Learn the difference between refusing to settle and having unrealistic expectations.
Will kisses and leaves a beautiful blond woman in his bed of Egyptian cotton sheets to run to work Monday morning in the London rain. He has it all: a coveted position at a major investment bank, a gorgeous girlfriend, is extremely athletic, comes from a castle-owning, high-status family, and to top it off, he has tousled hair, smoldering eyes, and a chiseled jaw line.
He crosses the street, and a motorcyclist crashes into him out of nowhere. The screen goes blank.
Now we focus on Louisa, a pretty brunette and beautifully awkward young woman pouring tea to fussy but adorable little British ladies. Out of nowhere, her boss fires her, leaving her jobless with a family who desperately needs the money.
She struggles to find a position, but finally, a wealthy British woman hires her on the spot to care for her paraplegic son. I’m sure that you can guess who that son is.
After a few months of resentful and arrogant behavior, Will begins to warm up to Louisa, and they slowly fall in love. In classy fashion, his blond ex-girlfriend marries his best friend.
Will brings Louisa to the wedding where they start to realize their feelings for each other. He wheels Louisa around on the dance floor and they banter about how before the accident, he would have barely given her a second look; he was so focused on skinny, blond, social climbing women like his ex.
As a result of his accident, he sees everything differently. He sees with his heart.
As a matchmaker, I share Will’s revelation in the 2016 book Me Before You with our bachelors and bachelorettes in their date coaching sessions.
Frequently, the reason why people stay single when they want to have girlfriend or boyfriend has to do with skewed priorities. They constantly ask, “Why am I single?” not knowing the true answer.
Of course, attraction is very important in a match, but when I hear certain physical deal-breakers listed in my office, I challenge our clients to start appreciating inner qualities. I advise them to make a list of 10 internal qualities that they’re looking for in their future husband or wife.
If you’re sick of being single and want to try this, start by thinking of others of the opposite sex whom you admire and list their traits. You’ll find people become more attractive to you when you begin giving them a chance and breaking out of the cage of what’s “your type.” When people let go of certain physically-driven characteristics instead of simply going out with “their type,” they open themselves to true love.
Me Before You also reveals an important insight about the arduous journey to love. We live in a world that values material success: cars, luxurious vacations, physical perfection, professional excellence, and status. Of course, these things do hold a certain level significance — you want your significant other to have a stable job — but these values shouldn’t be the primary focus.
I’m the first one to recommend that our bachelorettes wear a little black dress and heels and do their hair and makeup before their dates, but good grooming and taking care of your body are self-care necessities.
When people start listing minimum salary requirements or requesting matches 20 years younger for their dates, their priorities need realignment. However, we refrain from passing too much judgment; our pop culture bombards us with these images when we drive to work, read a magazine, or watch TV.
Quite apart from common standards of beauty and romantic love, true love shows itself in the little ways: reliability, deep concern for the other person, having fun together, laughing, thoughtful gifts, and enjoying the other person’s presence sans your phone or an obsessing about your next Instagram post.
Since Will was confined to his wheelchair and Louisa was paid, they were forced to spend hours of unromantic time together and as a result, they really got to know each other. In time, they fell for each other and had a much deeper and more fulfilling relationship than the superficial romance that Will had become accustomed to cultivating.
Our brief analysis of the current dating climate exposes how it can take years to learn the true ways of love, more time than you may have bargained for with a 5-year plan.
It took Will a major accident; it takes other bachelors and bachelorettes heartbreak after heartbreak or a 6-month date cleanse, to start seeing with the eyes of the heart.
For instance, one bachelor and bachelorette were both active in their religious community and had gone to the same event and were seated in the same room before they met for the first time and fell in love a year and a half later. Although being single felt frustrating at the time, they both acknowledged how much they grew in this year and a half and how they felt grateful they had that time to work on themselves before they met.
Your future wife may be going through issues that she can only process alone before she’ll even recognize you as the right man for her. The road to true love takes patience, persistence, and introspection.
Only those who can look at themselves honestly, open themselves to others outside “their type” and change date-killing ways will find it. Learn the difference between refusing to settle and having unrealistic expectations.
The journey to love resembles that of a labyrinth. You may get close to the middle but then find a dead end, which leads you seemingly further away but in effect, you’re coming closer; you just have trouble seeing it yet.
Walk that labyrinth, take courage, and after a few turns around the bend you’ll make it to the center and meet the beautiful-hearted man or woman who is worth all of the trials. It took Will a major accident and full body paralysis to recognize true love. What will it take you?