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Ask Athena: Am I Breaking Too Many Hearts Looking for 'the One'?


Published October 18, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Dear Athena

Approaching 30, I feel no urgency to settle down. But I really want a long-term relationship that stimulates me in every way and stays exciting. I have dated so many really great guys for three to eight months and then broken it off because I know that they're not who I want to spend my life with. I'm kind of getting a reputation as someone who leaves a string of broken hearts behind her. How can I find my life partner/lover/adventure companion without wasting too much time or breaking too many hearts in the process?


The Real Deal

Dear Real,

Anyone who describes their life before they meet "the one" as "wasting time" needs to shift their perspective on the beauty and magic life has to offer. The be-all and end-all of life isn't romantic love — it's just love. Love for road trips, coffee, the ocean, reading, naps, your mother, your memories. It's your dog at the end of your bed, rainy days, outdoor concerts, holding hands, your best friend since seventh grade. It's fulfilling your dreams, rising above the hard times, showing up for yourself and others. Love is not being afraid to be you.

Ignore any haters who remark on the "broken hearts you leave behind." They're probably jealous that you enjoy so many romantic adventures. And who's to say you're really leaving so much wreckage? You ended it with these men because you weren't right for them, either. Kudos for not dragging it out longer.

There is no timeline or map to tell you who's next and where to find him. All the relationships you have are preparing you for the one you'll want to hold on to. You can make an online dating profile and check it all day if you want, but heed these often-recited words: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

If the right person is meant to come along, he will. In the meantime, don't settle or wait around with bated breath. Every breath is a gift, and your life is yours to live — and love — however you want.