What I Learned About Dating and Finding ‘The One’


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I’ve kissed a fair share of frogs in my years of dating. Fortunately, with every failed attempt to find Prince Charming I learned valuable lessons that would help bring me one step further to meeting ‘the one’. From high school crushes (aka obsessions) to short lived romances and butterflies to tears, I’ve experienced all of the emotions a girl can go through when it comes to dating.

Long before I dated way too many men on ‘The Bachelorette’ and ultimately met my Prince Charming, I was living it up in California hoping my husband was somewhere out there in the waves. Maybe he would wash up on shore one day or get the nerve to ask me out in line at Starbucks? My favorite scenario of all was to casually meet the man of my dreams at the grocery store while both of us ponder the produce section. I mean, come on! Every romantic meeting I’ve ever watched in movies or on TV was a fantasy that I was desperately hoping would happen to me. Don’t we all do that? We think, “Well, that’s how true love is supposed to begin, right?”. The truth is, that’s not how life or love work at all.

In dating, we meet someone new, think they are perfect for us, then we either realize they don’t measure up to our expectations or vice versa. Luckily, I didn’t date in the era of Tinder where so many games are played and misinterpreted texts or signals are made, but it was still just as hard back in the day before dating apps.

I like to think that I had my heart and head under control during my dating days since I had a huge group of guy friends to observe, understand, and learn from. However, when it comes to attraction, emotions cannot be controlled most of the time. While I did date some really awesome, great guys in my early twenties, I also played the field and dated the unexpected, the bad boy, the emotionally unavailable, the commitment-phobe, the older man, the so-not-my-type, the narcissist, the play boy, and the list goes on. I had two serious relationships through it all but the short lived flings were great for me to learn what I actually wanted and needed in a life partner, as well as the only thing you need to know about men.

I’m finally getting to the point where I tell you my profound advice for dating that I had to lean on myself once I realized how much time passes when you’re just ‘playing the field’ and following the same patterns. After a hard break up from my last serious relationship and moving to Los Angeles from Orange County to get away and start fresh, I spent my days focused on what brought me joy rather than wanting someone else to fill that joy in me or our relationship. How often do you hope to meet the right one? Every day? Every Minute? Every second? The ache inside for companionship and love is a real thing that all women experience. We are wired to love and want to be loved. But can that want become the desperation that actually keeps the right one away?

Throughout the months in LA of reflecting and praying, I discovered the solution for the ever so apparent need for love. While many of my prayers in my earlier years consisted of “God, please help me meet the one“, I quickly learned that there is so much more to this prayer than meets the eye. We need to know who we are before we can ever really be ready to meet our life partner. We must love ourselves before we can allow someone else to fully love us in return. We also need to trust that God has a plan in our life and the more we try to control it, the further we get from the blessings of it. So.. from this I began to turn my attention from myself and started to pray over my husband (whoever he was going to be).

My prayer became “God, please prepare my husband’s heart. For whenever we do meet, I know HE will be ready.” By this time, I was ready to find love and knew that I needed to stop pursuing it with the wrong men, who were not as into it. My pattern of dating was to typically like the emotionally unavailable and try to make it work all on my own. It was draining and not getting me anywhere except to heartbreak.

A man is wired to pursue a women he is interested in. With that, I knew if I began to pray over my husband that he would pursue me when the time was right for both of us. After a few months, I was offered to appear on ‘The Bachelor’, which became an open door I never in a million years thought would be in my life plan. When that didn’t work out and I was again offered to appear on ‘The Bachelorette’ as the lead, this prayer filled my heart even more.

THE BACHELORETTE - "Episode 910 --Season Finale, Part 2" - In the dramatic Part 2 of the Season Finale, Desiree Hartsock gave Chris Siegfried her final rose on "The Bachelorette," airing MONDAY, AUGUST 5 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Francisco Roman) CHRIS, DESIREE HARTSOCK

During my season of ‘The Bachelorette’, I learned how easy and quickly it is to fade back into physical attraction and seek after the emotionally unavailable. Luckily, God was there through it all and allowed me to see that my prayer was right before me. Chris and I had an instant connection that surpassed the physical. His humor was instantly uplifting and the comfort we both felt around each other was natural and tangible. He was always the most confident, of himself and our relationship, and never questioned, doubted or wavered with his feelings. Chris openly expressed how he felt, was ready and fully prepared for us to begin our life together as husband and wife. He trusted me in every decision and pursued our love without doubt, confusion or silly games. There was and always is so much peace in how we feel about each other that reflects in the way we also treat each other. I can’t begin to express how much I love him and how grateful I am to have trusted my heart and God’s grace in it all. How parallel is Chris with my prayer to prepare my husband’s heart? I get goosebumps just thinking about how perfectly imperfect my love story came about and how one prayer changed my entire life.

Whether or not you believe in God, I know that this advice can still be an inspiration to your life. My hope is that no matter how you are feeling about your situation today or about being single that you know there is a plan for you and to trust it will come to pass when the timing is right.

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  • Rosa

    Thank you, Desiree, for opening up about your own journey. What a wonderful, inspiring message. I feel so grateful for what I do have in my life after reading it, and at peace with the knowledge that the right one will come my way in time.

    • desireehartsock

      He definitely will! Thanks for reading. xo

  • Nicole Loscri

    Desiree, I loved this article. You are an inspiration to me! I have always prayed to God, asking him “Please God, let me find the one who will love me with all of their heart forever.” I have been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years now and I’m hopeful he is the one; I pray he will love me always and forever. You have assured me that love will always guide us to the right path. I’m so glad God lead you to your life love on the bachelorette! Thank you for writing about this topic, I will definitely keep reading your articles! Xoxo Nicole Loscri

    • desireehartsock

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad it could help encourage your own path to the one. He’s out there! 🙂

  • Julie Johnston Lindsay

    You are truly beautiful from the inside out! This article is right on point and well written. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your faith.

    • desireehartsock

      Thank you so much for reading!

  • Michelle Hitchcock


    Caution: this is your verbose “fan/pen pal”; only read when you have a few minutes.?
    You are such a beacon of faith for the world to see and your advice is golden for single people who are looking for love. I’ve wrote to you several times; hope u don’t think I’m weird – anything but, I am a divorced mother, disabled (my back mainly), and have twin boys who are 17 years old now.

    I still watch your season of the bachelorette b/c somehow I related to you, especially when I was younger. I always went for the popular, good-looking guys, and even though I was really pretty (like you) – I was always the one that guys didn’t like b/c I was not a “chase”. I wore my feelings on my shoulder, I’m naturally sensitive and most guys don’t go for that type. When I finally found a guy that wanted a relationship, I realized early on that he had been very abused and damaged as a child, with my spiritual gift being mercy, I felt sorry for him and gave him a chance. He actually wanted a relationship and someone to lean on. He had problems with anger and treated me really bad at times, but always came back with his tail b/t his legs. Long story short, we got married after 4 years of dating in 1990. We were married for 16 years, some of those years were very rocky and some of them were happy, but after I had our twins, my back pain was unbearable. I had to get a disc fused and after the surgery, I was in even more pain. I ended up going to a pain doctor and eventually got a pain pump, it helped a ton at first, but then they started diluting the medicine and now I am in constant, chronic pain. One of my twin boys has ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome and has been a real challenge to raise, but he is so sweet and we have a close bond. My husband couldn’t deal with “reality” happening, so he cheated on me, he married his girlfriend less than 4 months after the divorce was finalized. He had verbally abused me for a long time, so I was actually relieved to get out of that toxic relationship. Ironically, he called me last week and informed me that his wife had kicked him out of the house, and is starting divorce proceedings, mainly for them fighting (him mostly) and he was verbally abusing her daughter, his step-daughter. My dad always said that “leopards never change their spots” and I realized that my ex is just damaged mentally, did the same thing twice, first marriage ruined after our boys were 7 and his daughter with her is 6 years old, his second time around. It’s kind-of a tragic cycle that I don’t think he will ever be able to change.

    In your story on the bachelorette, I saw that instant connection that you had with Chris and how naturally it progressed. I really didn’t understand what you were so enthralled with Brooks about – was it mainly the butterflies, the chase, the sexual chemistry? Ya’ll never seemed like you were comfortable with each other. Whenever I saw your interactions with Chris, I not only saw a physical connection, but an emotional and mental similarity, you both were so obviously meant for each other. It was so touching seeing your first kiss on the “roof” when you were dancing, both of you leaned in at the exactly same time. And from then on, every part of your relationship grew and you were easily able to talk about the realities of a serious relationship and the possibility of marriage. I was so peeved when Brooks broke your heart, but was so happy when you finally realized that Chris was the man God had been preparing for you. You and Chris seem to have that “99% perfect marriage”; you both look so happy in your Instagram pictures, and the baby on the way is just the sugar on top!! I know that Chris will always be there for you and vice versa for the rest of your lives. The adversities of this life will help you to grow closer not further apart. That is why I have followed your relationship as it has progressed – I wish that could have happened to me, but God gives us silver linings, like my incredible sons, my best, best friend, Melinda, and my parents. We have to look for the blessings where we can find them. I know I just wrote you another novel, but I’m a little “wordy” and wanted you to know why I respect you so much. You are an amazing example in your Christian life and I know that you have touched many lives. God bless you as the time nears to have your bundle of joy. Mine are the best things that ever happened to me. ?

  • Hannah

    This is beautiful!! In the past I use to pray for the right man and stopped because I I thought maybe it was best to just work on myself and whatever happens, happens. I’ve been married before so it’s hard when you’ve had that feeling of companionship before. After my divorce it was hard for me to take men seriously. But now more then ever I am ready! I’ve had a lot of time to grow and know what I want in a man. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I pray that no matter what God plans for me….that I live a happy and fulfilled life by staying true to myself, never ever doubting my being for anyone, and loving myself all ways, always.
    Thank u Des! May God bless ur marriage

    • desireehartsock

      Thank you so much and may God bless you with a wonderful man! 🙂

  • Wendy Reay

    I pray every day and in my prayers at Church on Sunday about this, I ask God to give me clarity in what I need rather than what I want. I too have had two serious relationships and have been single now 2 years. I have taken the time to be happy alone as I totally agree you can’t find your own happiness in others and how can you make someone else happy if you can’t make yourself happy. I have my own home, my own car, I am a Nurse in a doctors surger and live alone with my dog. I rely on no one but myself. I am so content and happy, the happiest I have ever been and I am fully ready for when (not if) my Prince Charming comes along. It is so nice to hear you were in my position. I am going to switch my prayer up as you have advised. Love & Prayers from England Wendy xXx

  • Evelyn Kabahuma

    This was such a beautiful read Des!! I love you and Chris’s love story and I don’t know how many times I have watched your bacheloratte season and gone through the heart ache.and then the joy of that season! Your advise is timely for me, and I already am.praying that God would prepare my husband. I am also learning to stop running after the emmotionally unavailable guys ams trust that God has the beat plan for me!

  • Hi Desiree,

    Im a fan from Malaysia. You are one of my fav. Bachelorette and you season was very inspiring to me. Its very hard to trust and believe everything you see on tv, but if one is true to his/her self value, good things will definitely come out of it. You are one of those people. Thank you for the great article 🙂

  • Susan

    I remember reading this the first time you posted it. I’ve been trying to find happiness and peace with myself first before getting into anything serious. I learned that the hard way. I did the pursuing in my last relationship only for the guy to fall in love with my best friend. I was heartbroken. I asked God every day why it had to be me but now I know it’s only cause he’s preparing me for the future. I came back here because after I read this I started praying for my future boyfriend/husband. At the time, my faith in God was fading.. but your story uplifted me. A month later I met a man and it’s so weird but it just clicked. After getting to know him for a while he asked me out but I was too scared to go through with it. I feel like this is a sign from God. The guys I’ve dated before never made a move like that. He was genuinely interested in me. I’m still young (20) and he’s (18). Wow. Right? It’s amazing what faith can do. I just have to believe in God and stay true to myself.
    Thank you Des and God bless.

  • This is such a great read. LOVE it.

  • Maggie

    Thank you for this wonderful post Des, and the beautiful prayer. I’m in my mid-30s and it’s not easy still being single. I love the understanding you’ve expressed here as to how it feels to want to love and be loved. Thanks for the encouragement too. Will be using this prayer and surrendering and trusting. Much love. Xo