At any give time since I was about 14, I thought I was ready to fall in love. Through high school crushes, adult heartbreaks and many others in between, I always stuck to the idea that I wanted to fall in love and be in a real relationship but yet seemed to be jinxed.
Unlucky. A hopeless disaster. I even had a few years where the old song “But Not For Me” was my theme song. I laughed about it with friends, joked about it with strangers and secretly would cry about it alone.
A few weeks ago, I went back to my alma mater for my college reunion and it brought back the memory of a pretty embarrassing moment that reminded me of time when I felt that love was “not for me.” But really, it was. I just wasn’t ready…
I met J through my friend Beth junior year. She was “dating” one of his friends and he and I got stuck hanging out at after bars when they would sneak off to “date.” J was from the area and had moved back after college so he was a little older. (OK, 25 is not really older and the elderly jokes were probably pretty inappropriate.) He was cool, funny, a photographer and easy on the eyes. I instantly liked everything about him. We started hanging out.
He was different from boys my age. He actually asked me to do things. Real things. He would take me to dinner and have conversations about stuff that didn’t have to do with school. He even drove me a few hours away to visit my best friend in Madison. We always had great conversations and he made me think outside of my college bubble. It was refreshing, delightful and scary as hell!
I do not know when it happened but all of a sudden, I got nervous. Real nervous. It hit me that I could actually like this guy. Not just like him from far away or have an unrequited crush on a guy friend that I knew would never turn into anything. In all of those situations my heart was safe. I could actually like-like him.
So I did what any sane woman would do: I blew him off. That’s right, I just stopped answering and returning his calls. Awesome, right? I know, I am really proud.
Months later, I finally grew the nerve to sheepishly smile and say hello when I saw him out. I felt terrible and feared that he hated me. In fact, it took until I was writing this very article for me to finally apologize on Facebook. Still a little douchey, I know.
It seems almost laughable to me now how much I was the loser in that scenario. I always blamed love, but it was not love’s fault; it was me who acted like an 8th grader and stopped taking his calls. It was me who did not realize that great guys like him don’t actually grow on trees or come along every day. It was me who watched him a few months later start dating my dorm room neighbor, eventually marry her and have an adorable son. I, who most of college, bitched with my friends every day about being single, did not put on the big girl pants when something great actually showed up.
Before becoming a full-fledged dating coach, I had to do some pretty dark digging to really step back and become aware of why I was single when most of my friends weren’t. That process brought me back to J and many others like him. At any given moment that I was ”looking for love,” great guys were showing up. It is just that I wasn’t actually ready for them. I always had lots of excuses (he is too nice, I am not sure I really feel the spark or some other bullsh*t) that didn’t really allow me to give them a chance.
Plus, there was always a cute, clever guys around the corner that had zero interest in committing to me.
Don’t worry though – I would stick around awhile, hoping that they would come to their senses and realize how amazing I was. Meanwhile, I never came to my senses and realized how great the nice guys were. The ones who cared about my day, listened to my problems, called when they said they would and genuinely were interested in creating a relationship with me. Not some “are we dating or just hooking up” sh*t.
So ladies, I pour my heart out in these articles to help you step back in your own lives and ask yourselves: are you actually ready for love or are you hitting your head against the wall, crushing on guys that are never going to go anywhere? Dating a**holes and hoping you are happy? Sitting, waiting for texts that may or may not come? Saying, “but I love him” and knowing on the inside that nothing you have resembles love?
Here are a few questions to ask yourselves to find out if you are ready for love:
1. Are the type of guys I am attracted to capable of creating a good relationship with me?
2. Have I ever let a great guy go because I was too nervous or scared?
3. Do I like myself enough to be in a good relationship?
Not to get all cheesy, but love is not going to let you down. When you keep an open mind and love yourself, great guys are going to come around. Your job is to put on the big girl pants and find the strength to accept it when it does. It is the best thing you could ever do. But don’t worry if you aren’t ready quite yet; that is OK too. Just work on liking yourself, finding out what you like and don’t like, and seeing the “diamonds in the rough.” And make sure you stay away from becoming a Bitter Betty while you figure it all out.
Trust me, if you let it, love will show up.
Need a little help? Crush Camp is right around the corner and we have a few spots left. Start changing your love life this summer.