In our search for love, all too often we look for “breathless” instead of values and stability because many of us were raised to believe in Prince Charming. There would never be such a thing as the dreaded weekends alone. However, consider this. Home alone on Saturday night might be a time for effervescent possibilities.
We had an Aunt Virginia who insisted that we go to bed each night wearing a pure silk nightgown, a splash of Joy, and a strand of pearls because "You never know who you might meet in your dreams."
Even in our dreams Prince Charming may not always arrive with the glass slipper. What if the bridge is out and his white horse can’t navigate the river? What if Prince Charming was on his way, but became sidetracked by a damsel in distress? What if there is no Prince Charming? Then what? We take control. Protect Yourself from Heartbreak
While romance eludes many women, today magazines, movies, and television still tout the love myth -- without love, without a partner, you are not whole. But here is the underlying message: "If you want to be happy, you must be in love."
In reviewing a previous article I had written, I updated this piece to include additional thoughts from colleagues with links to Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. on solitude, Ken Page, L.C.S.W. on mindfulness exercises to improve dating, Mark van Vugt, Ph.D. on men and laughter and also Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. on the list method.
If you are alone on Saturday night there are three possible reasons:
Instead of looking at your phone anxiously waiting, make a plan.
Make a plan for now and the future
1. Face down the monster called “Alone.” By giving up the fear of "Alone" you make room in your life and heart for Serendipity's surprise – an out of the blue encounter. Sometimes love is not riding a white horse, but arrives quietly as a complement to our life.
2. Ask a friend to join you: Make a reservation to dine out lavishly. Treat yourself and your best friend to a fabulous supper. Pay for both of you. Create a memory.
3.. Make staying home on Saturday a special time, Treat yourself to every beauty luxury you can imagine. Put on a beautiful robe. Pour yourself some bubbly. Read the book that has been on your coffee table for two weeks. Or make a strategic plan for meeting men in your own community without having to deal with the Internet.
4. Fact facts: If there was a man in your life, and you are alone on Saturday night, admit to yourself why he didn't call. I'm with the hard, cold reality camp. You may have been panting with wishes and desire, but he didn't feel the spark. And if you are unsure about the guy whom you thought was your "one and only" have a look at Jen Kim's 6 Signs He's Just Not That Into You | Psychology Today
5. Ask yourself this question: "Did I really want to be with him or did I just want someone in my life?" Was he Mr. Right of just Mr. Just the One for Now? Settling for Mr. Good Enough
6. Look forward and not back: With every experience in life we gain perspective. It is really not very helpful to look back and say, "Why did I get involved with him in the first place?” just move on with gratitude.
7. Take a chance on cyber-dating: If you are skeptical, look at what Julie Spira has to say in Love Online: Dating Expert's Advice.
8. Embrace laughter: Before brooding about “alone on Saturday night” call a friend who makes you laugh until your sides ache. Keep in mind that laughter is attractive to both sexes.
Mark van Vugt, Ph.D., in his blog Naturally Selected says: “Not surprising, scientists find that a sense of humor is one of the most desired traits in a partner. Interestingly, there is a sex difference here. While women like men who make them laugh, men prefer to interact with women who laugh about the jokes they tell them.” Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine
9. Try mindfulness exercises: In Finding Love, Page says, "Here are three exercises which approach dating as an adventure of self-discovery. They are eye-opening and fun, and they will help you grow in self-respect while opening up new possibilities in your dating life." Three Mindfulness Exercises to Improve Your Dating Life
10. Enjoy being alone: Consider the value of solitude before looking for a new love. Dr. Carter says that "seeking solitude can actually be quite healthy. In fact, there are many physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone." 6 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone | Psychology Today.
11. Define qualities: What is it that you really wish for in someone to love? Is Mr. Just the One for Now really worth your time? In the search the love, have you ever thought to define qualities you value in a logical, business-like manner?
12. Make a pros and cons list: In thinking of what you really want in a partner also think of what it is you could never accept. Be honest. Now see how the men you generally date stack up not in a jugemental way, but rather to help yourself evaluate your choices.
13. Write your own love script: In Six Secrets for Finding and Keeping Lifelong Love, I talked about the 100 point list from Oprah's magazine. Turn this into your book of love. Here is a perspective from from Dr. Sarkis: The List Method: How to Find "The One"
14. Plan an "out of character" event, maybe two or three, for upcoming Saturday nights that will give you a loving lift: Offer to baby-sit for a single mother. Serve a meal at a shelter. Visit a nursing home – residents are all very lonely on the week-end. Sign up to volunteer for at least three months at an organization that needs your help. Keep thinking of love, but instead of brooding, move to a healthier place.
Love is choice. You can settle or you actively look for love. In any new relationship, always look for a sense of humor and a happy disposition.
Take to heart the words of Marcel Proust: "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Photo is Grape-Shot: 1915 English magazine illustration, Wikipedia Commons
Copyright 2013 Rita Watson / All Rights Reserved
NB: Signed comments are welcome.