People Who Thought They'd Never Find Love Reveal How They Met Their Partners | 22 Words

A new Reddit thread covered the difficult topic: how does someone down on their luck find love? Some people seem to find relationships easily, understanding how to click with the right person, at the right time. Others find that harder to do. They want to seek out love but don't know how.

They found themselves in the same boat: unlucky in love and lacking confidence. But, nevertheless, these are actually success stories. Take a look at them to find out what these people did to find love, and find out what might work for you! Love isn't impossible for anybody. If you're someone who wants to be in a relationship but isn't, this list is for you!

Fight the shyness.

I was so painfully shy and insecure when I was younger. I didn’t believe anyone would see anything valuable in me. I would say don’t get caught up in thinking you’re unlovable. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with people. I spent a lot of time pushing people away because I feared rejection so much. -AndyJCohen

Accept yourself, always.

Become okay on your own first and foremost and recognize that there are things about yourself that people will not like and will disqualify you from their dating pool and that’s okay! I lost over 140lbs and have quite the amount of loose skin and once I realized that some guys and gals just wouldn’t be down for that and that’s alright I started to be okay. I let potential dates know beforehand and if they were like, “eww no." Then I knew that that wasn’t someone I would want in my life anyway. Other guys I told about it would try to shower me with compliments and say, “no, you’re perfect," but I could tell they cringed. My current boyfriend saw a picture of my skin, nodded took a breath and said, “babe, your sh*t’s f*cked." I love that a**hole. -okayellie

Relationships aren’t about fixing your partner—or yourself.

  1. You really only need one person.
  2. Don't pick someone to fix, or be fixed by - this will only take away your time and emotional energy. 
-zaxbie

Put yourself out there.

Try to do something that allows you to meet new people. And I don't mean it in a romantic way like go on dates, but, you know hang out with people, get to know someone new. This way even if you don't find someone to date, you can get to know someone and they will introduce you to someone else and so on. I mean, I know it's very easy to just sit at home and be like "Well, if it's my fate, he/she will find me eventually". Especially if you're a girl (like me), it's easy to think this way and not even try to put in any efforts. But it doesn't work this way. Push yourself, be proactive, put yourself in situations where you might meet someone, even if they're sometimes not so comfortable for you. Even statistically the more people you meet, the more are the chances that one of them will end up that special someone. -choulada

That’s what this person did!

I was kinda following this advice (about "chill and wait") and I was 25 and never had a boyfriend. Then I realized I have to actually get out and do stuff, socialize etc. and that being introverted is not an excuse. I ended up going on vacation alone and staying in a hostel where I could socialize with people. There I met a guy, whom I am now happily married to. And if I was still sitting at home waiting for my fate to come, none of this would ever happen and I'd probably still be alone. -choulada

Mind over matter.

I think the message these people are trying to communicate is less, "do nothing and forget about your romantic aspirations and then your new dearly beloved will magically appear" and more that, while you should put yourself in situations where there is a greater likelihood of meeting someone, always having an"I want a relationship" mentality can be emotionally tiring. No matter what, most people are not dating material and you are not dating material to them, so it can be frustrating and lonely going through all these unfruitful interactions. I think it's better to focus on legitimately connecting with people while letting go of expectations, i.e. not manipulating a situation so that you're forcing something romantic on something that just isn't romantic.  -unsexme

Don’t give up.

I didn't meet my wife until I was 30. My 20's were quite lonely having had only one real girlfriend. Now that I'm married with 2 kids, my advice for anyone younger and trying to meet a partner in life is that you need to be upfront about your feelings, and don't be concerned with rejection. None of the rejection will matter when you get older. At the moment it can feel bad, but instead, you should think, "oh well, they didn't like me, I will go try another one." TLDR: not everyone is going to like you, and that's ok. Just keep trying until you find someone that does! -Iambirdman44

Having a ‘type’ isn’t the only indicator in a relationship.

My mom isn’t the best advice giver, but one thing she said to me that echoes that sentiment is: “you gotta kiss a lot of frogs to get a prince". And she was totally right. I never thought I would get married. Honestly, I never thought I’d meet a guy that actually was thoughtful, caring, and thought of me as an equal. Besides all that, I had a “type". Once I decided to get out of the mindset of looking for my “type" (which was mostly physical attributes), I just focused on having fun and going out and trying different things. I met my husband when I was 30 and absolutely hated his guts at first. We were coworkers and I also had a rule about not going where you eat. He was totally NOT my type at all, and after I got over my dislike for him (which was work related), I was able to get to know him outside of work through work sponsored events. Sounds strange, I know. After about 6 months of friendship, I realized I had feelings for him and we had our first kiss. Married him 2 years later. We’ve been married for 9 years and have a one-year-old daughter now and I’m as in love with him now as I ever was. Once you open yourself to possibilities, don’t close yourself off by having a “type", and don’t put pressure on things. You’ll be surprised how you can be blindsided by love. It can come from the most unexpected people and unexpected time in your life. -BootyMcSqueak

What an incredible story!

My story: I had 3 or 4 serious interests fail since high school and I’d been working a few years as a professional after university and there were so many duds. A couple of ones that fell for me but I just wasn’t that into them. I loved to travel and sometimes put myself out there but I couldn’t find anyone that clicked. 6 years ago I went on holiday by myself backpacking in Europe. I saw some old friends and did some tours etc. One night, I got hammered with a friend. Crashed on a couch, woke up and stumbled back to my accommodation. I was super hung over. Most of the day was a write-off. I wanted to do a tour and all day was procrastinating committing to it in my head. I just felt horrible. I wasn’t sure if I could be social while that hungover.  Then at the last minute (like literally when I was about to miss it), I decided that I needed to go because I should be out socializing instead of sitting inside watching tv I didn’t understand. I went on the tour and met my partner and knew instantly. We lived in far away countries and it seemed like only a one night stand. Except, we met up again a week later on another trip... then a few months later we happened to be near each other and planned a trip together. Then I went to visit her overseas. That’s when she asked me to move closer to be with her. 6 months later I quit my job and moved. We’re now together for 5 years and own a house together. I can’t imagine myself with anyone else. It’s all because both of us just kept answering the call and showing up. -CanuckianOz

Don’t throw a pity party for too long.

I'm a pretty introverted person, and this is exactly how I'm pulling myself out of my pity party. I force myself to go to at least one social gathering thing a week, even if I'm only there for like 30 minutes. It’s done wonders for my happiness and social skills. -kicker1015

Anything could happen.

I had a guy show up at my door once asking me out. I was never out except for going to work and walking my dog. There was a lady at my work telling me her son has a crush on me because he gets to see me as I walk my dog. And I wasn't too attractive. Just go out and let people see you actually exist and they may actually show up on your door asking you out and then you can give yourself a shock as hear yourself saying "ok." -Todaviano

One Redditor had an idea of how to approach dating women:

I'd say don't stress it by purposely trying to "activate the dating mode" on every woman you meet, just stay at on a friend level and see how it goes, if it develops into something where you think she's interested in more, go for it, if not then don't ruin the friendship and respect her opinion. In the end, it's a lot of random-ness. My first GF came outta nowhere and didn't have the intent to date me, but it went well (well, for a while lol) That being said, I'm bad at all of that stuff so take my stuff with a grain of salt. -Hydrotrex

And a female Redditor agreed:

As a female, I find it way more attractive when a guy takes his time to like me. When he likes me “instantly" I assume it’s purely because I’m attractive and he’s desperate, not because he enjoys my actual presence. I’m more on the reserved/introverted side so if you like a girl like that I’d try the slow and steady approach. -R1S4

Needlessly cutting people from your life doesn’t help.

Just because things don't happen romantically with someone doesn't mean you should cut them off. Sometimes people are meant to just be an acquaintance and you can expand your social circle through them, and meet a romantic partner from that. -donutsandwiches

Grab reinforcements.

I almost never went out alone. Too awkward and it never felt fun when I didn't know anyone. People don't usually go out of their way to talk to the person sitting alone. I re-met my husband when we both went to a mutual friend's Thanksgiving gathering. So I guess the moral here is to keep hanging out or ask friends to invite friends from their other circles to hang out so you can meet new people in a non-threatening environment. -NeonCookies41

Find a social hobby you enjoy.

There are more ways to meet people than going to bars and clubs. Join a society that does things. Bushwalking, camping, performs, makes stuff, helps people and stuff. Just do things that you enjoy in an environment that has other people. -baileysmooth

It’s cheesy, but be yourself.

I didn't meet my husband until I was in my early thirties. By then I had started to figure out who I really was and wanted to be. I was at the end of a toxic friendship. In this friendship, I was not allowed to be myself and it was hard. I starting talking to this dude online and I was allowed to be my weird, awkward self. It was so freeing. So just let your freak flag fly... do you... be yourself. You don't want to be with someone who doesn't appreciate who you are and what you're in to. It is so exhausting to be someone else, don't wait until it's too late. -jinxtaco

So what if you’re ‘weird’? Someone else is, too.

I spent much of the last 5 years thinking I was done with dating, that I'd be single forever, that women my age weren't interested in guys like me, etc. Make an excuse, I was probably telling it to myself. I've tried online dating, I've tried getting "out there" and widening my social circles, doing new things. I'd had a few very brief trysts arise from my efforts, but real connections felt very scarce, which to me seemed preposterous. I live in a very progressive state, with TONS of smart, kind, witty, wild women who are involved, aware, and active. But for all my efforts to meet and hold the attention of one, I was only feeling more and more defeated over time. The best thing you can do, I think, is to just do you. Find joy in your daily routine, in the aspects of your life that you choose. Be with you. Someone is going to notice. Confidence and comfort in your own skin are probably the most attractive qualities one can project. Are you a little bit weird? Go with it. Own it. Revel in it. Someone out there is gonna find your quirks adorable, even sexy. I'm 35 years old and I still have trouble believing myself to be an attractive individual. But I am also an incredibly harsh critic of myself, and I think many of us are, too. Just accept and love yourself, embrace and live the shit out of your life. Someone is going to want in. -evolving_I

Your partner should support you, and vice versa.

For me, it wasn't all looks. I could pretty much get any guy I wanted until I noticed a habit. Guys seemed to only like me for around a year, then left. I realized later that the attraction they had to my looks started to wear off, and that they actually didn't like my personality. I get it, I wasn't the easiest person to like. I was kooky, weird, unpredictable and had zero confidence. I was also a university drop-out, so not smart enough either. Then I met someone who I shared the same sense of humor with. He truly didn't care that I was weird, insecure or "dumb." He actually encouraged me to go back to school, not because he thought I was stupid, but because he knew I wanted to go back and finish where I left off. He gave me confidence and yeah, I'm still weird but at least I feel good about it. As for looks, well I'm older now so I'm not as attractive as I'm sure I once was, but what does it matter when you're married to someone who loves you for exactly who you are :) -Fluorescent_Booger

This couple met on Reddit!

There's something about the online space, where you can be yourself. I actually met my husband on Reddit, it started out as us just chatting, our conversations got deeper and deeper and we realized we were both crushing hard on each other. We've been together 5 years, 3 were long distance and we just celebrated our first anniversary, last month. -Kaggr

The outcome of a relationship is effected by how you feel about yourself.

Loving yourself is a very cliche phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and it can be frustrating trying to wrap your head around how one is supposed to actualize that into being. I went through a pretty dark period after having an engagement go sideways about 12-13 years ago. I went on a very self-destructive binge that lasted years and left me in a place where I wasn't very happy with or proud of myself. My relationships with some members of my peer group were put under a lot of stress because of things I had chosen to do, and my self-image slipped pretty far. I stopped trying to connect with people because I believed I was doing everyone a favor by disengaging. I'd reinforce that with ideas about how my lifestyle choices put me outside of how far most people are willing to go to make a connection. I've found that I am EXCEEDINGLY good at convincing myself that I don't and won't matter to anyone besides myself. But, as good at that as I may be, I am wrong. -evolving_I

Work on the internal narrative!

I generally try to live by a credo of "Don't be a dick and help out where you can." Sometimes I do a better job of one than the other. Spend enough time trying to be a good person and at some point, and you'll look down and realize you are one. For me, that's what realizing my love for myself was like. Yes, there are TONS of things I fuck up and can and should do better, and hey, the show's not over, there's still time for all that. But there ARE things that I currently do... that aren't selfish, that do not benefit me at all, but that bring joy and value to others. There are aspects of who I try to be that are also qualities I hope to see in other people. Those are things I can love about myself. Finding joy in what I do with my time every day, having a relentless sense of humor about any and every. single. thing. Those are things I can and do love about myself. It took time for me to understand, both those things about myself and about what self-love looks like for me. -evolving_I 

This person figured out how to engage with people when they were quite inexperienced at it.

I was a shut-in ages 13-17 because of my family's abuse and bullying in middle school. My therapist, family, family's friends, etc. were all skeptical of my ability to live a "normal" life—I basically spent all day playing Runescape, procrastinating in cyber school, and roleplaying on weird niche websites. I had severe anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia, so any hallmarks of a "normal" life seemed totally out of the question. Especially romance and sex, because of the body dysmorphia. Some stuff happened, and I ended up moving out at 18. Into my own apartment. Everyone thought this was completely insane, of course, but it worked. I think the most important part was that I had to rely on myself, which involved, like, ordering at restaurants. Or buying vegetables at the farmer's market (the closest market to my house). Or working on my laptop in a coffee shop because they had free internet and a good parfait. I don't know—no one reacted to me like I was some crazy monster with a hideously wrong face. So I started talking to people, who assumed I was a real person and not someone who until recently would go days at a time without bathing, waking up only to play Skyrim, eating chips for every meal. I was mostly just so shocked each step of the way—shocked that people were reacting to me like I was normal—that I didn't even really think about romance until it happened organically. And after that, I felt normal, because I had done lots of normal people things and I didn't feel like I was pretending anymore. So, it was easier the next time. -kl00j

And it ended up working quite well!

It's cliche, but I think the only reason any of this happened was because I put myself in a position where I had no option but to do a bunch of things that seemed terrifying and impossible before. And it's easier to do things when you have to, and if everything is something that used to be completely impossible, there's not that big a gulf between, like, buying a watermelon and talking to the person sitting next to you? I don't know if that's good advice. But yeah. -kl00j

Basically, you do you. Love comes.

I know it sounds weird but: Stop looking and find a hobby that can involve other people. I swear women can smell desperation and loneliness. After a couple of years of dating after my divorce, zillions of first dates and women who had no long-term potential, I gave up. I just did my own thing, worked on my cars with a local car club, worked, took care of the kids when I had them. Eventually, the woman I never would have sought out unexpectedly came along. Been married 16 years now. -TheGarp

Why is desperation scary?

I think one reason women (or anyone) are spooked by desperation is that if they don't know how they feel about the other person yet, but that person is obviously really into them, they want to pull back for fear of hurting the other person if they don't end up returning their feelings. So if I meet a guy and we're both just seeing where things go, I'm happy to go on dates even if I'm not sure if we'll end up together. If things don't work out, I won't feel like I've broken his heart. On the other hand, if I'm not sure where a relationship is going but I know the other person is really desperate for love, I might be too uncomfortable to keep going on dates, in case I don't develop the same feelings for him. I might not be thinking about it consciously, I might just know that I feel stressed when we're making plans and so I end up not wanting to go. -Dr_HQ

Over-investing can feel dangerous.

I really think this is more of the issue. Dating someone who wants a relationship SO BADLY can be kind of scary and uncomfortable. Like if it doesn't work out they will be CRUSHED and it will be terrible. Way too much pressure. Dating someone who has their own thing going on is much safer. If you get to know them better and you discover it's not going to work out, oh well. They don't get pissed that it turns out you don't want to sleep with them, everyone just says their goodbyes and moves on. -Dendarri

Love can’t be forced or captured.

I always tried to remember something I read. "Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the faster it will flutter away. Its when you ignore it and focus on other things, that it will come land in your hand on its own." -luminiferousethan_

Identify the difference between love, and settling.

I have a story and some advice. I was with my high school sweetheart for six and a half years. We had been through so much hardship and challenges in our separate lives and together that we thought we were unbreakable. I thought for many years I would end up married to him and we would grow old together. Until I started to doubt that. I started to doubt the love is was getting from him. I started to learn that the love we had wasn’t unconditional. I found out that he loved me when his temper wasn’t flaring up. I found out that our “romance" was more of a convenience because we lived together and shared bills. Basically, I figured out the love I was getting wasn’t the love I wanted, it was warped, manipulative and conditional. Luckily for me, one night he called me and dumped me. Found out later he was blackout drunk, but I held him to his drunk actions. My advice: don’t settle for “love" that puts a band-aid on your problems. Find real love, unconditional love, a partner that wants you to succeed and celebrates your triumphs and comforts you in your defeats. It’s not easy, and it’s not simple, but all I can stress is don’t say “I love you" just because you know that’s what your partner wants to hear. TLDR: not all love is true, find someone who loves you for you, advocates for you, and builds you up. -kalamata-olivine

Independence and relationships aren’t mutually exclusive.

I feel like once I finally became comfortable with the idea of being alone, is when my boyfriend and I started dating. He always has said my independence attracted him to me. I think you need to be okay with not being in a relationship and comfortable being by yourself. Part of a healthy relationship is having space within your relationship. That was something I had never known I was not ok with. I had two consecutive bad relationships where I feel like I was dependent on the other person's presence mostly because I didn’t trust them if they weren’t in my view. I think the idea of being comfortable with yourself as a whole is key. If you’re constantly on the “prowl" and not just enjoying yourself out. They know. Be whole and it’ll come to you. -jennyndthejetsss Share this relationship advice with any of your friends who could use a little pep talk!