I Looked for Romantic Love for a Year and Ended Up with Self-Love

Half of my 2017 was spent moving on from someone I’ve never met in person. Countless strangers online and an uninhibited belief got me through my worst nights. The act of liberty empowered me. For the first time, I preferred to be free from attachments. I was stepping out of my comfort zone without leaving my bed. Unexpectedly, however, my laptop broke and was out of commission for over a month. With space and distance, retrospection made me realize my passive leisure was actually exhausting. Underneath, my energy belonged to these strangers.

A few months later, I decided to try Tinder to finally forge connections. A Filipino (someone who actually lives near me) started talking to me. We clicked instantly. Our senses of humos perfectly mirrored each other’s. We made plans and we knew we’d meet in person. I was sure of it. I thought, “This is it."

The day before we’d meet, he casually said “I love you." I told him not to say it so casually and without meaning it. He kept me on read for days. We stopped talking. My mind lingered on broken plans and how I was always left with doors unclosed. I stopped seeking for a while.

Come July and a stranger on Facebook messaged me to check up on a mutual friend. After talking for hours on end, we became friends. Hours became months of friendship. Eventually, attraction worked its way through non-physical intimacy and vulnerability. But he doesn’t believe in long-distance relationships, and I swore to myself never to do it again. My thoughts fought between practicality and inevitable attachment.

In October, I became close to someone extremely quickly. We talked about our lives and I fell for him. I thought he felt the same. But he miscommunicated and I misunderstood. I knew we’d end one way or another, but the pain still stabbed me in the face. Depression from 6 years ago came back knocking on my door.

Coworkers became friends and the meaning of self-love became much more complex to me. 2 months felt like a year.

It was December and I found myself lying in bed peacefully, surprised that I wasn’t hurting over anyone. I wasn’t waiting for any replies. I didn’t have the urge to open any dating apps and run to someone’s chat box or arms. My mental state wasn’t being interfered by any external influences. I was just in my own world. That hazy morning astonished me with its extreme comfort.

I realized that most of this year was spent either moving on from someone or looking for someone to move on from. It’s such a nice feeling toafter so many wild nights of jumping from one idealization to another and chasing what couldn’t be chasedbe back with myself again. I'm not looking for anything or anyone. I was content just lying on my bed alone, with my door and windows closed; an old favorite feeling of mine was in the air.

By Sam Fabian

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