Searching for a Soul Mate? Get Creative

Fed up with being single, these women decided to take matters into their own hands — by making bold moves to find The One.

By Sherry Amatenstein, LMSW

Is this you? In the professional sphere, you’re a self-actualizing dynamo, able to leap tall buildings in pursuit of your dreams. Yet when it comes to your love life, the thought of making a bold move brings on the worry: Oh, no. What would people think — that I’m desperate? As Valentine’s Day — uh huh, it’s here again — approaches, it’s time to wash that old-school, defeatist attitude out of your head. Need some inspiration? Take a page from Neenah Pickett’s playbook. Not for a moment did 42-year-old Pickett consider her idea to build a Web site devoted to one specific goal — finding a husband — an act of desperation. She launched on January 1. Says the 42-year-old New Jersey-based Web designer, "I think outside the box. Conventional methods — online dating, church groups, and singles events — haven’t worked. This site, which incorporates social networking, blogs, video, and discussion boards, helps me feel in control of my fate in a fun way."Amy Edelman had a similar idea flash five years ago. The then 45-year-old was tired of sitting back and waiting for Mr. Right (or Right Enough) to find her. So Edelman, author of Manless in Montclair: How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wilds of Suburbia, fired off an e-mail to 30 friends offering a dream vacation, up to $3,000, to anyone who could fix her up with her future mate. The New Jersey mother of two recalls, "People had been saying to me, ‘You’ll meet someone when it’s supposed to happen.’ Well, it wasn’t happening. No matter how embarrassing it was to make my search so public, I needed to take matters into my own hands."The Perils of Being PassiveWhy do so many otherwise strong women let themselves be ruled by their shrinking-violet tendencies? Nationally syndicated radio host, author, and clinical psychologist Dr. Joy Browne comments, "For women in this demographic, social conditioning — the idea that we’ll seem unfeminine or too sexually assertive — makes us buy into the notion that it’s not love unless someone approaches us."How’s that approach working for you? Los Angeles powerhouse publicist Arielle Ford helped make household names of spiritual gurus Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield, yet when it came to pursuing love, she reverted to passive behavior. At 44, Ford decided to use the same techniques that had catapulted her career for her personal reward. She details the results in The Soulmate Secret: Manifesting the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction. The manifester/author explains, "I wrote daily prayers and created a ‘treasure map’ composed of photos of happy couples and images depicting the life my soon-to-be husband and I would share, such as a trip to the Greek Islands intermixed with words like ‘fearlessly’ and ‘passion.’ I started acting ‘as if,’ meaning as if I knew with 100 percent certainty my partner would show up." Three months later he did. They honeymooned in the Greek Islands and 12 years later remain happily married.This is not to make the process of undoing years of self-limiting behaviors and defenses seem easy. But don’t you deserve the happiness that can result from mindfully starting to substitute desperation with determination?Taking Time for What MattersIt’s not necessary to make grand gestures such as building Web sites (though with the plethora of free hosting services, it becomes an achievable way to inventory your many fabulous assets) or offering up rewards to amateur matchmakers. Self-actualization results from living a life full of friendships, meaningful work, and altruistic projects. Indeed, volunteer work is a great way to meet caring, emotionally generous people, one of whom might end up being your soul mate. Within a few weeks of launching, Neenah Pickett received hundreds of responses from prospective dates as well as from supportive cheerleaders. It’s too soon to tell if she’ll find The One, but Pickett’s not complaining. "I took time out of my crazy, busy work schedule to devote to me!"Amy Edelman’s cyber plea, find me love and I’ll send you to Hawaii, resulted in a groundswell of publicity and 800 e-mails but only a few worthwhile dates. A year later she met her husband through a friend.

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