Intersections – Ten ways to find and keep love
By Nicki Salcedo
I was sitting in Dancing Goats Coffee Shop at the round table in the back. The couple across from me was on a first date. A daytime date. If things went sideways, either of them could leave with no pressure.
She was drinking out of a tall to-go cup. He was sipping coffee from a small for-here cup. They covered the topics ranging from the failing educational system to drone strikes. The woman asked the man about his weekend, and he said his birthday was two days before. He’d just turned twenty-three. I started to hum the song “So This is Love” from Disney’s “Cinderella” and considered using my plastic spoon to gouge out my own eyes.
The man stepped away to go to the bathroom, and the woman immediately pulled out her phone and started sending text messages. He was gone for a long time. Either the coffee had done something to his digestive system or he was also frantically sending text messages to his buddies. I could not figure out if the date was going well or terribly. I’m a matchmaker at heart. I love love. I wanted to butt in on their date. I wanted to tell her, and him, a few things about finding and keeping love.
Read a romance novel. Or two. Don’t be a snob about it. If you don’t know where to start, ask me. There is a reason why I am generally happy. I believe in happy endings. Literally and figuratively. Romance novels are about relationships and mistakes and sex. Reading about love in fiction will get your mind ready for love in real life.
Say yes to the weird guy and the quiet girl. If a guy ever asked me to dance at a party, I would say “yes” no matter what. While other girls waited for the hot guy at the keg to come over, I’d already be dancing with the short guy with from my Chemistry class. Guess what? The hot guy never leaves the keg! I like dancing, and I like people. Saying “yes” to a not-so-perfect partner is a great idea. Dance or drink coffee or have dinner. It doesn’t mean that you have to marry someone. It does let you practice your social skills, meet cool people, and have fun while you are waiting for love. Better yet, love might surprise you.
If you think you are too good for someone because of how they look or their job or education, maybe you are too good for love.
Let your freak flag fly. I used Star Trek to scare away boys in my younger days. I also used my love of romance novels and football to scare away boys. The boys in my poetry class did not like football. And they would never have approved of romance novels. I knew eventually there would be a boy who would take me as I am and not ridicule me for the things that I hold dear.
You don’t need a committee. I know it is tempting to ask your best friend if she thinks a certain guy is cute or acceptable, but it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks when it comes to matters of love. You decide. Stop texting your friends from your date.
Little things matter more than big things. How does she speak to a waiter in the restaurant? How does he interact with her mother? How does she react when someone holds the door open for her? Maybe this person meets your big requirements for family, politics, or religion, but do they meet your little requirements? Skip the conversation about drone strikes and see how he talks to the barista at the coffee shop.
Love is not finding your best friend. I love my spouse. I do. I have no idea what the future holds for us good or bad, but he is not my best friend. When I met him I already had a best friend and good girl friends and sisters and a mother. I wonder about people who say that their partner is their best friend. Don’t insult your real best friend. When you enter a committed relationship that person gets a new title (wife, girlfriend, husband, partner, spouse) as a promotion. They aren’t the same as a best friend, they are different and greater. They have a job to do, and that’s make you a better person.
There should be sex. I am abstinent with children created by immaculate conception, but the rest of you should be having sex five to seven times a week. If you are too tired or too distracted, go back to step one from “Finding Love” and read a romance novel.
Don’t talk bad about your spouse. It is okay to be mad or frustrated, but you need tell your spouse directly and not your friends and family.
Indulge in fantasy and fun. A few years ago at DragonCon, my husband chased down a zombie and dropped to the ground in front of him so I could snap a few pictures. My husband had just left work and was wearing a suit and tie. The kids and I joyfully chased after him and the zombie. We were in the middle of downtown Atlanta and thirteen years into our marriage. My first thought was, “I’ve never loved him more.” He’s reluctantly worn Spock ears and more recently gone to the movies with me dressed as Princess Leia. Maybe these aren’t your kind of fantasies, so do the “50 Shades of Grey” thing. Relationships should be fun and funny.
You are the greener pastures. Remember that what you have is special and good, even if it’s not always perfect. They never tell you that it gets better, but it does. More laughter, more sex (so I’ve heard), more fun. Even if it’s holding hands on the soccer field.
What do I know about love? I’m a former President of Georgia Romance Writers, and I really do love love. I’ve written a romantic suspense novel called All Beautiful Things and two fun short stories perfect for Valentine’s Day: Maize and Wait For Midnight. Please join me at the Love Our Readers Luncheon on Saturday, February 13, 2016 from 10am-1pm. Tickets are still available.