Days leading up to today, Valentine’s Day, I started to reflect on my own love life, particularly the journey and lessons I learned over the years since my last serious relationship. Six years ago, I ended an on-and-off five-year relationship with my ex. Although there were some great memories, our love for one another turned into a complicated, toxic relationship. It wasn’t healthy for either of us to stay together. The breakup ended badly, and it absolutely turned my world upside down, but for the better.
After the breakup, I spent the following four years focused on myself. I enrolled and completed my second degree; worked on establishing my career; and rebuilt my social life. Within those four years of absent dating, I rediscovered myself; analyzed my past failed relationships; and observed my friends’ dating experiences, which helped me figure out the qualities I want in an ideal partner in order to have a lasting, loving relationship.
Fast forward two years ago, I decided to jump back into the New York City dating scene with some encouragement from close girlfriends. In these past two years, I’ve met close to 200 men so far (I’m still pretty shocked!). However, of those 200, I went on one-on-one dates with less than 20 of those men, and less than a handful of them made it beyond the first date. I’m not one to string someone along if my intuition tells me it won’t work out.
When it comes to finding the right person, I believe it comes down to the connection, chemistry, and shared common values. The qualities I’ve briefly mentioned earlier are important to me, but I don’t expect someone to meet all of those qualities as I know no one is perfect. However, I was fortunate enough to have met an amazing man who came extremely close to my ideal partner.
In recent years, I became a firm believer of the phrase “everything happens for a reason,” especially about those who come into our lives; and I believe I was meant to meet this man. If I didn’t go to happy hour that one fall night, and if a friend didn’t swipe for me on a dating app on my phone and then convince me to give this man a chance, I would have never ended up meeting someone amazing. Not only was he handsome, we also had an immediate connection that was undeniable. He embodied almost all of the qualities I’ve been seeking for in an ideal partner, as well as qualities I didn’t even realize I wanted in a partner before I met him. He was different from any man I’ve ever dated. I became intrigued as I learned more about him. I was certainly smitten.
I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear as my heart fluttered whenever I was in his presence. Our uncontrollable cheesy smiles and simultaneous sweet gazes were enough for me to know how we felt about one another without having to say a word. The unexplainable mutual rush of emotions, warm embraces, and tender affection felt right. Actions truly speak louder than words. For the first time in a long time, I felt connected, blissful, and safe with someone. Every day was better than the last — I was hopeful and excited about what could have developed from the strong connection we had. A man that made me ask myself: Is this what falling for the right person feels like?
Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for us. We parted ways after dating for a short period. I was left truly heartbroken, especially when my heart and gut subconsciously kept telling me our connection was rare. It was the most sincere and passionate connection I’ve ever had with someone. Although things didn’t work out the way I had hoped, I am at peace with how things were left. I have no regrets. I’m grateful to have had the incredible memories, and the opportunity to experience the “sparks” that I thought only existed in romance novels and movies. Maybe it wasn’t the right time for him and me. Perhaps he was just someone who came into my life to teach me a lesson on my journey to finding my right person. Only time will tell. All I can do is move forward, and wait for another amazing connection to come along one day, possibly a greater connection than the one I had just experienced. All in all, what I do know is my worth. I deserve to be with someone who wants to stay; someone who won’t give up so easily; and someone who loves all of my imperfections as much as I will love all of his.
The underlying lesson I have learned from dating thus far is to continue to put yourself out there and be patient. Always be open, honest, and vulnerable with yourself and with others. You’ll never know when an amazing connection with the right person will come into your life — someone who will love and appreciate all of you.