Meeting the love of your life serendipitously continues to be a front runner in the list of ideal ways one can find a partner. There is an element of mystery, coupled with excitement and romance, all ingredients for a great love story. But how does one meet people serendipitously at a time when we don’t have to step out of our homes for anything? From food to furniture, today we can get anything delivered to our doorstep. Except perhaps a real-life, loving relationship.
The lockdowns and the social distancing due to the pandemic have been very hard for singles. Most of my single clients are fatigued by the overuse of dating apps in the last two years. One of them is 30-year-old D. She is so repulsed by her experience on the apps that she has deleted every dating and matrimony app from her phone. Keen to get married now, D knows that she must make the effort to find a partner. She is very clear though, that it won’t be through an app. It’s been a month since we have been working on creating opportunities to meet someone serendipitously. We started by drawing up a list of things she likes to do. D’s list was eclectic: she likes to dance, travel, visit art museums, play with pets, and read. Weekend lockdowns had just been eased so the timing was right for her to be able to get out of the house.
A quick search led D to a dance studio that had re-started in-person lessons. She also worked into the plan visits, twice a month, to the National Gallery of Modern Art. D also, figured out that she could volunteer at CUPA, an animal welfare association. She was ready to step out and meet people.
At this point it was important to set her expectations from this endeavour. She needed to acknowledge and remember that going to any of these places was no guarantee that she would meet someone special. The only guarantee was that she will get out of her house to do something she enjoys doing. Would it lead to her finding someone? It could. Even if D does not meet The One herself, she may become friends with someone who might introduce her to the love of her life. One of my friends got married to the brother of a girl she became friends with at a cookery class. Such incidents have happened and continue to happen if we give life a chance.
In the two dance lessons she’s attended so far, or during her one visit each to NGMA and CUPA, D has not met any single men yet. There has been an upside though, she is very excited about life in general. The disheartenment of not getting anywhere on a dating app is also dissipating. D is now waiting for restrictions to ease further so that she can start travelling again. This time though, during her travels, she wants to consciously interact with people, open to the possibility of meeting someone. In a sense she wants to let go of trying to control the process of finding someone and just be present at places where she has the chance to meet that person.
The fact is that you can meet someone you might fall in love with anywhere, on a flight, at a museum, during a train ride, at a dance class, or even at a hospital. You just need to be present physically at that place at that time.
The famous meet-cute story of Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sarah (Kate Beckinsale) in the 2001 film Serendipity is based on that premise. They reach out for the same pair of gloves in a pre-Christmas shopping mayhem at Bloomingdale's. Sarah is shopping for her boyfriend, and Jonathan for his girlfriend. Yet, they are attracted to each other. They’ve just met and are obviously confused by their feelings, so they decide to leave it to fate to bring them together again if it is really meant to be.
Even as they leave things to destiny, Jonathan and Sarah make a great effort to find each other again. They travel across the country, spend ridiculous amounts of money, and drag their friends along into this journey. All because in their gut, they know that they belong together – or at least that they need to give each other a chance to see if this is true. Their first meeting might have been serendipitous but their second meeting was backed by conscious effort. I don’t see why one cannot take a similar conscious route to create an opportunity to meet someone they might fall in love with.
It’s an encouraging thought — that being consciously present in places where you think you will meet like-minded people might yield to something. That effort has a huge plus if you’re doing something you truly enjoy, or are going somewhere you will truly want to. This approach is also beneficial for your mental well-being. In that state, you will be able to listen to your gut clearly and articulate what your heart wants. Maybe that’s the only step you need to take and then — like Sarah describes the idea of serendipity in the movie — let “a fortunate accident” happen.
This is a limited series by Simran Mangharam, a dating and relationship coach, who can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org