Why “You’ll Find Love When You Stop Looking” Isn’t Bad Advice After All

I wasn’t exactly on the lookout for a partner. Then again, I wasn’t opposed to it either.

I more so gave up on the whole monogamy and love thing. I had kissed enough frogs and creatures, in general, to rule out the possibility that a “prince” existed.

I was in my mid-twenties and I had never been in love. I think I had been infatuated before but I never really had that totally consuming feeling of a hot love affair. I never felt like love made me crazy, and that’s not me saying, “I’m not like other girls” – I actually wanted that. I wanted people to notice a change in me.

I wanted someone to make me feel different things, but I was also scared to put a big portion of my happiness into someone else’s hands.

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And so grew a guarded, jaded Petra who accepted that she must have some biological defect that wouldn’t allow her to care too much about potential partners – until recently.

This isn’t going to be some Cinderella-esque story where I tell you about a perfect romance and how I found a Prince (because that’s not a real thing). It’s about the gradual influx of emotions, feelings, change of pace and anxieties one feels when they finally fall in love.

You know when you’re young and you think you broke your wrist or something and someone says, “Trust me, you’d know if you broke it.” Well, sometimes you don’t know if you broke your bone because everyone feels pain differently. This subjectiveness applies to love as well. People kept saying fortune cookie things like “When you know, you know!” but it’s not black and white like that. These feelings come in piecemeal, and they’re accompanied by anxiety, uneasiness, warmth, reservation, and vulnerability.

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I was the last one to know I was in love, to be honest.

It started with feelings of sadness when we’d go a few days without seeing each other (good start right?). Then I noticed the warmth I felt in the pit of my stomach when he’d say something beautiful (or something not that beautiful). Plus, seeing his message notifications never annoyed me or made me feel suffocated like others have in the past.

I went from thinking love would never find me to essentially discovering I had been in love for a little while, it just didn’t hit me like a John Hughes movie. And I think this calm, easy (sometimes uneasy) transition isn’t the norm for everyone, but then again neither is John Cusack holding a stereo below my bedroom window.