And while some find the approach ineffective, others consider it daunting. “I find the idea of setting concrete goals unsettling,” says a woman who has recently turned 30. “To me, it feels a bit scary to say ‘I’m definitely setting out to achieve X’ because I know there’s a chance I won’t be able to.” This fear of failure might be combined with a fear of admitting the desire for love in the first place. As the option to remain unattached feels like a hard-earned feminist freedom, forgoing it in the intentional pursuit of love can feel old-fashioned, like a confession that you’re not content alone.
But, on the contrary, the cliche is true: it pays to know and love yourself before adding someone else to the equation. “Take some time to evaluate yourself, ask yourself some questions,” advises psychologist Dina El Adlani. “What is it you are looking for? Are there any unresolved issues from your previous relationships? Are there past traumas that require healing?”
As well as this, there’s also a gentler, more esoteric approach to intentional love, which simply incorporates recognition of what you want in life. “Having a precise aim lets your subconscious know what it is looking to create more of,” says hypnotherapist Jessica Boston. “We’ve all been in situations where we want to buy a new coat and then see everyone wearing something similar; that’s because what is on our mind is brought to mind – our focus is tuned in to what we are seeking.”
Awareness and acceptance of the fact that you want to find love can influence decisions, shape behaviour and encourage openness, perhaps leading to a meeting that may appear to have happened entirely by chance.
So while there’s no hack for finding love, and no algorithm for compatibility, there is the opportunity to create space to recognise what you want and evaluate the quality of your connections, staying present in evolving relationships – as well as with yourself.