My week shaped up a little better and ended with a nice long weekend with my favorites: Mr. X and my doggies.

It amazes me that I wrote a dating blog for so many years. Where did I find the energy? In the spirit of finding the right formula for weeding the weeds and finding the good ones, I subjected myself to all sorts of challenges: Going on as many first dates as possible but no seconds. Giving everyone a second chance. Not ruling someone out on a prescribed list of qualities I want. Ruling them out for having qualities I didn’t want. Thinking of all the approaches, all the iterations, all the advice, all the drama, it tires me. Especially when I can tell anyone who asks, that from where I sit…

All the cliches about finding love are true.

1) Be Yourself
I knew Mr. X for four years before we ever took a step in the romantic direction. Hindsight being 20/20, I often wish I could take back some of the stories I told him about my escapades with other men. But, I know that it’s the stories and their content which shaped me into who I am, and who I am is a person who he wants to be with, so did I really make a mistake in being myself?

My parents routinely tortured my brothers and I to “go to church.” There’s no way that my ideal man is at church on a Sunday morning. He’s either sleeping, or he’s working out, but I know he is not at church. And if I met him at church, you know what he would say to me once I tricked him into believing hangovers were a better way to spend Sunday mornings? “My mother wonders why don’t we go to church anymore.” Yeah. That’s a problem. Because MY mother taught me that church was a place to poach a husband. And my dad taught me that it’s a place to get free coffee. It would be a bad idea to pick someone up there, because they would always think I was religious in some way.

2) You don’t “find” love. It finds you - when you are least expecting it
Sure, there are some of you out there who put a profile up on Match or JDate and found the love of your life. You were looking and you found it. This applies to most of my friends, as a matter of fact, who are currently in love. Consider yourself really really lucky. I met my first love in a chat room. In 1997. So I’m not unconvinced it can happen, but as with everything, online life has become much more complicated. Everyone’s got their own agenda and you really have to wonder how people are successful at all in finding each other. Chalk it up to timing.

After the end of a trainwreck of a relationship, one of my best friends said, “Why don’t you take a break from dating for 6 months? I don’t want to hear anything about anyone for 6 months, can you do that?” Sure. I agreed. Hell, that was easy, I was off the hook. I was trading in my heels and lip gloss for flip flops and hoodies. That was a challenge I was more than happy to accept. I had my answer ready to anyone who asked, “I’m just not dating right now.” So easy! Why didn’t I think of that before?

One month later, I heard from an old friend who heard a rumor about me. A juicy rumor of which Mr. X and I were the subjects. I texted him to ask if he too heard this rumor. We hadn’t spoken in a while. He hadn’t heard the rumor. But the texting opened the door. It would have been easy to clarify the source of this rumor and close the door. But the door stayed open. I don’t know why, but it did. I didn’t slam it. Neither did he. And when the conversation turned from “Why do people think this” to “Maybe people think this for a reason” to “So is there something here we need to explore?” then there was a lot more that needed to be discussed.

3) Fall in love with your best friend
I already mentioned that I knew Mr. X for four years before we ever discussed “us” in any romantic context. But it isn’t just about knowing someone, it’s about knowing them. Hot Neighbor asked me how Mr. X and I were able to shift into a passionate place after being in the “friend zone” for so long. I don’t know how we could not have done this, by the time we ripped each other’s clothes off it seemed so normal.

Dating just somehow lends itself to people being either too guarded or too open. I tended toward the former in my years of dating, but I definitely heard there were plenty of the latter. {”I can’t wait to have kids” is not an acceptable statement on a first date. Or a second. Or a third. Yes, really!}

I knew things about Mr. X before he recognized them and admitted them to himself. He knows things about me that I haven’t said out loud to anyone, ever. When I point something out that he hasn’t admitted yet he says, “Get out of my head!” When he does the same to me I say, “Damn you!” We learned those things about each other long before anyone was trying to make a “good impression.”

I love when he swims around in my head and I rather love doing the backstroke inside his.

Patsy doesn’t know this but G-man told me a similar story at their rehearsal dinner. He said Patsy was the girl he just wanted to talk to about everything all the time. She was his best friend. He was hers. Now they is hitched, having babies for welfare dollars and living in Texas dagnabbit. Sorry. I went a little far with that. They are not on welfare, but they are not averse to eating at Babe’s Chicken House.

4) You “just know.”
You do. You have to be really good at listening to your instincts, but you should “just know.” (Unless you’re that person who “just knows” with everyone who trots along.)

If you wonder, then it isn’t right.

If you think, “If only he would…” it isn’t right.

If you say, “I love her, but…” then it isn’t right.

If you say, “This person makes my heart sing. They make me feel alive, better, and happier. Life without them would suck. When I see them, when they put their arms around me, when I kiss them, I feel like everything is just going to be all right,” then you know.

~~~~~

The thing is, you can listen to other people’s best advice on how to find the person you are supposed to be with. You can listen to all the tips, tricks, strategies. You can get set up on dates. You can set yourself up on dates. But you know what? All the stuff that make the cliches are founded in truth. For really good reasons.

Which cliches did I miss?