Two weeks ago in the New York Times, Sara Eckel described how difficult it was to explain to her dates that she hadn’t had a serious boyfriend in eight years. EIGHT YEARS.
One of her dates actually asked her: “What’s wrong with you?”
“I don’t know,” she answered.
Eckel worked hard to fill her life with activities to avoid the pain of being single. She writes “I went on Internet dates, speed dates and blind dates. I had great hair and a confident smile. But I was still alone. And in the dark of Saturday night, I still asked myself, ‘What’s wrong with me?’”
After dating her future husband for a month, she revealed her eight-year relationship drought. “Lucky for me,” he said, “all those other guys were idiots.”
To him, she was not a problem to solve, or a puzzle that needed working out. She was the girl he was in love with.
This article has been a very popular one – one of the most emailed New York Times pieces this week – because it pretty much says that you will fall in love and that nothing has to change. Who wouldn’t like that message?
And while I’m pretty sure I’m not “The Man” she refers to in the article, the tips she mentions to finding love aren’t necessarily bad ones. Furthermore, there is no love without opportunity, and though the author seems to think that it just happened when she met the right guy, it REALLY happened because she went through that process of learning and dating and soul searching. Ms. Eckel didn’t just sit on her ass, complain that men suck, and give up on dating. Even if she didn’t have to fundamentally change who she was, she had to have enough experience to appreciate the good man who finally appreciated her and wanted to lock her in – instead of bailing on him because he was “too nice” or “safe” or “boring”. This, by the way, is essentially half of my message – appreciate the man who appreciates you (the other half being “be the best partner you can be”).
So, do you feel like Sara Eckel? Do you think that it’s silly to try to do something different to achieve a different result? Do you think that the best way to fall in love is just be yourself and hope?
I don’t believe this at all – Ms. Eckel did indeed get lucky – but I can acknowledge why women have been passing this article around like a joint. The best kind of change is the one that you never have to make.
Read the piece here and share your feelings in the comments below.