Happiness in Love

You Only Regret The Risks You Did Not Take — So Take A Risk On Love

By Laura Schreffler

We’ve been brought up to believe that fairytales do exist. We women are Sleeping Beauty, who, with one kiss, will awaken from a deep, sorrowful slumber. We are Belle, who has the power to turn a Beast into the man he never knew he could be. We are Ariel, who made a man fall in love, though she could not speak (though that’s less of a fairytale and more of what men are looking for these days, especially in LA). We have been raised on a feast of romantic comedies, where the girl always gets her guy, and they live happily ever after. Is it any wonder we want that same big love for ourselves?

Why do I speak about that one thing we all strive for? I’ve come to the realization that I’ve spoken a lot recently about where to meet men and what to do in romantic situations gone wrong, but have spent very little time actually talking about love itself. The point of this website is to explore happiness and love around the world — not sex, not specific questions like “should I call him? If I do xyz will he never call me again?” Love isn’t about rules, it’s about something — and someone — feeling right.

It’s entirely possible that you won’t meet a man that suits you in your own state. For me, it’s entirely possible I won’t meet my “one” in my own country. But that’s OK — as long as you’re willing to take chances.

Can you imagine meeting that one person that sends shivers down your spine, whose eyes can see practically into your soul, who makes you a better person… but he lives in a different country? I can and have – and I lost him.

I was 24 when I met Mike. It was my second to last day living in London, and I wanted to gather all of my different groups of friends in one place to say goodbye. Instead of one of my favorite haunts, I chose a random pub off of the Tottenham Court Road. He was a blue-eyed German photographer who was helping out his friend (the bar’s owner) by filling in as a bartender. Sparks flew. We exchanged numbers. The next day — the day I was leaving on a jet plane back to America for good — he took a bus down to my South London stomping grounds, and we had coffee and talked… and talked and talked.

We spoke for so long and so intensely that the conversation continued while I was en route to the airport. It continued in the airport. And here’s where the story gets good: I took a risk. I couldn’t help but add up the coincidences, convinced that fate had brought us together because he was not supposed to be at that very bar on that very night, nor was I. Because of this, I was willing to change my plans and stop everything to see him for one more day, to find out whether or not my fantasy might become a reality. Sadly, the clerks at Virgin wouldn’t change my non-refundable flight, and I never saw Mike again. Our pleasant emails tapered off after a year or so, and neither of us made the grand gesture to meet again.

Now that you’ve heard my story, please learn from my mistakes. If you believe a connection to be real, don’t let something silly stand in your way. I did not risk enough, and I’ve always regretted it, always wondered what could have been.

However, you do need to be wary of what is real and what is a vacation romance fantasy. It’s easy to meet a hot boy in a foreign place and mistake lust for love (particularly in Italy, where men are constantly telling you how beautiful, special and cherished you are in that gorgeous accent of theirs), so try to see through your rose-colored glasses and assess the situation realistically.

Of course, if it’s meant to be, it will be. You’ve all heard the expression: “If you love something, set it free. If it’s yours, it will come back to you” — and let me tell you, that sentiment doesn’t just exist in books, poems and films. Although their fictional characters in Letters to Juliet found the other again after 50 years of separation, this is also Vanessa Redgrave and husband Franco Nero‘s real life love story. After falling for one another on the set of Camelot in 1967, they had a song together and eventually split up, only to realize they still had feelings for one another 30 years later; they married in 2006, nearly 40 years after they first fell for one another.

You see? Herein lies the proof — fantasy romances can become reality. So don’t let distance or fear of the unknown hold you back from finding your true love. As Ms. Redgrave says in Juliet, “you need only the courage to follow your heart.”

So take risks — because you don’t want to risk your future happiness.

For more on finding love in the modern world, check out Laura’s site www.lovetrekker.com.

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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.