Dating is less about finding the one person who you will spend the rest of your life with. It is more about finding yourself and understanding what you want.
We often think we know what we want, but that is rarely true. What we have in our heads are fantasies. We are all on a search to find the right one.
On my love finding journey, I have learned countless lessons and accidentally found the real way to find the right relationship. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the way that people told me.
1. True Love Doesn’t Always Lead to a Relationship
There was a little girl in a black dress with a matching black pillbox hat sitting in the corner of the Shangri-la hotel on a cold winter evening. She enjoyed the moment while sipping her Jasmin tea. A tall, dark and handsome man walked in. He stole her heart from the first sight.
That little girl was me.
That smart man brought out the best and worst in me. He crushed me into pieces. Every conversation turned into an argument. He made me feel worthless. I eventually grew sad and depressed.
He was crazy enough to stick around and pick me up when I was having emotional meltdowns. I would call him when I felt insecure and he would calm me down. He wouldn’t let anyone lay a finger on me. He would shelter me during our endless war, even when we wanted to kill the other.
Our relationship was complicated. Our relationship was extreme. Our relationship was full of drama.
He always jokes I should write a book about us and he would publish it. Our relationship would make a great Hollywood drama, but it wasn’t a happy one.
The last time I met him, I walked in and said, “You don’t want to touch me. The cops and the 6 o’clock news reporters are right outside the restaurant. It will take them 30 seconds to get here.”
He was the man I called when I was scared. At that moment, he was the man who scared me. I was scared that he would crush me again.
It was a strange dinner. I barely said anything.
“Amore mio, you are mine. You can run away, but you can’t hide. I will always find you. Next week, we will have dinner again.”
I didn’t say anything and just got into the cab. That was the last time I saw him.
People have the love of their life. He was the love of my 2016. If tomorrow he loses his millions and shows up on my front step penniless, I would still take that crazy guy in.
He taught me:
There are three types of people you will love.
- People who you will spend your life together with.
- People who you will spend your life chasing.
- People who you will love from a distance. Always love them. Never have them.
Maybe he was the last one.
They are crazy. They are twisted. We let them crush us into pieces without fighting back. We just love them unconditionally without being able to explain it.
True love doesn’t always lead to a relationship. Sometimes we love people who are wrong for us. If we love someone, we would do what is best for them. It can mean leaving them.
We fought again and again and again. He disappeared for months and came back out of the blue.
“When can we do dinner?”
“One day just not today.”
If it was meant to be, it will work out by itself.
Maybe one day.
2. The Right Relationship Should Be Happiness
“I have to leave for Los Angeles today. Babe, I want to see you before I leave. Where are you? I will pick you up.”
Gilles was born into a wealthy French Jewish family. Two years ago, his father gave him a Lamborghini for Christmas. He is the real life rich kid of Instagram Miami. They’re an endless amount of supercars, yachts, lavish trips on a private jet, and no shortage of beautiful women.
He was someone I thought I would never learn anything from.
I was wrong.
What can I learn from a guy who has never had to work a day in his life?
Every day Gilles drives around in one of his supercars and has fun with his friends. Life is easy with his trust fund. Despite his privilege, he taught me a lesson that many independent, self-made men forgot.
I stepped into his supercar.
“Give me your hand.”
He held my hand while driving around the beautiful and effortless Miami Beach. There was something about this trust fund baby that intrigued me.
I asked him about his day. He told me the day before he was fixing his boats. I asked why would he do that, he has enough money to have people taking care of his toys. He replied.
“Because I love it. It makes me happy.”
“ I didn’t expect that.”
“You are sad.”
“ Why do you think so?”
“ Your eyes show it. Do what makes you happy.”
“It is complicated.”
“Do you want to be happy?”
“ It is complicated.”
“It is a yes or no question. The answer is simple. Do whatever makes you happy. That is the only thing that matters”
Gilles was spoiled. He was irresponsible, but he was pure. He was the little child in the body of a 30 year old man. He taught me something most adults forgot.
He taught me how to be happy.
When we were children, doing things that make us happy was our priority. We start forgetting it as we get older.
The right relationship shouldn’t make you sad. The right relationship shouldn’t make you depressed. You should be comfortable being yourself
“Just do what makes you happy. Now smile.” We continued our spontaneous adventure around Miami Beach.
3. The Right Relationship Is Not Calculated
Once I met Nicholas, a successful chef who owns a private club, he told me to come over and he would cook dinner for me.
Nicholas bought some amazing Japanese steaks for our dinner.
The beef has huge differences in quality and ratings, and how the beef is raised. Some is $4/lb wholesale…this was $129/lb. The cows are fed $50 US dollars worth of mangos a day.
For some reason I had an odd feeling… Something wasn’t right. I asked about his last relationship.
“My last girlfriend didn’t make any effort… Didn’t see a future, so I dumped her. Make an effort… Be thoughtful… Plan something for us to do. Surprise me with something… Don’t sit back and wait for me to do everything.”
I didn’t think I could bite the $129/lb steak the next day. I wasn’t sure what type of effort he would expect from me. Most likely it would be cheaper buying myself the steak.
I told him we are not on the same page and wished him the best.
Nicholas taught me the right relationship is not calculated. We don’t love someone and keep a tab on them. Because if we do, it would be a business not love.
My best friend said, “My husband will never say I did not put in efforts. He only cares whether I am happy.”
When you love someone, that is the only thing you care about.
4. The Right Relationship Is Not a Fairy Tale
I met Alex years ago when I was a young marketer. He put up a job listing that I wanted to apply for, but thought I wasn’t good enough for. The company was one of the most successful companies in my industry, but that wasn’t what impressed me. The way he never stopped searching for new talent intrigued me. I fell in love with his intelligence.
One day, out of the blue, I got an email from my industry crush. He asked me out for lunch to chat. That made my day.
Alex spent half of lunch talking about his girlfriend and his cooking classes. That was the sweetest thing and made me smile.
I told myself when I grow up, I want to be him. He was the perfect hero with a baby face, a brain and a kind heart. He was my career hero. He was the good guy I would never date because he was perfect. I wouldn’t want to be the bad one who would corrupt him. Nobody wants to break a good guy.
I joked, “Just my luck, out of the two of you I got the flawed one first.”
“Lol,” Alex replied to me, on Tinder.
Now I understood why he said, “Late night Tindering is totally okay.” He superliked me 10 hours ago.
We chatted for a bit and I asked him, “I thought you weren’t single. When did you become single?” He never replied to that.
At the same time I teased his best friend. My naughty side just wanted to play with him for a bit.
“If you keep complaining that I am boring, I will start hitting on your bestie. You are alright with that, right?”
“That is not possible. Alex is so not single.”
“He superliked me on Tinder.” I sent him the screenshot.
That was the last time both of them talked to me. I was so confused. The image of my perfect hero shattered in front of me.
I stared at the screen for minutes and couldn’t believe the situation. I unmatched Alex. I told my friend the story.
She said, “We can’t trust anyone. He will say it was a market research”
“There are fake profiles for a market research. It is Tinder, not Bumble. He wasn’t searching for his next BFF. He wasn’t good like we thought”
“Where do we find people to look up to now?”
“Not on Tinder.”
My hero was the villain.
I once wanted to be him when I grew up.
Alex taught me real relationships rarely start with a fantasy. A fantasy is always more beautiful than reality. It sets an unattainable expectation. That is the start of conflicts. The real relationship is not a fairy tale. Reality is cruel.
If I didn’t idolize Alex for years, I wouldn’t care. I was like a little girl who woke up one day and realized the fairy tale was all a lie.
It wasn’t his fault, it was mine.
We are all flawed. But in my mind, he was perfect. I wanted to be him, flawless with the heart of gold.
I will never know what the real story was. I knew something I shouldn’t know. Both men would never talk to me again
Deep down I hope I was wrong and my hero is still the good guy. A girl can always dream.
5. Authenticity Can Melt Any Heart
The hero turned out to be the villain. The villain was actually the hero.
The next guy was the best friend of Alex. Brian wasn’t the average guy you meet on the street.
I swiped right on him on a late night and never checked his profile when we chatted. He talked to me about his $8,000 coat and how cocky he was at work. He was one of a kind. He was everything I hated.
When I realized who Brian’s best friend was, I freaked out. I admired Alex.
The last thing I want to do is mess up his best friend with my crazy personality and burn that bridge forever. From the last story, you would know I managed to do that anyway.
I text him, “Love, you are a great guy. But I don’t think we are on the same page. I don’t want to waste your time. Wish you the best. Keep looking fabulous.”
He wrote back later with a photo of his American Express Centurion Card (an invitation-only charge card issued by American Express to platinum card holders after they meet certain criteria. Cardholders are among the wealthiest individuals.).
“Do you want to get married, You can go shopping all day😀 I will give you one of these🙈 ”
That was an insult to my intelligence. I spend my entire life trying to prove that I can do great things with my 2 hands and a brain. The only things I have ever accepted from men are architecture books. How could he think his black credit card would convince me to date him? What would I do the day he doesn’t have it anymore?
However, I had a feeling there is a side I haven’t seen yet. We often act a certain way to hide the truth.
“Don’t marry for money, you can borrow it cheaper.” – Zsa Zsa Gabor
I asked his best friend, Alex, what the best things about him are. The best friend told me how they met.
“I met him when he was super rich and I was a waiter that served him. He treated me like a brother, when most would be condescending or simply dismissive…”
Behind a flashy and cocky facade, there was a nice guy with a big heart. That story was 100 times more attractive than the tacky black card photo. The card can come and go. But the way a man treats someone who has nothing to offer him tells a lot about him. That story made me smile.
Most men try to impress women with their wealth and success. But they forget the fact that most women want someone to shelter and make them feel safe. A woman wants to feel like she’s worth something to him.
It is so attractive when someone treats others with kindness. If one day I have nothing to offer him, I can hope he won’t throw me away like last season’s booties.
He reminds me something of Marion Davies said about the love of her life, the famous media mogul, William Hearst.
“God, I’d give everything I have to marry that silly old man. Not for the money and security—he’s given me more than I’ll ever need. Not because he’s such cozy company, either. Most times, when he starts jawing, he bores me stiff. And certainly not because he’s so wonderful behind the barn. Why, I could find a million better lays any Wednesday. No, you know what he gives me, sugar? He gives me the feeling I’m worth something to him. A whole lot of what we have, or don’t have, I don’t like. He’s got a wife who’ll never give him a divorce. She knows about me, but it’s still understood that when she decides to go to the ranch for a week or a weekend, I’ve got to vamoose. And he snores, and he can be petty, and has sons about as old as me. None of that matter because he’s kind and good to me. I would never walk out on him.”
By the end of 2016, from being my least favorite guy, Brian became my favorite. Everyday I liked him more than the previous. My best friend would ask about him everyday. She loves him. We saw ourselves in him.
He is so flawed, you would ask yourself if this guy is real when you talk to him. But the more you know him, the more you will trust him. He was kind and somewhat innocent. His real personality contrasted my damaged self. Brian wasn’t corrupted and broken like I was. In a world of comforting illusions and false realities, he was raw and real.
At the end of the day, I became the ugly and shallow person. He was gold. It is funny how the table turned.
Brian taught me one of the most important lessons in 2016. And for that he gets all my respect.
Shamelessness and honesty can be really attractive. Raw authenticity can move any heart.
A simple but important lesson that made me think a lot about business and life.
He can be the world’s most flawed guy, but his authenticity earns trust.
In a world of fake people, he taught me how to find real beauty.
“Why did you hurt his feelings,” she asked?
“Because I didn’t want him to hurt me. When I tried to stop, it was too late.”
Sometimes, it just works.
“I love your boots, babe.”
“They are Prada. My bag is Fendi. I am wearing all Italian brands just for you, love. I like my clothes just like my man… Italian.”
“They are just the perfect height. Come here.”
He pulled me into his arms and kissed me passionately.
We don’t care about the past. It already happened. We have absolutely no plan for the future. We accept the flaws and adore the other’s craziness. There is no expectation. There is no disappointment.
It is effortless. It works.
The right relationships are often not exciting enough to be the muse for a masterpiece. It is not crazy enough to push people to the edge. It is not complicated enough for us to analyze. It is not calculated enough for us to put on a balance sheet. It is raw and real. It just works.
We often want to change people. We want to change ourselves. In most cases, nothing will change. We don’t like change.
If it was meant to be, it will be simple and effortless from the first moment.
A great relationship rarely makes a good drama.
For all the men who have taught me how to love and be loved, thank you for dealing with my crazy personality, picking me up when I was on the floor and inspiring me, non-stop. You are my muses. You taught me how to grow and become a better person. Some girls will be lucky to have you one day. You are always in my heart.