First off, I am surprised that you come to be seeking guidance on romantic love. I feel like you could guide me more authentically and wisely than I could. I have not always loved well, nor allowed myself be loved with gentleness. I think we all struggle with this.
I know you are young, and lots of people are advising you to be careful and not rush into love. I for one make no such suggestion. Let your heart love fully and without restraint. Part of learning to love is having it break from time to time, so it can be remolded. Just remember to let it soften, instead of becoming hard like stone.
It has been my experience that real love makes the heart expand, and real love for me cannot occur until I have opened myself to the Divine Lover. No human power can love you or love me fully, we will always be let down. So I make no suggestions about finding the perfect person, navigating online dating, or where to find the love of your life.
My guidance for you since you asked for it, would be to learn to be at peace with solitude. Spend your alone hours building your relationship with the God of your understanding, and just bask in the love between you and your God. The rest will follow.
All of this is easier said than done. There will be hours of the day that you are hit with profound loneliness and longing, the type that can easily lead one to despair. I have ventured into the dark waters of self pity, despair, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts; there’s no real love in such darkness. However, hope and love can be a beacon of light out of such darkness.
Remember that love does not happen when we always want it, so be at peace with yourself. Enjoy the quiet hours of your life, and embrace loving the very people in your life instead of always seeking for the one.
I hope love finds you again and again, until you are at home with the one who breathed life into you and calls you by name.
Love and Love,
Your Friend on this Journey of Life