I was labeled a hopeless romantic for the first chunk of my adulthood. But I wasn't a hopeless romantic; I just hadn't taken responsibility for my happiness. I'd think joy was waiting for me in the next girlfriend, or the next, or maybe the tenth one after that. But after so many heartbreaks, I couldn't ignore the glaring, neon, beat-me-over-the-head fact that nobody besides me could make me happy.
I finally had to accept that I would only be happy once I took true responsibility for a life I could love.
I feared that responsibility for a long time. I thought I was incapable, so I willingly gave the responsibility to beautiful women I thought, hoped, prayed would take care of me. But the more responsibility I forfeited, the less capable I felt, the more dependent I became, the more resentful I grew, and the less lovingly I acted.
My girlfriends became enemies instead of lovers because they distracted me from loving and living my own life. And I was responsible.
But, try as I did, I couldn't keep doubling down on the same mistakes…I hit rock bottom. When I split up with my last girlfriend, I experienced withdrawal that I characterized as the emotional equivalent of a heroin addict going cold turkey; it was torture. Depression, anxiety, existential crises—the whole bit. I couldn't put myself through that shit again, so I took as many years off from dating as it took to become a whole and happy me, to pursue my writing career, to start dancing.
After weaning myself off the delusion that a heroine was coming to save me from myself, I learned to love my life. It was hard and scary and lonesome, but I learned how to make good decisions that made me happy. Now I get to support other people's happiness doing exactly what I love, on my own terms. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
I'm not looking for a girlfriend because I have no reason to look. I'm happy with me and I'm kicking ass doing what I love. When I've found my wife, I'll know it because she'll be my best friend. She'll share my passions and my rhythm. She'll challenge me to be a better man.
But I won't depend on my wife for happiness because when I meet her, I'll already be dancing.
If you haven't found your dance, find it now. Take as much time as you need. And if you have found it, prioritize that. Do it for yourself, share it with the world, and have faith that you'll meet someone who shares, values, and supports your passion. If you want a lifetime of love, all you have to do is find your dance and keep dancing. Simple.
Now go and shake that thing.