love with intention?

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Before I start on today’s post, I’d like to thank everyone for the sweet and encouraging emails and comments about my new Business With Intention consulting! I’m excited to say that I have a new booklet that describes the packages available for people thinking about a business idea, growing a business, or honing a business.

Over the past few months I’ve gotten a handful of emails regarding the question of whether one’s love life can be designed with intention. Overall, I think that is a tough question to answer with absolute certainty. Nevertheless I put Melissa, our amazing Jess LC intern and assistant, up to the challenge of seeing whether we can make intentions for love. After reading Mari Ruti’s book, The Case for Falling in Love, Melissa has kindly shared her thoughts on the subject.


Love With Intention?

Let me start off saying that I am not an expert on anything, except possibly how to make a mean Whoopie Pie (Jess, Susie, Mr. Lively, and the UPS boys can attest to this).  I am definitely not an expert when it comes to love, relationships and men.  Yes, I have been in relationships, two serious ones within my lifetime, and experienced the pain of a breakup recently back in August.  Moving to present tense Melissa, I am single and ready to mingle.  Dating is a rough scene to break back into, especially after being in a long term relationship.  Jess gave me the book The Case for Falling in Love by Mari Ruti, and upon receiving this book, I decided to open myself up to what the book had to say, but also what I can take from the book and apply to my future dating ventures.  How can I date with Intention after reading this book?

How I Think About Men:

1. Men are NOT from Mars, and Women are NOT from Venus.

I learned in school that we all are from planet Earth actually, no matter what any book says, and Ruti agrees with me on this part.  Men and women are different in a variety of ways, but we tend to experience the same emotions and fears. Just because I am a woman does not mean that any man is not capable of having the same feelings or attitudes as me and vice versa.   There is also this perception that men are the “hunters” and women are the ones being hunted.  I personally do not want to be hunted; I would rather be “wooed” like they did in the olden days.  Don’t let these silly gender ideas hold you back in the dating world ladies.

2. Don’t Be Scared of Being Alone

I know sometimes being single is not the greatest. I have had those moments where I want someone to vent to besides my Mom, or someone to cuddle up next to on the couch besides my body pillow.  Sometimes this fear leads us rushing into things, allowing us to settle for anything less then what we deserve.  We have to set our own standards for the people we date.  My roommate and I ended up making a list of traits I was looking for in a guy when getting ready to go on a date one night.  The poor guy didn’t even make it past date number two.   I set my standards though, and didn’t settle for anything less then what I felt I deserved, and neither should you.

How I Think About Love and Relationships:

3. Love Should Be Filled with Idealizations

I know after an extended period of time knowing someone, the qualities you see in someone go from being extraordinary to just plain ordinary.  When it comes to a relationship, there has to be something extraordinary, some sort of “fire” that keeps the relationship going, and you loving that person.  I have had the boyfriend who could always make me laugh, whether I was crying, or just waking up in the morning.  I also had the boyfriend who was reliable and would be anywhere I needed him to be, whether it was because I was having a meltdown or I just wanted to go to Steak N’ Shake.  That one particular trait about both of these guys made them extraordinary all the time.  We need to not only focus on the extraordinary in our loved ones, but also in ourselves.

4. A Love Failure is NOT a Life Failure

I know break ups are the worst.  There is always that feeling of loss.  You go back and question what you did wrong, where you should have put more effort, why it fell apart.  I had a 2 year long distance relationship, which fell apart after a difficult summer being in different time zones, and living completely different lives.  Like anything that goes wrong in our lives, I learned.  I learned about myself, I became in tune with my own emotions and I learned about what I want out of my life, which is a good start for being 20.  Love failures are not the end of you; it is more the beginning to a new stage of discovering yourself.

5. What is Meant to Happen Always Will

Things happen, you forget your coffee at home, you get toothpaste on your sweater, you have a bad hair day, your laptop pulls a Diana Ross on you, and your relationship ends.  Yes, all have happened to me within the past 6 months, two of them happening today.  Isn’t that how it goes though?  Things happen, and sometimes relationships need to end.  My relationship ended in August because it needed to.  Plain and simple.  If we kept the relationship going we would have beaten it down until there would be nothing, not even a friendship.   Everything happens for a reason, even if it sucks, it needs to happen, and we all need to remember that.

Now that the book is done, and this little excerpt from my brain is almost done, I believe I am ready to not only tackle the dating scene, but I can start dating with intention.  I hope everyone starts to date with intention, no matter what your status is.  And to those braving the dating world with me, good luck!

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  1. Elena

    I thought this post was great! Thanks for the words. My favorite line was: “Love failures are not the end of you; it is more the beginning to a new stage of discovering yourself.” and then everything under #5. 🙂

  2. Jess

    @ Elena: I’m so happy to hear you liked Melissa’s post. She’s wise beyond her years :).

  3. Merissa

    This is a really cute and positive post, but I’m sorry to say I’m a little disappointed. I’m comparing these ideas for loving with intention with living with intention, and while this article has great thoughts, I don’t see how they’re intentions. An intention is a theme/goal that you focus your life/love life on, right? I’m still trying to figure out what an intention for a love life would be. I imagine an intention for a single person could be: have fun; love myself first; demand respect; enjoy the process of dating; try new things/put yourself out there. And maybe for a couple it would read: be patient; trust fully; make time for each other. These are just thoughts, and maybe I’m misunderstanding what design your (love) life with intention means.

    I personally disagree with the idea of writing a list of character traits for a potential match. I love making lists, for it helps things stay orderly, but can you really describe a person in a list of traits? Try to make a list of your own traits; it’s impossible to capture a person that way! And while writing a list defines the person you may THINK you want, it also confines you to that description. You can’t imagine the person you may fall in love with, so if you go through life carrying a picture of that person, you’ll likely miss a lot of interesting potential matches along the way. I’m not at all suggesting anyone settles. I think a short list and an open heart is best (mine reads: passionate, intelligent and open).

    I do really really love that “a love failure is not a life failure”. It’s taken me a long time to learn (and I’m still learning!) that a breakup isn’t something to be embarrassed about.

  4. Jess LC

    @ Merissa: Thank you so much for such a thoughtful, well written response with your thoughts on the subject of love and intentions! I think everything you’ve mentioned about love and the way you are looking at the idea of relationships and life perspective is extremely wise and sounds like it is working very well for you!

    I also think that Melissa’s perspectives highlighted in coral are her intentions for love in a *super* general sense, but also are takeaways she took from reading the book. I think you, Melissa, and I would all agree that intentions for love are very difficult to nail down and are extremely personal, so your intentions could vary greatly Melissa’s or even my own.

    As for the list of traits, I know the part of the book that Melissa was getting that perspective from and the idea of the list was meant to ward off the possibility that we might settle for someone that is not really into us or perhaps has issues that he needs to work through before he would be a good partner. For example, I am sorry to say that in high school I didn’t make a list of what I was looking for a guy, and one of the first guys that showed interest in me was the one that I fell for. Hard. And it was a terrible idea, my friends didn’t like him, he didn’t treat me very nicely, and didn’t even invite me to prom! But because I was willing to accept any kind of treatment from him, no standards in place, I stayed with the guy even after he invited another girl to prom! (SO embarrassing to even admit this.) For this kind of reason, I think the standards that Melissa was mentioning are more to protect someone like “high school me” from dating someone that isn’t a good fit. But you are right, we need to be open to the positive traits of an individual if they are genuinely caring, loving people.


  5. Merissa

    @ Jess, thanks for clearing this up, it makes a lot of sense! Really, it’s so nice to hear that other young women are thinking about these important things :).

  6. Grace

    I know this response comes a little late, but another great read on this subject is Arielle Ford’s book: “The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction”. It has lots of creative exercises to help you prepare for meeting your soulmate. Very inspiring!

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