There are a lot of myths out there about dating. One of those myths is that you’ll find love when you stop looking. In my opinion, nothing could be further than the truth.

My philosophy is that you are the CEO and enTREPreneur of your love life, that your dating life is like any other area of life that requires effort. Take your career, for instance. Your career didn’t just happen overnight. It took time, investment, and energy to create a career life you enjoy, right?

Your professional path, no doubt, was often full of trial and error, missteps, wrong turns, and disappointments. You had to make an effort when applying for new positions and practicing for interviews. You had to study your ass off for various tests and degrees and certifications. You had to push yourself to move beyond your limiting beliefs and fears, such as, “I’m not smart or talented or articulate enough for this job or to do this project.” When you had a big presentation, you didn’t just half-ass it, you spent time making sure the PowerPoint was, well, on point. You spent countless hours practicing public speaking or rehearsing presentations for colleagues. You felt discomfort and nerves and insecurities at various points throughout your trajectory in the working world.

So why, why, why on earth would we ever expect that creating love in our lives – arguably, one of the most important things in the world — should just happen, magically, without any effort, time, or commitment? Does that make any sense?

Now, I’m talking about being proactive in your love life, and that can mean different things for different people. If you continually go for unavailable people or have Neely Steinberg, dating advice blogunhealthy dating patterns, let’s figure out why. If you don’t feel good about yourself, let’s figure out how to start changing your self-image. If you’re not meeting quality people online, let’s talk about how you can make your profile better. If you have no social life, let’s talk about why that is and figure out how to create more opportunities for you to meet people and branch out. So, yes, being proactive and looking is important.

But what I am not talking about is becoming a desperate, frantic man hunter? There’s something to be said for not trying too hard (i.e. thinking about dating and finding The One all hours of the day, 7 days a week). There’s something to be said for being in action in your dating life but also being able to be detached from the outcome.

Not trying at all, though, assuming that love will just find you because you’ve decided to not look or try? Not the best strategy in my opinion.

Most of the women I know who are in settled relationships were proactively doing things to meet their partner, whether it was going to lots of events, putting time and energy into online dating, asking friends and family to be set up, and/or working with a therapist to get beneath the surface. In other words, they were looking; they were engaging in proactive behavior to create change in their lives. Personally, I invested a lot of time and energy into going to various events, networking, online dating, and working with a therapist. Eventually, my efforts (I met my husband on Match) created what I was looking for: a healthy, happy marriage with an amazing man.

Sure, you’ve heard about some woman out there randomly bumping into a stranger while crossing the street, at which point said stranger decides to strike up a conversation, which leads to getting her number, going on a first date, and then a marriage proposal a year later.

I’m not saying you can’t meet someone in a random situation (like waiting for the subway or in line at a café); in fact, I encourage people to be open to surprises all around them and to “look” even while performing seemingly inconsequential activities in life, which means picking your head up, acknowledging the world and people around you, making eye contact, and initiating or responding to conversation with people in random places.

But relying solely on going about your daily life and the advice to “stop looking,” expecting to have love one day just appear won’t help you all that much. Moreover, for a lot of people, it’s more than just about being proactive in terms of getting “out there”; it’s about making the commitment to understand your fears, insecurities, and patterns, so that when you do go out there, you’re in the best position to make healthy, happy connections and enter into healthy, happy relationships. Some people can date until they’re blue in the face but still not find what they’re truly looking for, because they haven’t been proactive in the ways they need to be proactive (i.e. working with a coach or therapist to uncover deeper issues).

So, please, don’t live your dating life by this myth.

If finding love is a priority, treat it like one and start looking.

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