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    Things always seem to end before they get a chance to start. Hi, my name is RosesUnderfoot and I’m an educated, loving, independent, athletically gifted 21 year old looking for love. Oh, this isn’t Tinder? Whoops. Okay, let me get on with this post.

    After a few years of soul searching and complete spiritual success, I’ve begun to feel a sudden urge to find a partner. Growing up I never prioritized intimate relationships because my grades, winning soccer games, and sleep were critical to my future success! This carried on until my senior year of high school. So determined to be recruited and accepted by Division 1 Universities, I never really focused on boys or hooking up. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle & had a couple surgeries a week before scouting began and was forced to sit on the bench while my teammates signed contracts. I couldn’t handle this major shift – this new roadblock I faced flipped my world upside down. Not playing sports or feeling like I achieved my greatest dream forced me to look within. It forced me into this new, lonely journey that transcended everything I thought I knew. I had a full blown existential/identity crisis. Four years later, I’m well on my way. I’m an athlete again (powerlifting), my career is promising (recent college graduate), and my newfound spirituality has transformed how I see my world.

    My relationship with myself is absolutely beautiful and fulfilling and that is essential for any relationship in my life to be successful. However, when it comes to fostering relationships with men, I find myself continuously holding them to high standards. Hoping that they’d fulfill my expectations and complement my focused, driven lifestyle. To my dismay, I run into men who are looking for hookups, don’t value my company, or continuously demean my abilities. When I ask for advice I always get the usual “Life is short – have fun!”, “It’s okay to experiment, you’re young!”. Well, I attempted one short-term “friends with benefits” thing recently and I just felt empty. I crave love. Sex is superficial and loses it’s value when it’s not with someone I truly care about. I know my dating life has been short and I know I have a lot to learn but could I possibly be expecting too much? Am I naive to think that there’s more to life than just hooking up? Is love real? I find myself yelling, “Fake!”, at the end of romantic comedies because of all of my failed dating experiences. I don’t think I’m giving up but rolling my eyes at the TV screen when they kiss in the rain sure isn’t healthy. Alright, maybe that last question can’t be answered but I guess that’s just an example of my current state of mind. Im a hopeless romantic looking to become a hopeful, optimistic lovebug.

    This is my first post so hello to you all. I hope you’re doing well. I’m hoping to hear some suggestions or personal experiences. Thanks for reading!


    Hi eliza,

    I feel bad for you and my daughter who’s around your age: Quality men are hard to find! They are either still boys, or they have totally bought into our superficial hook-up culture.

    May I suggest giving older men a shot? At a certain point, even the men get sick of it, but by the time they reach where you are now, they are a little older.

    All I can say is good luck, it actually sounds like you’re doing great!




    Hi Eliza. Welcome to Tiny Buddha. It sounds like you are a person of great character and integrity. Its normal to yearn for someone to share life with. But your so young, there is no rush to find the perfect mate. It takes time and you are absolutely right to stick to your principles. In my case, I lowered my principles and rushed into a marriage in my mid twenties just because many of my friends were getting married. Needless to say it didn’t last long. There are nice guys out there that feel the same way you do. Be patient and optimistic and I’m sure the right one will come along. Best of luck!!


    Dear eliza:

    You asked: “Am I naive to think that there’s more to life than just hooking up?”

    My answer: no, no, no! you are not naïve- there is more to life than hooking up, for crying out loud!

    You asked: “Is love real?”

    My answer: yes, it is real. “To love and love in return”- this is the best part of life, the most meaningful.



    Dear Eliza,
    By your words you sound like a very intelligent funny open person. I’m suprised at how young you are and how much you already know about what you want. Seeing that you were able to learn about yourself and who you are when your accident happened says a lot about your character. I’m in m late 20s and I’m still trying to figure out my purpose in life. I think it’s great that you want more of connection with someone on a deeper level. True love does exist and its out there. Its hard to find someone in this generation that wants monogamy. I think friends with benefits is more accepted in our culture and I hate it. I wouldn’t say your expecting too much, wanting better for yourself is not a bad thing. You will find the person that connects with you on that level. Don’t give up.


    Hi Inky!

    That is my exact problem. Much of what I fight with is constantly finding myself with immature or insecure men (definitely still boys) who don’t know what they want. Or they do know but push me aside because they can’t give me what I want.

    I dated a man who is 10 years older than me, well established, and emotionally available. It was nice but he wasn’t looking for a relationship either. He just wanted his shot at a young, spritely young woman. *rolling eyes* I’ve learned that age doesn’t really matter at this point. I’m not giving up hope. I’m sure there is someone out there.

    Thank you for your kind words!


    Hi Jim,

    Thank you. I guess I’ve just been surrounded by people who continuously pressure me and remind me of how finite life really is. I get down thinking I’m not catching up to everyone else and I really feel like I’m missing out. I’m right there with you. I’m watching my friends settle down and get married while I’m sitting in bed petting my dog and watching Netflix reruns. You’re right, I’ll remain as patient and as optimistic as possible. The right one will come along. Thank you!



    I just get so wrapped up believing there really isn’t a chance for me. Love is beautiful and one of the greatest privileges of being a living, breathing human being. You’re right. Embracing that it even just exists makes all of live’s moments all the more meaningful. A change in perspective is what I need sometimes. Thank you for helping me see that again.



    I can sit and spew my thoughts on purpose. Some take years to find it, some already seem to have an implicit idea of what they want. I’m still without and it causes anxiety from time to time but I focus on my daily efforts and do what I love. I wish it were easy to figure out – how some find their purpose before the age of 25 is beyond me. I’m sure yours is just around the corner! Life isn’t fun when relationships remain shallow and underdeveloped. I’ve found complete fulfillment when I really get to know someone and vice versa. Gosh, I hate it too. Thanks for that. I often get told my expectations are too high and I’ll end up alone if I keep holding such a high standards. Thank you. I’m definitely not giving up now!


    Dear eliza:

    You definitely have what it takes for a real-love relationship. It is about connecting to others of like mind-and-heart. Indeed age is far, far from a guarantee to maturity, or good intention on a part of a man. Many older men look for younger women so to experience the youth that is leaving them. Wouldn’t want to be a Youth-Fix for anyone (if I was young).

    How can you find your target group of men, those looking to love-and-be-loved in return..?



    I believe you will definitely find someone great to experience love with. I was laughing at the thought of you yelling FAkE! at the TV!!!
    It’s a bit weird, I felt like this might have been written by a 21 yr old me, I even played college soccer out here. Yet I am a man. I have also held interested women to very high standards, that made it difficult/pointless for me to continue relationships. Apart from expecting love to mean more than just hooking up (I agree with you), please could you write back about any other high standards are you referring to?

    I found that when I was holding these women to high standards, I was really holding great women to MY standards, which they didn’t even know yet! What if finding love is a process of two people finding out each other’s likes and dislikes and viewpoints and then each deciding to love the other person where they are, the way they like to be loved As opposed to finding someone who by divine providence already checks all the right boxes and meets all the right standards from the beginning just by their own nature? I honestly don’t know. I thought about that question just now writing this.
    It seems that we all have expectations of people, without ever giving them a clue what those expectations are.
    I’m not saying to drop your high standards, but maybe it could help to talk to potential partners about those standards, in a kind way.

    I also feel when we put high standards on others, there is a slight danger of thinking that we are perfect/ near perfect when it comes to love and self knowledge and others need to improve a bit to get to our level.
    I’m a bit worried by your statement, ” After a few years of soul searching and complete spiritual success, I’ve begun to feel a sudden urge to find a partner.”
    Could you please explain that a bit more? I might be reading that wrong somehow. Are you saying that you reached spiritual success at age 21 and so are now looking for a partner? I’m not saying that your spiritual success at 21 is not possible.
    But I do think that feeling that you are at a point of spiritual success could possibly render you incompatible with any man. I could be wrong on that statement but I don’t want that for you.
    We are all imperfect humans trying to improve.

    I have so much to learn too, still searching myself…
    All the best, much love –



    Thank you for so eloquently breaking down this post for me. Answering your questions forced me to really look at my words and analyze what I meant (I was an emotional wreck when I initially posted this). The standards I’ve developed for any relationship come from observing my parents and essentially becoming an unqualified relationship guru for many of my friends. I guess to name a few:

    – He takes care of his physical and mental health: Doesn’t have to be athletic like me but watches what he eats and doesn’t partake in any destructive behaviors.

    – He’s ambitious: Sets goals for himself and is passionate about reaching these goals.

    – He’s compassionate, open, and understanding: I believe communication is incredibly important for any relationship. Possessing these qualities makes communicating with him that much easier.

    – Confidence: I’ve found myself with men who are insecure and their low self esteem changes the way I see them. Someone who is confident in who they are and what they do makes them attractive.

    Jeez, just reading that seems like I’m already asking for too much. The way I see it, love doesn’t happen in a day. It doesn’t happen in a month (although it does for some) but what I mean by true love doesn’t come from the storybook romance we grew up reading. I believe it is a matter of getting to know someone’s ins and outs. Their quirks. Letting time show me who they are. Many of the people I’ve met don’t want to get past the shallow beginning of the relationship. Well, almost every man I’ve dated just wanted sex.

    I am by no means perfect and don’t expect anyone else to be but I’ve been told I’m insatiable and hard to please. That I have an air of arrogance about me and it’s something I have to work on. I hold myself at a certain level because I’ve watched the female figures in my life let men control them. They don’t stand up for themselves and endure emotional abuse; it’s hard to witness. I mentioned in a response above that I dated an older man who wanted me because I was young but he treated me like a child. He belittled me and laughed obnoxiously when I made a mistake so I instantly communicated my disdain for his behavior. He acknowledged it but the relationship ended shortly after.

    Gosh, I hope I don’t make people feel like they have to prove themselves but if that’s the case I have to work on expressing myself better. Any advice on how I should go about this?

    In regards to my view of spiritual success: I was incredibly depressed in high school and when I started college. Much of my life was devoted to the sport and not disappointing my parents so I ended up losing myself in the process. I didn’t know who I was (identity crisis) and I questioned the importance of life (existential crisis). I was so low and without support so I turned to my spirituality. I read countless books and delved deep into philosophy. By success I mean that I found something to hold onto. I’m grounded and whole again. No longer looking outward to feel complete. I am one with myself and the world around me. That’s why I feel ready to find someone. I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. I want to share my newfound life with someone. I have a great group of friends and a wonderful family but that intimate, passionate, soul connection with another person is missing.

    I think that’s what makes us so amazing. Our imperfections. There’s always room for improvement, for knowledge. That’s why I emphasize the importance of becoming: much of our life is spent trying to become something, we forget how significant the process of becoming really is.

    Thank you for your response. Means a lot.

    Ellsworth Davis

    Dear Eliza,
    You are 21 and have plenty of time. Your spirituality will deepen and develop with each passing year. At age 21 you can only know what you know, feel what you feel, have the insight and knowledge to spiritual development that is allowed to develop in 21 years. It sounds to be more than most however you have many miles to travel. Men your age are typically looking to party, drink and “hook-up.” In my day it was sex, drugs and rock n’ roll – more or less the same we just didn’t do it with cell phones.
    My suggestion: Start to go places where your sincere interests are, like church, mediation center, join groups that are spiritual in nature, or go the gym, soccer field, the library …. where you might meet a real guy who is not checking his Tinder App ever 20 minutes.
    Expectations are the road to ruin, in my opinion. You may miss the love of your LIFE because you are hung up on expectations and your imaginary check list of what he needs to be or have.
    If you want true connection with a man you have to be OPEN to LOVE and that love might be with a PhD or a carpenter or fellow ordinary student you have over-looked for superficial reasons. Open your heart to love and love will find you. Throw your expectations away and find happiness. Happiness will always last longer than the fact that he is “ambitious” and has limited time to spend with you – for example.
    You sound like a nice girl. Good things will come your way …… don’t be in such a hurry.
    And YES – Real Love does exist.
    The years have taught me this fact.

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