How To Fall In Love
By Rabbi Shmuley
1. Admit you can’t fall in love.
Love is the solution to the problem of loneliness. But few today would admit to being lonely. So, fess up. Admit that the reason that you want to fall in love is that you don’t want to be alone. You have something very special to offer, and you want a lifelong partner who can cherish your special gift. No matter how many times you date, you’ll find fault. A movie star could be your blind date and you’d find a mole or a stutter or that they aren’t a natural blonde. Neither is it because men won’t commit, women are too picky, your career is too demanding, or that all the good ones are already taken. It’s because subliminally you want to find flaws. It saves you from having to commit and possibly making a mistake. Not falling in love has the added benefit of keeping you in your comfort zone where things many not be perfect, but at least you’re in control.If you valued love as a necessity rather than a luxury, then you would have realistic expectations.
2. Get help.
Lord knows you’ve tried to kick the dating habit on your own but this one is way beyond you. You can’t do this alone. Confide ̶ to a trusted friend, a family member, a professional counselor, a spiritual advisor, even your spouse! ̶ that you have lost the ability to love freely, openly and fully. Confess that you have unwittingly joined the ranks of the Love Mafia: you will only love someone who makes you an offer you can’t refuse. Their virtue ‒ be it physical attractiveness, wealth, or celebrity – has got to be out of this world before you would ever dream of committing to them.
Telling someone else you’ve got a problem makes it more real and it will also help lift some of the burden off of you. Confiding in, and unburdening yourself to, a trusted friend or counselor also removes the emotional stoppages and allows the love to start flowing freely.
3. Heal the love wounds.
Make amends with those former and present lovers you may have hurt in the past. The same thing applies to everyone whom you may have offended, insulted or caused pain in the past. Try to mend any wounds you may have caused.
Take responsibility for the role you played in the demise of the relationship. This includes not only romantic relationships, but also close platonic friends or relatives with whom you may have fallen out. In male-female relationships, this is especially important for the man who dumped a woman after she offered her body in sex, or the woman who dumped an utterly decent guy who worked in a dead-end job. Apologize for sins of omission as well; sometimes it’s the things you don’t say or do that hurt more than the things you do. Admitting that you caused others pain and asking their forgiveness is a tremendously effective self-correcting mechanism which can prep you for love in future relationships. Saying sorry and accepting responsibility also helps you regain the humility you need to fall in love.
4. Take your love pulse.
Just how loving are you? To love specifically, you first need to love generally. To love one person, you need to love all people. This is the holistic approach to love: you can’t fall in romantic love if you’re not practicing overall love. Stated simply, commit yourself to becoming a sensitive, caring, and feeling individual in every area of life. Carry out acts of loving-kindness every day. Your daily “to do” list, right below “Floss,” should include: “Compliment someone.” Be nice to a person who can’t help your career or improve your social status in any way. The greatest test of whether or not you’re a loving person is how you treat those whom you need nothing from.
Closely scrutinize the behaviors that keep you from loving. Do you look for the negative rather than the positive in people?
5. Call a moratorium on dating.
Before you jump back into the fray, take a short break from it all. More dating is just going to confuse the issue further. Stop dating entirely: one month is a good start, while the real love impaired will need two. Honor the moratorium until you actually miss dating. Separate yourself from intimate emotional and physical contact with the opposite sex until you hunger for passion and intimacy again. The void caused in your social life will resensitize you to how people are the greatest commodity of all, much more deserving of your time and commitment than your money or career. You will come back fresh and unfettered, rediscovering the fundamental magic and attractiveness of the opposite sex.
Once you return to dating, to make sure you don’t fall into old patterns, set a two-date minimum. Every person you go out with, you must date at least two times, however unappealing (unless there’s a real red flag). Don’t be so quick to reject. No matter how painful it is, always stick to the two-date rule. Firstly, because you might end up liking the person. Second, because even if you don’t, you will have practiced enjoying human company instead of being so quick to judge, dismiss, and justify your hurting people. People who hurt other people are themselves in great pain and cannot fall in love.
The idea here is also to work on not being so picky, on finding virtue and value in everyone your meet.
6. Increase your possibilities.
If only 10 percent of the men or women you meet come close to meeting your minimum criteria for consideration as a lifelong mate, work on expanding that percentage to 20 percent- at least. So, if you reject any woman who’s not a size 2, give someone who’s a size 8 a chance. If you wouldn’t give a second look to a guy who’s balding- look past it. Stop looking for what you presume is the best. Sometimes good enough is good enough ̶ in refrigerators, jobs, restaurants and in love. Whenever something is a necessity, good enough is good enough. The moment it is a luxury, only the best will do.
7. Commit first, fall in love later.
It sounds crazy, right? But isn’t that the case in every other area of life? If your friend Susie said to you, “I just love my job. I start next week.” Wouldn’t that be a bit weird or even impossible? Doesn’t our commitment to our children bring out the love, even when we are sometimes infuriated and don’t feel it?
What if it is indeed commitment that brings love rather than love that brings commitment? What if your entire life you had needlessly lived it alone because you’ve been waiting to fall in love, when really if you had committed to someone with whom at least the essentials were present ‒ they were attractive, compatible, good-natured, and interested ‒ the love would have flourished and the two of you would have lived happily ever after? Let go of doubts; there will always be doubts. Picture plausibility; think positive.
The ancient Rabbis said that a human being is like an olive that needs to be pressed in order to have the best of the olive come out. Without the squeezing of commitment, the oils of love will never flow out. Love comes from the daily struggle of a life lived together in dedication and commitment.
8. Avoid meaningless sex For A Little BIT.
What seemed like a grand idea in the heat of passion last night will leave you with a severe love hangover the morning after. You will feel more empty than full. Too much casual sex numbs the heart and dulls the body.
Because sex involves and absorbs our strongest impulses, it actually leaves a state of confusion, creates more problems than it solves. So you’re dating a guy and having sex and now you don’t know if its love, lust, commitment, or recreation. Worse, it seems that the more you have sex, the less you talk. Hormones have replaced healing, motions have replaced emotions, and the deep soul connection you seek is supplanted by the mere friction of two bodies. With casual sex, the objectivity is lost and a bad kind of subjectivity, born of a false intimacy, is introduced. You take off your clothes, and yet you are still not naked. Keep in mind that many men feign love so they can have sex; many women feign sex so they can have love.
If the joy of sex is gone, try to experience the joy of abstinence. Abstinence makes the heart (and other body parts) grow fonder. This is a reminder that sex is not an end, but an organic means of expressing deep intimacy. Don’t get naked until you are naked.
9. Let go of people who are wasting your time.
No commitment-phobes. Stay away from them, got it? And these days, it’s not just the men who are commitment phobic. There are plenty of women exhibiting significant fears about marrying. They come in both sexes in all guises. So learn to detect their behaviors:
• They push but they don’t pursue. They want to go out right way, tonight. Then they want to get sexually involved right away, tonight. They are charming and forceful and pseudo-sincere. They say they will call you tomorrow but don’t. If you are not available tonight, you may never hear from them again.
10. Recapture your mental virginity.
Wipe your mind clean of the ghosts of lovers past. Avoiding comparison dating. No two people are supposed to be alike. Each person is unique and should be appreciated for his or her own special qualities.
While on your date, be present in the moment completely. If you find your mind wandering, focus on your date’s voice. Look deeper into the person for their less obvious qualities.
Finally, withdraw from too many platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex. Familiarity robs you of the excitement and attraction to the opposite sex.
11. Go deeper.
If we’ve become bored with dating, perhaps it’s because we’ve all become boring. But enough about everyone else: maybe you’ve become boring. So if you think you’re shallow (shallow means you look at the price of thing rather than the value of things), replace superficial activities with those that will add to your depth.
Whatever your vice ̶ reading People magazine, watching Seinfeld reruns, cruising malls, reading too many self help books, other than Rabbi Shmuley’s ̶ substitute it with something that will broaden your mind and stretch your heart. Read Pride and Prejudice. Watch the History Channel. Especially read the great romantic classics that make you fall in love with love, like “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Great Gatsby,” or “Love Story.” Now share that knowledge with someone you’re dating or married to. The idea is not just to become more knowledgeable; the idea is to grow personally and spiritually. This new depth will not only make you more interesting; it will make you more interested. Rediscover curiosity. Whenever you feel that you are getting bored in a relationship because you already “know” your partner, know that you do not know. Every person is unknowable, infinitely deep and mysterious. Arrogance in a relationship says, “I know you already.” Conceit says, “I have nothing more to learn.” But the humble heart that can fall in love says, “I have known you all these years, yet every day I discover something new.”
12. Become a love missionary.
Once you’ve had your heart opened, now promote the positive rewards of love to those cynical nonbelievers. Without being too obnoxious, become a missionary of love (and we’re not talking about the position).
Carry the message to singles you know who are still struggling with the dating scene. Help make the world a place where no one needs to be ashamed to admit they are alone. Fix available people up with each other. Share your frustration. You are not alone.
Who knows, maybe someone you thought was right for someone else will be right for you.