your life upside down (in a good way). 

It might be tomorrow.

It might be next week.

Next year

Or…..it might be never.

Which means that whilst you might have a full happy life, you are still missing or grieving for something that you want and that you don’t know when or if you will ever get it.

It’s called ambiguous grief. Because you don’t know when or if the situation you are sad and grieving for will end.

Which is why ‘It will happen when you stop looking’ is such a difficult thing to hear and such a careless thing to say.

Because it may happen. But you don’t know when. And it undermines the sadness you feel whilst you stop looking.

So how do we deal with this?

We can’t very well go around punching people on the nose everytime they say that…there would be alot of very sore noses and it’s not really the done thing now is it?

The answer is not just to live a full life…it helps but I suspect you might be already doing that.

Instead it’s to sit with the feeling.

Yes, possibly not fun I know.

But two things about feelings are true;

One  – feelings pass and change. 

You may be feeling terrible about it now but I promise it will pass.

Two  – let the emotion out. 

If you try to ignore emotions then they get stronger and last longer, so let it out.

Whether it’s to a trusted friend (not the one who said ‘it will happen when you least expect it’) or write it in a journal, cry, punch a cushion anything.

Just fully acknowledge the emotion. 

That will help it pass quicker.

I’ll be back next week with a way to deal with disappointment in dating.