I really hate oft repeated advice. Because if advice is repeated enough, then people think it’s a band-aid they can slap on any situation without analyzing the situation.
Pop psychology band-aid = not useful.
Also not useful: when people tell you that your significant other to end all others — “the one” — will show up when you stop looking for them.
It was so frequently repeated that I figured I should give it a try.
So I stopped looking for most of my twenties. I hadn’t really been looking very hard to begin with. I wasn’t someone who saw herself on the dating express train, destination marriage! So slowing my roll wasn’t difficult.
I stopped looking. I decided to let things be. To focus on myself. To be selfish in a way I knew would be hard with a spouse and family — to go to grad school and start a small business.
I was thrilled with the things I accomplished and I don’t regret how I spent the time, but let me be absolutely clear: no significant other magically appeared. And I’ve seen absolutely no one take a break from dating only to end up with “the one.”
The advice is a crock.
But there’s a very small kernel of very good logic in this advice.
It’s the same kernel that explains why so many people get good ideas while in the shower. When you focus, your brain focuses, but when you stop focusing, your brain continues to work on the problem in the background. By relaxing and doing something else, like getting sudsy, you’re giving your brain the space and permission to sort things out and make connections at its own pace.
This theory is then applied to dating and the finding of life-partners. If you’d just stop trying so hard, the partner will become apparent.
But this doesn’t really work when you’re looking for an emotional or social connection. If you stop trying to meet people, then most of us stop meeting people.