What's love got to do with it?
April 22, 2008 2:20 AM   Subscribe

Is there someplace that a hopeless romantic can go to find true love?

Are there places on the net, in the real world, where people still believe that someday, someplace, when the right time comes--you're going to meet that someone who you've been waiting for your entire life. Not someone who you have a life size cut-out of, but just a general idea of how he or she should be--kind, generous, loving, you know--the usual. Or is this asking for too much?

What I'm specifically looking for are instances of such experiences happening to people out there, who'd be willing to share it with me, to give me hope that it might not be the impossible dream that so many people say it is. (If you could recount the memory of how it all started, what your feelings were initially, and the way you feel now--I'd be very very grateful to you. Many many thanks in advance!)
posted by hadjiboy to Human Relations (32 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I found the love of my life online. It wasn't on a dating site, but in an online course. From shared interests, a relationship developed. We cared and nurtured each other, but unfortunately the timing was not right, and I stupidly ended it.

Initially, there were no feelings, just long online chats, emails, and eventually a meeting in person that didn't go all that well. The second meeting, in another country, was better, and it was here that we fell for each other.

Upon reflection, that relationship was the most nurturing, caring and sharing I've ever had, before or since. But as the song says, you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

So yes, it CAN happen. Have faith.
posted by flutable at 2:40 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

I mean, uh... yeah, of course. It's not going to happen at a specific place, though. I don't think there is a noreallyIwouldliketruelovenotkiddingthistime.com. Things like this happen while you're going through your life doing other things. You almost certainly won't meet the love of your life at a singles bar, or okcupid, or anything like that ... you meet people through friends, through hobbies or jobs or random parties with acquaintances, you realize you're both there for the same reason, she's cute you're fun, you have a sandwich and a coffee, it's sweet and nice and tadah you're in one of those relationships that they portray in indie movies staring awkward 20-somethings.

You have to start off with small hopes and small steps, though, just like anything. Neil Armstrong didn't go to the moon in 1493, he went in 1969, after many prior experiments. You can't be looking for The One True Relationship to happen out of nowhere. It grows out of small things.
posted by blacklite at 3:34 AM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Is there someplace you can go? Well, there's everywhere you do go. You may meet the person of your dreams tomorrow, or it may be decades down the track. If you strive to enjoy your life as it is, at least the wait will be fun.

I was eighteen and overseas when I met Sarah, five years ago now, and the first few days and weeks were simply a continued amazement that it kept getting better. I kept expecting that we'd reach a plateau, that the joy we'd found would settle down and reach a kind of equilibrium, but it never did.

Of course, being overseas meant that I had to come back. We did three years of long distance before we mutually agreed that the best way to make each other happy was not as separated lovers, but as friends. We've seen other people, we've lived our lives, but all along I've been sure that I'd end up with her. She'll be here in a few months, and (fingers crossed) I'll be moving to America next year.

It all started very inauspiciously, with a drunken and quickly forgotten make-out in a bar. Luckily for me, she was very persistent and over the next few days I realised that she was different, in a way I couldn't (and still can't) describe, and that what I felt with her was utterly new and absolutely amazing. The way I feel now? It's not the same giddy thrill, the intoxicating addiction that it was back then. I can live my life here without spending every moment thinking about her, which is nice. I simply know, beyond reason or logic or practicality, that I'll be with her again. That no matter what the world will throw at us, eventually we'll be together again. And that's enough. That's more than enough. When I stop to really think about what I've got with her, I realise that my initial amazement is still going. I still haven't found that plateau, that place where I stop being amazed by what we've got. It's beautiful. There are times when, down here, thousands of miles away from her, without having spoken to her in a week and with no catalyst at all, I'll think of her and an uncontrollable smile will come to me, a tear will begin to form, because I'm just so grateful for the chance to experience this joy and this love.

That may sound very trite, it may sound flowery and soppy, but it's true. Love exists. The dream is not impossible. Keep faith.
posted by twirlypen at 3:40 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I re-met an old acquaintance of mine from university by pure chance on Facebook last June and we haven't been able to stop talking to each other since. We talk for hours every day (I have an easy job!). We're on opposites ends of the planet but we know each other better than anyone else knows us. After two amazing visits, I'm moving home and we're going to start a life together.

The whole Facebook thing was a fluke. It doesn't matter where you go to find someone. What matters is who you find - someone who knows you inside and out and loves you for who you are. The important thing is to be prepared in the heart and the head and to really know who you are so you'll be ready for that person you click with when you finally meet them.

You'd be surprised where people find love. Just be open to it. Good luck.
posted by heffalump at 4:20 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I met my husband in a bar. I was with someone else. It just was what it was, almost right away. I do think you'll find someone who is right for you.

But remember-- don't stop living your life while you're waiting. Date. Spend time with friends. Pursue your interests. Live your life. Someone who seems 'on hold' is not sexy or interesting-- someone who is passionately living is.
posted by miss tea at 4:25 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sorry, just realized I didn't answer the question fully.

Initial feelings: "he's cute!"
Secondary initial feelings: "he's smart and very interesting, plus hilariously funny."
After that: "good sex!"
And then after that: lots and lots of chatting, and eating, and reading, and the Simpsons, and whatever...
Etc. We've now been married for almost 5 years and I seriously don't know how other people get by without such an awesome husband. I just feel ridiculously lucky a lot of the time.

And sometimes I am cranky, and in my head, and living my life, and not thinking about it. But that's marriage. I always come back to my absurd luck to have found the perfect person for me.

The feeling is not unique to me. People who fall in love and stay in love pretty much feel that way, I think!
posted by miss tea at 4:30 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't have a story of my own, but I met an English geologist in China (whilst working at a mine site), that met the love of his life in Peru, at first sight.

It seemed particularly "meant to be" because of the incredible experiences he had done over the years that were completely out of the ordinary to me, that he had told me about. When logic struck me, I was surprised that he was alive, but at the same time, it all made perfect sense.
posted by Submiqent at 4:39 AM on April 22, 2008

*sigh* I hate to be the voice of reason in a sea of mystics.

You'll be happier if you throw away all the preconceptions about relationships that you got from watching and reading fiction and from listening to pop radio. The only place those domains intersect reality is that the author knows what we like to hear.

It's entirely possible your aims at some Platonic ideal of love is hampering your advancement toward the only kind we ever find. You know, forest-for-the-trees, grass-is-greener and all that. Disabuse yourself of the idea that there's exactly one person in the world you could be happy with. It is possible there are zero people you find in your lifetime -- it happens to about 1 percent of us. On the far other end, if your love is one-in-a-million, that means there are six thousand people just like her.

My suggestion is to make more friends. Some proportion (call it X percent) of the population is friend-worthy, yes? I suspect that, within those friends, about the same X-percent is love-worthy.
posted by cmiller at 5:13 AM on April 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

It can happen, I'm sure of it. It hasn't happened to me yet, but I live in eternal hope.
I think it's one part luck and one part work.
I used to love reading those letters to Dear Abby or Ann Landers from the Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw would call them.
You know the letters - "I was working at the USO, and he was going to be shipped out to Europe in a week. We fell in love, we kept in contact, we got married when he got back and we've been married for 45 years."
Those types of letters.
I love reading them because they keep that hope alive, but they also show me that hard times and separation can be overcome, and that it takes damn hard work to hit that 45 year mark anniversary.
It was luck or fate that brought them together at the USO and then hard work and determination to make it work that brought them to today.
Get on with your life (work at the USO), you never know who you'll meet today or tomorrow or the next day.
Be open to the millions of possibilities that exist.
posted by willmize at 5:26 AM on April 22, 2008

Are there places on the net, in the real world, where people still believe that someday, someplace, when the right time comes--you're going to meet that someone who you've been waiting for your entire life.

I don't know. Where do 13 year olds hang out? Livejournal?
posted by ND¢ at 5:43 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: ND¢, I know the idea sounds absurd, but sometimes I find myself going through peoples blog profiles wondering, what if, I find someone that is perfectly compatible with me, and we strike up a conversation, and one thing leads to another, and before you know it, we've hit it off so well that we're practically inseperable. I wonder if that's too much of a stretch to imagine.

The reason why I'm asking this is because I don't have the freedom to go out on dates, or meet girls at bars, or other sort of situations where guys usually come into contact with girls. The only place where that might end up happening is at work, and even then it would be kind of awkward dating someone you're working with. (I have no experience in this so have no idea how it would pan out.)

As per the stuff that the others have mentioned, I'm getting the idea that I've been focusing too much on "it", rather than putting myself first and letting everything else fall into place naturally.
posted by hadjiboy at 6:07 AM on April 22, 2008

hadjiboy, here is a list of places other than dating websites and bars that my friends have met their boyfriends/husbands:

- high school
- college classes
- geeky networking meetings (install-fest for the win!)
- roommate became boyfriend
- swing dancing group
- church
- through friends

One of my friends brought me to a Canada Day party at her friends' place, and I met the guy who is now my husband. I wasn't looking for someone to date at the time, but I was rather inescapably interested in him.

One key to love at first sight is to be seen. You have to get out there and meet people. You don't have to be dating up a storm, but you can't be sitting passively in your cubicle waiting for magic to happen. The other key to love at first sight is to be seen in a positive light. This is much easier when you are relaxed, engaged, interested in your life, and happy. If you get out there and invest in enjoying your life and interacting with the world, this becomes much more possible.
posted by heatherann at 6:36 AM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

I don't think you sound absurd, just a little immature. I think that this idea that we all have a soul mate that will complete us and who we have been waiting our whole lives to meet is an invention of greeting cards and bad movies and is not how romantic love has ever really been viewed or worked up until now and I also think it does way more harm than good. See this answer. I sympathize with your feeling that you will never meet a nice girl, and I have felt that way before too, but really I was just never going to meet a nice girl by doing exactly what I was doing at the time and making no changes. You have to vary your patterns and step outside your comfort zone if you want to vary your results. Other people have offered perfectly good ways to do that. I would just hate for you to pass up a perfectly nice girl because you were waiting for "that someone who you've been waiting for your entire life." Try to find someone you can stand to sit and have a cup of coffee with first and see where it goes from there.
posted by ND¢ at 7:56 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I definitely believe that there are enough awesome people in the world that important, lasting love is available to everyone. Not only that, but I believe there are multiple possible combinations, so there's no need to worry about missing "the one" and being lonely forever as a result.

Having found one of these awesome people, my most important note would be: don't expect to know immediately that you've found them. I mean, really, what are the odds? That you found a person who works perfectly for you in a hundred subtle ways and they've somehow advertised all of those features broadly in the first hour of conversation? The really personal stuff takes some trust and digging. Because of these factors, the key is to be open to everyone. If you're having a good conversation, keep having it. Have that good conversation till it gets boring -- if you're lucky, it never will.

It's also worth considering what you mean by "when the right time comes." I think you've hit on something important there. Are you doing the internal work that means you'll be more ready to have that serious relationship once the good prospect arrives? Are you working towards becoming a better person yourself, resolving your relationship with your parents, rebuilding aspects of yourself that were damaged in your youth? Do you have solid interests that will keep you occupied while your mate is busy with her own life? Are you able to take risks and trust people?

For me, I was in a LDR with someone else when I met him, so I had that sort of safe "I already have someone great, so I can just enjoy myself with new people" mentality. I thought he was cute, interesting, and too young. By the end of the weekend we met, he felt that there was something special going on, and told me so. I thought, "Yeah, kid, whatever. It's been fun, though." It was probably 2-3 months of talking on the phone and seeing each other 6 or 8 times till I got past the "too young" thing. Basically, it took me awhile to uncover the dark parts of him, the parts that made me realize the ways that life had touched him.

(Aside: would I recognize him in a description online? Probably not. He has terrible spelling, and I'd likely misjudge his intelligence from that. Also, he shields himself fiercely in writing; it'd be very hard to get to the root of him if that was the only way to converse. I'm not sure he'd highlight and list in his profile the same things I'd highlight. Based on music and books and movies, there's very little overlap -- I had to learn to understand his favorites and he's learned to understand mine. Still, if you see someone intriguing online, why not start a conversation? Try to take it to the phone or in-person quickly, though, so you can get to know the real person as soon as possible.)

Now, after 15+ years, I would say that I feel lucky that we made it through all that time without our paths diverging. Those years had to contain a lot of self-discovery, so there was a chance that one of us would have realized we wanted remote living and well-digging while the other decided to be a big-city litigator. In some ways, I feel happier than ever because I've seen what we can do together, so that gives me a lot of hope for a bright future. On the other hand, we get older every day, so that happiness is tinged with a fear of loss. But that's a relationship for ya.
posted by xo at 8:11 AM on April 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: ND¢, you know something: that's just it, I'm so preoccupied with the concept of this bolt of lightning hitting the both of us that I kind of find a back-door way out of the whole "get to know her over a cup of coffee" routine. Hey, if you're never going to risk putting the time and effort into getting out there and willing to let yourself be judged by someone else, then there's little chance of you getting hurt by the other person and getting your heart crushed in the process--and who wants that. I think I want all the good stuff without actually doing any of the grunt work for it. Interesting. I've never quite been able to admit that to myself so easily.
posted by hadjiboy at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yeah, ya gotta stay open to the possibility of being crushed. But I always find people who've found their way through some heartbreak (ideally, to the optimistic shore on the other side) more interesting and genuine. And therefore more date-able.

Also, from what I've seen of your posts, you're thoughtful and heartfelt enough to really make someone happy. Keep at it.
posted by lauranesson at 8:31 AM on April 22, 2008

Response by poster: I think you've hit on something important there. Are you doing the internal work that means you'll be more ready to have that serious relationship once the good prospect arrives? Are you working towards becoming a better person yourself, resolving your relationship with your parents, rebuilding aspects of yourself that were damaged in your youth? Do you have solid interests that will keep you occupied while your mate is busy with her own life? Are you able to take risks and trust people?

Yeah, this is basically what I'm in the middle of, except the part about keeping myself occupied while my mate is busy--the problem is, I'm too busy "looking" for my mate. It's not that I think about her 24/7, but it's always there at the back of my mind. Any new girl I meet, will automatically flip this "is she the one" switch in my head, and I'll start going down this list of things that I'd like to have in a mate. And you know what--thank you so much for sharing that stuff about your husband and you having dissimilar personalities; I would've never understood how that would've worked if someone hadn't told me that they'd lived it. I'm usually like: oh god--she likes Scary Movie 2--no way! Not for me. (See, I don't even entertain the idea that she might just like it as some kind of a pass time, and it's not something to judge a person on. I guess I have to work on that too; not being so judgmental and having so many preconceived notions about people when it comes to their personal choices not coinciding with my own. I guess that is what a relationship is after all. Hm, I think I might've actually learnt something today.)
posted by hadjiboy at 8:31 AM on April 22, 2008

where people still believe that someday, someplace, when the right time comes--you're going to meet that someone who you've been waiting for your entire life.

I'm so utterly convinced that this does not happen to everyone, I can't find the words for it. I'm equally convinced, if not more so, that society brainwashes, nearly constantly and throughout all avenues of our lives (family, media, social interaction, et. al.), that it should happen to us, and that there is something abnormal with us if it does not.

It just doesn't happen to all of us. If you pause to think about it realistically, you might move enough out of the haze to realize that it is a scientific impossibility, on a number of levels. And the haze isn't going anywhere, when you stop focusing on that fact you'll be right back in it.

I'm not pointing this out to dishearten you, hadjiboy. I hope you find that someone, just like I hope for the happiness of many of my friends and family that are still looking for that someone. But I don't hope for myself anymore, and - much, much more importantly, I've realized that this can't be the place where you put hope. Other people will fail you. Even the perfect person for you is not *the perfect person.* That person, should you find them, is going to fail you too - and here's the kicker, they're going to hurt you more than anyone else possibly could, because of how close you let them get. The question at that point will be how far the extent of your forgiveness reaches.

Living your life in the pensive expectation that another person is going to come along some day and fulfill all your dreams and make everything that's wrong become somehow OK is a sad and disillusioned way to live life. I say that in a condemning sense, but I'm allowed to - I spent most of my adult years living that way. In a lot of ways I am still trying to break free of this mindset. Hell, if I'm honest with myself, I'm still trying to.

Why does that statement make me feel so much shame, damn it? It shouldn't. Being free to live my life here and now without hope that some other person can make things better should be an OK thing. My parents shouldn't be constantly disappointed that I never show up at the airport with another person in tow. My friends shouldn't feel like they have to find someone to join me for certain events that they're all attending "as couples" - they should either just exclude me from such events or consider their legitimacy in the first place. My sister's shouldn't get so giddy every time I have a second date with someone they've never met and who probably isn't interested in me that much anyway. My buddy's girlfriends shouldn't make a social activity of righting my glaring girlfriend deficit. The first question (or the one that's held back politely but just waiting to be asked) when catching up with old friends shouldn't be "so...is there anybody?" No. There's not anybody. There's just plain old me, still. Isn't that good enough?

I'm not mad at them. They're just hopeful for me, in the same way I am for you, and others. But its important to consider the implications of your hope, and the toll they can take on other people. Some of us have passed the distant shores of hope, and some of us can't see them anymore when we look back. Some of us want to focus on the sailing of our ship, and not worry about certain ports of call that the world expects us to reach at some point. If we haven't reached them yet, chances are we might never.

I know you said you're looking for hope. And I realize that this answer is not it. Its in many ways the opposite of what you are looking for, and in that sense my response probably merits a jessamyn-delete. But I won't take back a word I said. If you want to find hope, I hope you do find it in the other answers here - but understand this much: hope is a more dangerous thing than most of us will ever realize. And for those of us who might not see it fulfilled, it is much more crucial to have that realization, lest our ship end up on the rocks.

I hope you find love. I really do. But more than that I hope you realize that the dream is impossible, at least for some of us. It has to be.

That's what makes love the horrible, wonderful thing that it is.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:59 AM on April 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

The reason why I'm asking this is because I don't have the freedom to go out on dates, or meet girls at bars, or other sort of situations where guys usually come into contact with girls.

Human nature being what it is, people still find ways to flirt and connect even in more restricted environments. I really liked this article about flirting via text message in India:

In this romantically corseted society, Ashish Chettri is as close as you get to a Don Juan.

He is an irrepressible flirt: a skirt chaser who claims to pursue three women at a time, a loquacious utterer of compliments, a ceaseless seeker of dates.

And that is just with his thumbs.

Wanting to find true love is not an unrealistic dream. But like xo says, don't expect it to be obvious in the first five minutes. Unfortunately, unlike in the movies, when your future true love walks into the room the soundtrack doesn't start up, nor does the camera switch into soft focus and everyone else in the room recede into the background. All of the problems and difficulties of your life will still be there, and for her, too. Maybe that's why love feels so precious -- that when it works, it is working in spite of barriers and complications that should be preventing it.

Add it the questions of (and logistical complications with) things like arranged vs love marriages, intermarriage, family pressure, and so on, and this is a really tough thing to be grappling with sometimes. You have a lot of company, all over the world, in finding love to be harder than it should be.

I'd end by urging you to be a bit cynical about how "love," and "finding love," are presented in movies, blogs, and other places where people are often constructing a good story first and foremost, rather than giving exploring the complications and contradictions of how these things work in real life. What makes for a good story is not always what makes for a good life, and vice versa.

To actually answer your original question: we met when neither of us was "looking" -- open to looking, yes, but not out on a mission. We talked, there was maybe what you would call a spark or something like that, we wanted to talk more. But there were complications -- travel, family, work, all the usual. Most times, those complications would have been enough to end things before they started, but we found ways to make things work out. There was no "ah-ha!" moment where the sun came out from behind a cloud and the massed choir began to sing and rose petals fell from the sky -- there were instead a lot of points where we had to just decide to take a risk, and a lot of hurdles to cross. Going up and talking to her in the first place -- she could have been rude, right, or married, or uninteresting? Sending the first email -- what if she didn't reply? What if she hung up the phone? What if she stood me up on the first date? At every step, going forward was riskier than closing off and going your own way. But without the risk, there's no reward, and even if it hadn't worked I would rather say "I tried" than not.

I'm not sure if it is a story you can generalize a lot from, other than that perseverance sometimes can pay off, and sometimes the things that shouldn't work do. I don't know if opposites attract or not, but religion, nationality, color, and all those other things are only barriers if you let them be.
posted by Forktine at 9:07 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I didn’t go anyplace in particular to find the person I wasn’t even looking for. I figured that I’d never get married, and didn’t really want to get tied down. But, I happened to transfer to the college where my brother was in grad school. I met some of his friends, and one seemed so different. (Well, OK, they were ALL different – he collected the oddest assortment of individuals.)

Everyone else graduated except for me and this other person who I found intriguing – here was someone who was working their way through school against all odds and seemingly cheerful about it. I was just the typical bright young scholarly person who had their nose to the books and was racing my way to get out into the real world.

We hung out together occasionally. My trek across campus just happened to put me near where I knew he’d be sitting around studying, waiting for the next class. Nothing exciting, just getting to know the other person as an interesting friend who had so many of the attributes that I found missing in my character; someone who I admired.

On break from school, I went with my Mom to visit family. That was the longest trip I ever experienced. All of a sudden I was missing this special person in a way I had never missed anyone else before. (Except maybe as a little wee one who’s inconsolable when Mommy leaves you for the first time – but, hey, I don’t remember back then.) Our friendship had transformed into more. We’d never kissed at that point, but we had bonded without even knowing it.

Anyway, we didn’t ever have a true date, no movies and dinner out, etc., but we both knew it was something real. We talked about everything important in life, to little things, dreams and hopes. He filled me with the self-confidence I was lacking; I had the faith in him that nobody else ever did. It was almost symbiotic. We knew we each wanted to share our life with the other.

Neither of us were the beautiful people, but we found the grace in each other. Ours was a casual acquaintance that built into a friendship and then into a life long love that will never go away. We were each other’s first and only loves. So, perhaps there is a magical place where the hopeless romantic can go, but my singular experience is of building a beautiful relationship over time.
posted by mightshould at 9:07 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I am not a hopeless romantic. I like my single life, I have great friends, a nice apartment, and a job I like. HOWEVER, right when I wasn't looking, or even paying attention, I remembered that I had an online profile on some dating site from a few years ago. I logged on and there was this cute boy...I'm not saying this is forever and for always - maybe it will be, maybe it won't be - but so far, so good. I'm not looking to fall in love, I'm not looking for marriage, but who knows? I have many wonderful friends, but I don't frequent places where it would be good to meet someone, and so that whole world wide interweb thing actually worked out ok. Right when you're not looking or needing or wanting is often when you tend to find. And while I have heard horror stories about internet dating, I have also heard great ones. And mine is heading toward great - he's kind, generous, gentle, smart, funny, sweet, attentive and understanding. Just about everything I would want in an ideal mate. But I also haven't been waiting around for anyone; I was just living my life and presto! he showed up. We'll see, though. I think key is being happy by yourself first, and then once that happiness and contentedness is in hand, the rest follows.
posted by cachondeo45 at 9:09 AM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I know you said you're looking for hope. And I realize that this answer is not it. Its in many ways the opposite of what you are looking for, and in that sense my response probably merits a jessamyn-delete. But I won't take back a word I said.

Thanks for the honesty, it's more than I could've asked for. It's just that I have a hard time thinking that there isn't more to life than that. That that's just it. That there's no oomph, no bang, no zest for the unimaginable. You know? Where have all the grand gestures gone. It wasn't always like this, was it? Weren't there men who were chivalrous and women who wanted to be romanced... where the hell is all that stuff???
posted by hadjiboy at 9:18 AM on April 22, 2008

Its still out there. That's why you can still have hope.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:22 AM on April 22, 2008

School - specifically college. That's where I, and my children all met our/their respective spouses. Good luck to you!
posted by Lynsey at 9:41 AM on April 22, 2008

There are grand gestures out there, but they may not be as seen on TV....or in books, or bollywood. They are everywhere and you have to see them in the light of the real world we live in. Some of the most grand of all acts are conversely small and quiet, depending on circumstances. While there’s always a place for the big thunderbolt, you have to augment your worthwhile desire for a great romance with multitudes of opportunities.

You are working on bettering yourself and becoming the best person you can be – that will lead to someone new, who may know someone, etc. And, there’s nothing wrong with meeting someone at work – there are always other job opportunities at a different employer, so don’t rule that out.
posted by mightshould at 10:53 AM on April 22, 2008

Are there places on the net, in the real world, where people still believe that someday, someplace, when the right time comes--you're going to meet that someone who you've been waiting for your entire life.

Yes, many people definitely believe this, although in reality your One True Love is actually just a rounding-up of the equation AxOxCxV*, through a bunch of cognitive biases, like Choice-Supportive Bias, Confirmation Bias, Mere Exposure Effect, Outcome Bias, Status Quo Bias, and Hindsight Bias.

* where:

A = Availability (right orientation, single or otherwise open to a relationship)
O = Opportunity (right place, right time; possibility of one-on-one communication)
C = Chemistry (attraction, flirtatiousness, conversational style, plus one or two random things in common)
V = Viability (reasonably compatible career & lifestyle ambitions; lack of baggage or serious personality faults)

Each of these is expressed in the range 0-1. Optimally, the result of the equation approaches 1. Apply your biases retrospectively, and there's your One True Love.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:49 PM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I met my sweetheart at a Metafilter meetup. I thought we had good communication during our first date, and during our second I realized there was the potential for something really wonderful. It was a different feeling than I'd had before or than I'd expected. hadjiboy, you may not know her right off or you may not think she could be right for you before you really get to know her, but at the same time the fit can be better than what you'd imagined for yourself before.

I almost didn't go to the meetup that night, because I was a little tired and wasn't sure if I was up to a social gathering. I wasn't looking, either; at the time my dating card was full.

Reader, I married him. :)
posted by onlyconnect at 8:43 PM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

A lot of really good comments up above. This thread is also food for thought.
posted by invisible ink at 1:57 AM on April 23, 2008

Judging from the people around me (and from myself), you are going to screw up your first serious relationship. Dedication to True Love doesn't get you a free pass out of this (and might well exacerbate it). But you will learn from your mistakes and only through this ordeal become someone capable and worthy of that True Love that you seek.
So it would be a pity to wait for the once-in-a-lifetime bolt of lightning, as you'll only waste it by screwing things up, then be left kicking yourself for it forever - an outcome that is possibly worse than never finding that person at all.
In short, I feel that you're not a complete person until you've (at least) healed a broken heart.

So the bold of lightning may come, (or it may not) but get busy in the meantime.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:19 AM on April 24, 2008

To be honest I have to echo someone's opinions above. 'Hopeless romantic' has always been an annoying phrase that I've disliked. If you're hopeless then there is no hope, you have no hope and you're not likely to get it.

That said, I've always coined myself as a hopeFUL romantic. There's nothing hopeless about seeking someone to fall in love with. I don't hold too much credence with the love at first site lines of thinking but can you have a very strong attraction and connection with someone on a first date? Absolutely.

I think the hardest thing (at least for Americans and foreigners can back me up or shoot me down on this) is that in America our culture, media, movies etc have all groomed us to believe in these over-the-top ridiculously cheesy romantic interludes. It's unlikely your life will mirror Sex In The City (and God why would you want it to lol), or Cinderella. If some guy tries to put a shoe on your foot you might want to avoid him!

I do believe in fate and chance meetings to an extent but within reason. I'm a firm believer that God makes our paths meet with many different people, and you could have more than one soulmate. However God only presents these people to you and what you do from that point on is UP TO YOU.

Put yourself out there, and work on YOU first. The #1 key in finding someone is being good for YOU first. If you're not great for yourself you can't hardly be good for someone else. Learn that new skill you've been wanting to. Join a club. Get active and HEALTHY. While no one should base their search for a partner SOLELY on physical appearance, it helps if you aren't grossly overweight and keep your appearance and hygiene clean. Then it's really just a game of numbers, putting yourself in enough situations the have the maximum chance of meeting someone you really click with. And it can happen whether it's online, offline, in the coffee shop, supermarket, random store, Facebook, MySpace, speed-dating, blind-date, set up by a friend or family member...whatever. Love, attraction and chemistry can strike when you least expect it.

People always say you find love usually when you're not looking for it, so getting involved and making yourself an interesting person aids that whole spectrum. Remember to KEEP POSITIVE because it's not hopeless and if you become jaded, cranky, pessimistic or discouraged that will only work against you in the long run.

Good luck :)
posted by PetiePal at 11:35 AM on April 24, 2008

When I first saw Richard, about 20 years ago at college, I hated him on sight and he felt the same about me. The reaction was so visceral I have always remembered it. We never met formally, just hated one another. Four years ago, a mutual friend introduced us, and we promptly fell in love. Richard says he was too angry when we were younger and a relationship then would never have worked out, but I wonder about that. I do know that had I not been so quick to judge a stranger, my life might have been different. Keep your mind open, and good luck.
posted by Scram at 7:19 PM on April 24, 2008

Presenting: a timeline.

September 2006: I move from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

November 2006: I am bored senseless one night, and decide to take myself to one of the two local bars so I can "be out in the community." I sit there alone at a table nursing my cider for an hour, and just when I decide that I can just as easily sit at home doing nothing as I can sit at the bar, I finally notice that there are three guys the next table over, and one of them has been studying me. He finally gets up and invites me to join them. I do. Soon I am left alone with the guy who issued the invitation (I'll call him "Jim").

That's when I discover that a) he lives around the corner from me ("Yay!" I think) and b) He is married and the father of an eight-year-old ("d'oh!" I think). But we still trade numbers, because we are neighbors and Jim is friendly.

For the next several months, Jim and his family regularly invite me over to watch videos, have dinner, play cards, and the like with them, because they just like being welcoming and I'm new. Aw.

January 2007: I am coming home from work, and I see Jim out in front of the bar on my block finishing a cigarrette. I stop to say "hi" for a second, and he invites me to join him and one of his friends, "Jack," for a drink. The three of us are talking a while, but gradually Jack and I start talking exclusively to each other (at some point, Jack says something that exactly articulates my exact opinions on the HARRY POTTER book series, and I think, "....yes, THAT'S how to phrase what I've been trying to find the words for for ages.") Jim looks at his watch and says he has to leave, but please, you two, go ahead and keep talking. Jack and I keep talking for an hour, and Jack asks for my email when we bid our goodnights, but never uses it. I'm sufficiently intrigued by Jack to finally ask Jim to tell me more about him two days later -- and Jim tells me "Jack's got a live-in girlfriend." Damn, I think, and decide that that's that.

September 25, 2007: I have left an umbrella at Jim's and call one day to find out when I can retrieve it. He says that he and some friends are getting ready for a guys' night out that evening, but will be at his place until 7. I go over, and see Jack for the first time since that night in January; we recognize each other and say our hellos, and again fall into conversation. Jack asks me if I ever stop by that bar again, and I mention their monthly trivia contests; Jack says, "cool, maybe I'll stop by next time." I think nothing of it, except for, "cool, a new team member." ...Because, he's got a girlfriend, remember? ....They leave for their night out, I leave them to it.

September 28, 2007: Jim emails me to say, "by the way, Jack's single now -- want me to set you two up and see if there are any sparks?"

"...Well, this certainly changes things," I think.

I respond that yes, I would like that very much. I hear nothing more from Jim on the matter.

October 2, 2007: It's trivia night, and I walk into the bar, looking for the two college kids I usually play with. They are not there. ...But Jack IS there. Dressed up a little, and he's put his eyeglasses aside for the night and busted out the contact lenses. When I say "I wasn't expecting to see you," he says, "well, you said you'd be here when I saw you at Jim's, so I wanted to come too!"

We form a two-person team. We come in 7th, mostly because there's less competing and more flirting going on.

Two hours after the game he kisses me for the first time.

Over the next seven months: we see each other about twice a week, I've met his parents, I've fed his fish, he's fed my cat, he's come to all of the shows I've worked on, I've met all his friends, we talk on the phone each night when he goes out of town on business, we've cooked for each other, he wants to take me swing dancing, I want to take him on a trip, all my friends who've met him are more effusive in their praise of him than I've ever seen, we've spoiled each other with goofy gifts, he's consoled me about a death in the family, I've been there for him during a job change, I am growing more when it comes to how to love than I ever have in my life, he has made me think that I may want to have kids after all. At some point I hang out with Jim to catch up, and when I tell him how things are going with Jack, he just bursts out laughing and says, "shit, I just thought you two would hook up a few times, I didn't expect THIS was gonna happen!"

Epilogue: Today is our seven-month dating anniversary.

It can happen. It happens when you least expect it sometimes, but it can happen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:38 PM on May 2, 2008

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