What if You Never Find True Love?

by Coach Ellie

 What if I invited you to my birthday party but, only started decorating the living-room and making the cake AFTER you rang my door bell? “Oh, you really decided to show up!?” I’d say, surprised and a little scared, as I pull the eggs out of the fridge and start tearing the shrink wrap off the streamers.

How much fun would that be verses walking into a room with food steaming, and the music already bumping? That’s the difference between desperately seeking true love and warmly inviting it.

When we pine away for a special someone to come and complete our lives, we lose.

As love addicts we need be careful and not wait to find our dream partner. Instead, we have to get the party started on our own, –then and only then– can we expect to “find” delighted guests/partners.

School of Life “What if We Never Find True Love?” video

What’s the craving for true love all about?

The School of Life video, “What if we never find true love?” narrated by Alain de Botton, gives the following description:

“From the start of adulthood, we have been waiting. We understood love intuitively long before it was ever a practical possibility. We knew that it was bound up with a sense of being profoundly understood and finally able to say everything, without fear of judgment or censure. Love was a two-person conspiracy against everyone else too dumb or leaden to get ‘it’, the true nature of being alive. It had to do with fancying someone totally and the amazingness that they might fancy you back…”

True love = being fully recognized and accepted.

What we overly focus on is the intoxicating, exciting part of romantic love. That feeling that comes, when at long last, someone understands you. You think he/she is great and he/she feels the SAME about you. Score! You just won relationship Bingo! Happiness Yahtzee!

But if you suffer with love addiction, you need to tread lightly here.

Too often this deep thirst for “the one” gets twisted. Love addicts confuse inherent worth and life purpose with desirability. This sends us on a wild goose chase outside of ourselves.

The tragic craving and pinning for “love” is about addiction.

In other words, its about escaping ourselves. It’s about never maturing out of childhood fantasies (also see: coping strategies). We get this notion in our mind that getting approval from others, but in particular a romantic partner, will save us. It will end any speculation of our desirability and thereby give us a reason to get up in the morning and just generally solve all our problems. And a lot of us don’t even realize we are harboring these beliefs. We are just acting on what feels like instinct.

Which leads me to…

Here’s what’s NOT good about the “What if I never Find True Love” Video

The first time I watched it, I was very down. My relationship seemed to be circling the drain and so I turned to self-help YouTube for a little uplift. And then this video just crushed me.

It seemed to say, “Yes. You could definitely never find true love. Sucks, right? OK, bye now.”

I was left as hopeless and despondent as this person in the YouTube comment section who wrote (this comment received thousands of “likes”):

“I’m already finding myself constantly questioning what is the point of my existence, dragging myself day by day to endure, because underneath all the outgoing, strong, dependable me, that people are used to see, there is an inherent sadness and emptiness that doesn’t diminish in time. It grows and sometimes feels unbearable. So when I clicked the video, lured by the title, I was low key hoping to hear something that would give me hope or make me feel better. Instead, all it did was reinforce the idea that some people just have to deal with the fact that for whatever reason, they are the ones who will never experience what they’ve been craving all their lives in the first place – to be truly loved and understood by a special someone, romantically loved – I don’t mean friends and family.”

And that, my friends, is unrecovered love addiction; the belief that ones existence is unbearable without romantic love. When the truth is that the love you feel for and from others is only as deep as the love your feel inside yourself.

It’s such a pisser.

So then, what’s great about this video?

It’s very real; both unsentimental and brimming with wry humor.

During the second viewing, my mood was up. It did not feel like some upper-class, British YouTuber was telling me I am doomed to die alone. Round two brought a much milder a message; what if we let go of our romantic fantasies and just accept what is?

That does NOT mean, “just accept that you –for whatever reason– must be alone forever.” It’s actually pointing out the absurdity of that kind of thinking.

It’s an invitation to dig deeper.

The question: “What if you never find true love?” It’s a trick.

It’s NOT that you are brutally unlucky. You merely lack perspective. The better question to ask, instead is: “What if you never truly love and accept yourself?” Something, over which, you actually have power.

OK but, what does it mean to feel love for and fully accept yourself?

It’s full acceptance of who you really are, bad parallel parking, cellulite, poor joke timing and all. It’s a decision you make and then follow-through on. Just like you’d study to become a rocket scientist or a dog groomer.

There are steps you can take to learn self-acceptance. It’s basically what recovery is all about. It’s a decision to challenge outdated beliefs and to behave differently. In one since it’s a snap of a finger. SNAP! “I pledge to love myself.” And in another since it’s looong journey that seems daunting at first but actually only gets easier and better over time.

Image by Jenny Mavimiro on Pexels.

Love MYSELF? How exactly?

It’s a typical exasperated response. You may have been subconsciously operating under the belief that you will have to basically trick someone into loving you. You can work on the this self-love project, but first,  you must look fit, do impressive things and make pleasant enough conversation in the hopes that someone will be fooled long enough to make you their partner, right?

No. Of course, no.

True love is a belief and feeling that must first be generated from –you guessed it– within. From YOURSELF, first. That’s the whole irritating thing about “you gotta love yourself first” and why it is like nails on a chalkboard to love addicts.

It’s frustrating and impossible sounding!

Yea, Yea, I’ve heard that “love yourself first” chestnut before.

You may be very skeptical of my RAH, RAH, “U juz gotta luv urself” cornball message. And you may insist that everybody knows what true love is. And some of us will just never get there. And just accept that already!

But I will throw this back in your lap: your version of “true love” will never be more than you are personally capable of experiencing internally. True love is first experienced inside yourself before you can recognize it with another person.

But fret not! Your capacity to love is as reliable as the Old Faithful geyser in Yellow Stone National Park. You’ve just need the guide map and some patience.

How to Cultivate that warm, self-loving energy:

Self Date

Jump start that wholesome, self-love goodness by dating yourself. Take yourself to cool and interesting places. Dress nice and be of good humor, all on your own. By putting a spotlight on yourself, you better understand what brings you joy.

Self-dates provide a kind of emotional boot camp. There you are at the museum, at the restaurant, or on a mountain hike, just you and your thoughts, needs and wants. You might feel clumsy but, it’s great practice for taking responsibility for your own life. You cannot project your discomfort on anyone else. No blaming anyone for having a bad time. And no leaning on another person to do the picking, parking or the paying. It’s just you taking care of you.

Going on self-dates helps us have “me time” while also exercising our social muscles. It teaches us self-reliance as opposed to deferring to others. By going out and choosing the exact row we want to sit in, selecting the exact exhibition that draws us in or dancing to the exact song that makes us feel something, we are getting better acquainted with ourselves.

Then, Sober Date

Now take that fun you were able to whip-up with yourself and go on dates with other people, but sober. By sober I mean no drinking or drugging as well as no dissociating, fantasizing, controlling or trying to impress your date. Just seek to have a good time.

Go slow.

Dating should be enjoyable and you also want to make sure you are being the real you.  No planning your future, no grilling them about theirs, no over-sharing, just enjoy. Keep your expectations to a minimum. The point is to connect and have fun.

But that “fun” can be so vague when we don’t take the time to get to know ourselves. So, go on awkward self-dates first. That way you build a strong enough sense of self; you know what you do and don’t like. Get clear on what you will endure and absolutely will not. That will give you the confidence to stand your ground as necessary.

Cultivating, what I call, the reservoir of self is essential. That’s what you will turn to when your date disappoints by being dull or an asshole or a dull, asshole. You don’t have to freak out or melt down. You have you! You can now be your own advocate, social worker, bail bondsman etc.

Image by Senoka on Pexels.

What if I never find true love?” is a hopelessly passive question.

The goal of recovery is freedom from a desperate need for “true love.” Instead we create a warm and stable relationship with ourselves which ends up turning us into truly loving partners.

Love addicts exaggerate the deliciousness of romantic love. Rather than focusing on genuine care and affection we idealize its by-product, romance.

And yes, while emotionally and physically connecting to someone you are attracted to is amazing and wonderful, until we get some recovery under our belt, we cannot be truly present for it. We are just flailing around begging others to tell us we are good enough. That’s miserable!

Get out of this trap. Instead, trust that the emptiness and the cravings will subside once you finally find affection for your imperfect self.


  • There’s a big difference between desperately seeking love and warmly inviting it.

  • The School of Life video, “What if we never find true love?” is worth watching but be careful if you’re feeling sad about relationships.

  • The comment section of the video is full of un-recovered love addict thinking.

  • The larger point the video is to let go of romantic fantasies and embrace reality.

  • Instead of worrying about finding love, focus on learning to fully accept yourself as you are.

  • If you find the act of self-love impossible, you are not alone.

  • Self-love/self-acceptance is something you can cultivate inside yourself, if you slow down.

  • We learn to truly love and accept others by first accepting ourselves.

  • We need to cultivate intimacy with ourselves before we can have intimacy with a partner.

  • Going on self-dates is an excellent way to train your brain to go for what you really want.

  • Self-dates teach you to be disciplined in taking care of yourself emotionally which in turn makes you emotionally available for a boyfriend or girlfriend.

  • Sober dating is about literally not drinking or drugging on dates and it’s also about being emotionally available and fully present.

  • We don’t have to fear never finding true love as long as we learn to fully love and accept ourselves.

  • Finding “true love” is a by-product of loving ourselves.

So, invite people to the party with the real you. That way you won’t be alone. And even if your true love never shows up, you still got you. Happy, fun, self-accepting you.

Think you might want help with this stuff? Schedule a no obligation conversation with me, today.

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