It’s Time to Call Off the Search

A woman who has called off the search for Mr. RightIf you feel like you’ve been working so hard to meet the right guy, you’ve tried everything from night clubs to dating clubs to speed dating, well I’ve got some good news for you: It’s time for a break. It’s time to realize that you don’t need a man to define your life!  You don’t need a man to have a world to fit into. In fact, it’s the opposite – your life is exactly that – yours.

I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s time to really get it. As much as we may know in our hearts that we’ve been going down the wrong path, attracting the types of guys that just aren’t able to give us what we’re looking for, we still find ourselves rejecting the guys who are actually healthy and ready for a relationship in favor of the excitement and drama of the roller-coaster ride Mr. Wrong takes us on.

So why don’t we stop this self-destructive behavior?

Well, the truth is that it’s a lot easier to keep doing the same thing over and over again than to stop and take a good hard look at ourselves, and do the work to figure out what’s motivating us to keep repeating these same patterns over and over again.

It’s not easy, because our current behavior is comfortable on some unhealthy level and that’s what keeps us from doing our own deep work to finally understand why we’re doing this to ourselves.  Everything we do works for us on some level; usually it’s on a deeply subconscious level – but there’s always a reason.  It’s difficult to look at ourselves and start to peel away the layers of our defenses to discover what’s really going on, but if we want to get off of the rollercoaster it’s work that needs to be done.

Often, the decision is made for us, when we hit rock bottom; when the circumstances no longer allow us to hide from the truth, and we finally have to face it head-on.  Or it may be we just simply get fed up and find ourselves ready to do whatever it takes because we refuse to go through this heartbreak one more time.

We realize that we are utterly tired of this same old game and the same old disappointing outcome.  We come to see that it’s really been the same guy with just a different name and a different face each and every time; even though while we were in it we were so sure this time was going to be different.

That’s when we finally do the one thing that may actually have a chance at turning our situation around: we give up our search!

We stop.  We breathe.  We sit back.

It’s at precisely this moment when we finally stop trying so hard to make something happen that we clear the way for the love that’s been waiting for us for so long to finally get through to us.   And slowly, very slowly, from that low place where we feel we can hardly lift our heads to face another day of doing the same thing over again, we finally see the light.  And a faint glimmer of hope.  That there just might be something better for us out there.

We don’t have any idea of what that looks like right now, but something in us stirs.  And we know we just need to be with ourselves for a while.

I can’t explain it, but something about giving up the search, something about giving up all of the trying to make things happen and all of the effort spent trying to be what we think these guys want us to be, we find a peace within the surrendering.  And we find an unknown strength to start over.

And this is how the healing begins.

So here’s what we’re going to do to get us to that place of healing, that place where we can start to build the strength, the confidence that will allow us to become confidently one before we can ever become a healthy part of two.

We’re going to put our search for Mr. Right on hold.

Yes, you heard me right. I want you to, right now, commit to taking 3 to 6 months off from your hunt for Mr. Right.  3 to 6 months off from any type of searching, either online or in the physical world.  This means no online dating, no nightclubs, no going anywhere that you normally go intentionally to meet men.

What we’re really talking about here is a mindset.  The mindset that you’re just not looking, and you’ve decided to be completely happy on your own for this defined time period. The mindset that you’re focusing on you right now, and you are only going to do things that make you happy.

But keep in mind, we’re not necessarily talking about taking a break from men, we’re just talking about taking a break from the search for men. So if you’re out, doing something you enjoy doing for the sake of doing it, because it makes you happy, and you happen to meet a guy that you like and he asks you out, well then by all means go out with him (because often times, once you let go of the searching, this is exactly what happens.)  What we’re talking about here is the freeing of yourself to simply enjoy everything that life has to offer – friends, family, adventures, pursuing new interests or reviving old ones – without the constant thoughts of “will I meet someone?” Go into it with the mindset that you're absolutely fine if you don't even meet any men during this time period, much less go on any dates.

It’s very important to set a defined time limit, so that you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re not giving up for good – just long enough to clear your head. It may help to think of it as a vacation from the search. A chance to revive your soul, rejuvenate your senses, and quiet your spirit. A chance to spend some time with people that you haven’t spent time with because there was no chance of meeting a guy while with them (think: Friday night with Grandma and Grandpa.)  Or a chance to spend some wonderful time alone, reading, painting, or trying something new.

If 3 months seems just too long, and you’re right now thinking “but it’s spring! It’s the best time to meet men!” then at least commit to one month. Longer is better, as it really gives you a chance to delve into yourself and discover the real you, but committing to one man-search free month is better than nothing, and it will get you started.

I think you’ll find that after just a few weeks you’ll feel so much freer, and you’ll gain so much clarity that you won’t ever resume the search. And you’ll find that you are so much happier when you’re following your own interests instead of doing things just because a guy might be there. You'll really begin to know the real you, and what she likes to do for fun.

And the best part is, when you do meet that guy of your dreams, and he asks you “what do you like to do for fun?”, you’ll have plenty of answers for him.

And he’ll find that very attractive.


  1. stacey says

    It seems like I do go through long periods of time content and not really looking for anybody and then usually around valentines day(or christmas or whatever) it hits me that I've been through that "haven't been looking phase" that people tell you is usually when meet someone & I still haven't met anyone. I don't know whether to actively search for a partner or just let it go & be open to whatever happens. Either way, I never meet anyone anymore.

    I've dated alot in the late 80's and 90's and I've been burned more times than I can count & I have lost all confidence in approaching men. I have, so many times, dated someone & fallen head-over-hills in love to have them leave me for someone else. I have a complex that other women have that "magic" something that I must lack. I'm almost 44 yrs old. I don't want to spend the rest of my life without a partner. I've about given up on having children & a family but I still have a glimmer of hope that finding love is still a possibility. I am getting extremely discouraged though. I don't date at all now because I don't have the strength to deal with anymore rejection or 3-month-type relationships. It seems like such a waste.

    I'm crying my eyes out right now. I can remember crying over this same thing 10 yrs ago. I don't want to be 53 and crying and singing this same old song and dance 10 yrs from now. I just don't know how to break this repetitive cycle. People tell me "God is saving you for someone special" & it's comforting to believe that may be true but sometimes I wonder if my believing that is just shielding me from facing the painful truth that I might never find anyone. That's a thought I don't want to face. At the same time, I have so much love to give that I think it would be a waste that some good man out there in the world is going to be missing out on that because maybe he is looking in the wrong places and at the wrong things. So many people are so ego-dominated that they miss out on a true heart connection because they have so many superficial qualifications that their potential spouse must possess.

    • Jane says

      Stacey - You have such a sweet, kind, gentle heart, and I know you have so much love to give. I understand all too well exactly what you’re describing. I’ve cried those same tears and have heard all those well-meaning comments before, too. I know all too well about that “magic” complex, and have felt that same sense of lacking, and I know that it begins a vicious downward spiral that leads to your feeling like you aren’t good enough, which then leads men to perceiving that you aren’t good enough!

      The good news is that you came to the right place, and we’ll get through this together. I’m going to help you find the love you’re looking for!

      Here’s what we can do to start:

      First, if there are still tears, let them all out. Let them flow until they stop flowing on their own. Then put on some sweet, sad love songs that are sentimental to you and let more tears out. When they stop again, write out everything you can remember about your past relationships, these men that you were head over heels for, and all of the things that you miss about those relationships and cry some more. The healing is in the crying. And it’s what gets us past those hurts. So get it all out.

      After that, it’s time to get to work getting to the root cause of your relationship cycles. It sounds as though you are consistently attracting men that later abandon you for another woman. It’s not an accident that it keeps happening – the key is to realize why this has become a pattern and change your own behavior to avoid attracting men like this in the future. If you haven’t read it yet, read my post regarding breaking the cycles of attracting the wrong men. When I did this work on myself years ago I realized that I was seeking men who were just as emotionally distant as my father was, and I was trying to win their love in the same way that the little girl inside of me was trying to win the love of my father so many years ago. It’s vitally important to dig deep and understand the reasons you’re attracting this into your life so that you can start changing it.

      Also keep in mind that it’s not that just not searching will bring your love to you (it won’t), but it’s the living of your best life to the fullest extent possible, and doing the deep work on yourself that brings love into your life. It’s in the preparing yourself to be Mrs. Right so she’s there when your Mr. Right walks in the door. It’s a mindset that you’re doing this for yourself, and not in order to find and “catch” a man. I’ve recently written an article for YourTango that I want you to read – it’s about what men are really looking for in a woman. Also, if you haven’t yet read my 10 Simple Steps guide, that’s a good place to start.

      You already know that you have a lot of love to offer someone else, now it’s time to recognize that you are also lovable yourself – you are worthy of and deserving of the kind of love that you want. I can tell you right now that there is nothing that other women have that you don’t have. In fact, it’s the opposite – there are things that are so special about you that make you so very valuable – the key is to know those in your heart and let them shine through.

      There is someone out there desiring that true heart connection as much as you are –and this time, he won’t leave you, because you’ll be ready when he shows up.

  2. stacey says

    I got to thinking recently about why I keep attracting men who frequently seem to abandon me for other women & I keep going back in my mind to my high-school crush. He went to a rival school but I used to see him out quite a bit when I was with my friends. I was very shy & not-all-popular with the boys in jr. high & high school. I was thrilled when he approached my one night & asked me for my phone number. He was very cute & I was shocked he wanted to go out with me. We communicated by phone for several weeks before I had the guts to finally go out with him-I was so scared of rejection. I went shopping the day before to find the perfect outfit. The day of our date, I went to have my nails & hair done. I wanted it to be perfect. When I met him that night, I got a sinking feeling when I saw the expression on his face that something was wrong. It didn't go well at all & I felt very awkward. Later that night, when I was at home, his best friend called me to tell me that David(not his real name) did not want to date me anymore because he said I wasn't as pretty as he thought I was when we first met. I was totally crushed!!! I later called David to get the truth & he told me he did not want to have anything to do with me, that I wasn't what he thought I was, and that he had found another girlfriend.

    I know it seems ridiculous for something that happened so long ago(1982) to affect my love relationships but I have noticed that just about all of my relationships have followed the same pattern of me meeting someone, them idealizing me at first, and then devaluing me when they see that I am a human being & kicking me to the curb because they have found a "better" model. It got to where everytime I met someone, I expected the relationships to last a maximum of 3 months. I actually felt like I had an "expiration date" kind of like a jug of milk from the grocery store.

    In all honesty, and this is embarrassing to admit, I've only had 2 long-term relationships in my life that lasted several years. The first was with a very verbally abusive, controlling man and the second was with a married man who promised me the moon & the stars when I was 23 y/o who then subsequently disappeared & moved out-of-state without even telling me when he realized he couldn't carry on the charade any longer. I'm extremely embarrassed & ashamed that I participated in that. I've never had a healthy, long-term relationship.

    I'm still very attractive for my age(I blossomed in my last few yrs. of high-school & college) & people can't believe that I haven't found anyone & had a family. I honestly don't know how to go about having a real relationship with a man. I was so full of hope in my 20's & 30's but kept finding myself in a never-ending string of failed short-term relationships. I went into them with the best of intentions & I really tried-I really did. Over time I've just shut myself off gradually from dating without even realizing it. It was better than experiencing another loss & I was tired of grieving yet another failed attempt at a relationship. At the present moment, the pain of being alone is starting to outweigh the comfort-zone I have been in from avoiding relationships & that is why I am reaching out & trying to figure out how to correct all of this.

    Thanks for your kind responses!

    • Jane says

      Oh Stacy, it breaks my heart to hear your story, and at such an impressionable age. Something that traumatic can definitely have a severely detrimental effect on our ability to have healthy relationships. Processing these moments in our past and forgiving him for hurting us, as hard as that can be sometimes, is how we heal and move on to better days.

      While you're doing this work if you need a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, or just a cheerleader, know that I'm here for you. You can feel free to email me directly anytime you need someone to talk to.

  3. Jamie says

    I feel like I'm definitely at the "Time to call off the search!" point in the game. I feel like I'm constantly in a struggle, reaching, chasing, grasping, trying to figure out or control etc. I'm exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally. It seems like all of the guys I've been interested in will flirt and tease me etc., but when they see or feel that I'm interested they totally back off. I don't know if I'm coming off needy, desperate, boring or giving off mixed messages. I don't know if I misinterpret their flirting for actual interest and /or if they were actually interested and then I did something to turn them off, because I'm interested in them and want them to feel the same way! I feel like I totally repel the men that I'm interested in and that men in general don't find me dating material or committed relationship material. I've dated a few guys for 3 months blocks and have had a handful of "one date wonders", but no real connection. At 37 it's pretty discouraging to think that I have never really had a long term relationship, how could I even possibly think that one day I would get married. It's the one area of my life that I can't seem to get right. I have a job, masters degree, live on my own, have traveled to Europe several times, friends and family, but I can't keep a man's interest very long! I just really want to give up totally!

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