Am I Still a Dating Optimist if I throw Away All of My Dating Books?
09/29/2010 - 14:10

“I’m just feeling so happy and optimistic about my dating life,” I told my friend as big, fat tear drops splattered onto my cheeks.

I had just finished reading the very sunny dating book, Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism To Find Your Perfect Match” by Amy Spencer, and I was feeling, well, Utterly Dejected.

Not because I disliked the book.

On the contrary, I liked this book very much. In fact, in the dating and relationship oeuvre (pronounced rather Frenchily) that is chock full of really rotten and stupid guides for the single and perplexed, I give this one top marks.

To begin with, it does not put down its single readers nor advocate changing who we are. Instead, it is all about keeping our spirits up through positive thinking and visualization. And, in contrast to Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, that recently caused a big buzz, Spencer tells us never to settle but to hold out for our “big, bad, wonderful love.”

So that alone is worth its weight in gold. Plus, the author is likable. She is funny and smart and it is clear that she really has been there, which is comforting considering so many dating “experts” have never been single a moment in their lives.

And yet, at the end of the day, not even this nice and smart Amy Spencer has the formula for finding love.

She quotes experts and scientists, sure. And they have done studies that visualization works. But still, it’s all just conjecture. As I always like to say, if someone in Auschwitz had conjured up some very vivid and rosy thoughts of flying away to freedom, would they not have been killed?

Which is another way of saying, I’m obsessed with the Holocaust.

No, which is another way of saying, we just don’t know what the future will bring. Sure, being positive and optimistic makes everything, not just love, better. But who is to say that even if all the dating optimists quoted in the book who had found their one true love had remained determined pessimists that they still would not have met their matches?

I mean, all of these success stories are told in hindsight. And it is easy to look back and say, once I started smiling and was open to the universe, that is when I met my beshert!

In other words, people, I am done with all the dating books. Even the nice ones. From now on I am only reading books that are going to engage my mind and imagination – not give me another formula for finding love.

That I will just have to leave to fate.

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Although you make a great point that optimism won't automatically bring you what you want like your soulmate, I definitely think it can speed up the process.
Unless you train your brain to think this way, it's hard to fathom the concept of Laws of Attraction working. And if a person has already spent many of their years thinking pessimistically, fearing the process won't work for them, it's even harder to alter their mind. But not that it can't be done. Some victims of the Holocaust survived, and for an era where the Laws of Attraction was largely unknown, could it possibly be that some of these people were practicing optimism?

Thanks for taking the time to post this. You have helped answer a question that has been gnawing away at me! I know about Frankl but have never read him so now I certainly will.
Without meaning to deny the horrors of the Holocaust or minimise what those who suffered went through, Viktor Frankl is often cited as an example of somebody who did focus on something positive and the help that gave to his soul helped him to survive (at least mentally and or spiritually). There are others who credit positive thoughts with similar survival but he is possibly the most-often cited. More info here: A brief quote from the site: "Even in the degradation and abject misery of a concentration camp, Frankl was able to exercise the most important freedom of all - the freedom to determine one's own attitude and spiritual well-being. No sadistic Nazi SS guard was able to take that away from him or control the inner-life of Frankl's soul. One of the ways he found the strength to fight to stay alive and not lose hope was to think of his wife. Frankl clearly saw that it was those who had nothing to live for who died quickest in the concentration camp." So while I know it can be incredibly tough sometimes to keep focussing on the positive (I echo your thoughts sometimes) don't give up on it entirely. "He who has a why for life can put with any how." Frederick Nietzsche