Why Love's Not a Three Way Street

03/10/2015 03:48 pm ET | Updated May 10, 2015

Walking around campus from class to class, I always hear the same conversation, "I just don't get why I'm not in a relationship."

As a former single lady, I'm here to help you figure out why.

Something I've learned from the end of my many years as a single lady is that a good match for you will come along. What might be stopping them from coming over and saying "Hi," is you.

One of the most influential things anyone has ever said to me is that happiness is the most attractive quality a person can have. When I was in high school, I used to think this meant I had to be nice to everyone, and walk around with a fake smile plastered on my face.

And that is exactly what I did.

I pretended to be happy, hoping, somehow, it would just happen. I dated a little in high school, but it rarely lasted more than a few weeks, almost never more than a month. I always chalked it up to how I loved the chase, and got bored really easily.

So, after things inevitably ended with whomever it was, I never really questioned why. I never thought to stop and ask myself, "Am I really happy, or am I just pretending to be?"

Then, came college and a lot of alcohol-induced sob sessions. I had only ever cried after huge fights with my parents. I had no idea what was going on. I was doing exactly the same thing I had always done. And, while I do think of myself as a generally happy and nice person, I didn't realize there was some pain underneath that plastered-on smile.

It took several months and a fantastic support system to help me work through some issues, and to help me find out what makes me happy.

Now, over a year later, I can say I am a truly happy person and (most of the time) my smile is genuine.

But how does this relate to being in a relationship?

After my soul searching, I was blessed to meet a pretty great guy. However, at the same time, I am still soul-searching, and it's crucial to note that we are consistently changing as human beings.

I know that if I hadn't worked on myself and found happiness within that, I would not be able to be as happy with my boyfriend as I am today.

In a relationship, you have to continue to be true to yourself. You have to know what makes you happy before you can figure out if another person has those qualities. Even if it means being a little selfish sometimes. It's honestly okay to be a little selfish.

People come and go, but it's your thoughts, your hopes, and your regrets you fall asleep to every night. From one of my favorite shows, Rent, comes a quote I have found to be very true: "But love's not a three way street. You'll never share real love, until you love yourself; I should know."