Wanna Find Love? Let Go of the Banana

Are you keeping a few friends or acquaintances on your radar as potential hookups or relationship material? Is your ex on your backup list? Are you still pining over your college crush?

Well, if you want a new relationship, you’ve got to cut them loose. If that cute friend you secretly have the hots for was going to be your next boyfriend or girlfriend, it likely would have happened by now. Another 4 years of pining and fantasizing isn’t going to increase your odds.

I know for me there are many times when I’ve yearned in fantasyland over a female friend or co-worker who I found cute. I knew we ultimately were not an ideal match or they simply weren’t into me. But I kept obsessing over them… “Damn, she’s so hot/cute/sexy, maybe something will shift and she’ll like me.” Or the times when I would call or text a girl just because I’m bored or lonely, hoping they’ll bite the bait and want to hang out/make out. And when we did meet up, it wasn’t even fulfilling.  The energy behind my intention was one of filling an inner void, rather than a sincere desire to connect with that specific person. Not cool for me or her.

When you have all these people lingering around in your mind and heart as potential but improbable dating options, you create these one-way energetic cords spreading out to different people. Your energy gets scattered around and you lose your attractive power. There is no open space for someone new to enter. Either bust a move and find out once and for all if they like you, or accept the reality of what is and move on.

Check out this well-known monkey parable:

A banana is in a steel box with a hole and a tasty banana inside. The hole is just large enough for a monkey to slip its hand in and out. If the monkey reaches inside and grabs the banana, he won’t be able to pull its hand out with the banana. What should the monkey do? Keep the banana but never eat it because it will always be in the box, while also risking capture by other predators? Or choose to let go of the banana, realizing there are probably lots more easily reachable bananas out there?

All those dating options you keep open are like that banana. Yes, you theoretically could have an amazing fruit, but given the reality of the situation it’s not gonna happen. Better to let go and move on to a banana that’s much easier.

The best dating is easy dating. When the vibe between two people is clear, palpable and MUTUAL. If it ain’t all three of those things, then all the convincing, waiting, or fantasizing in the world ain’t gonna make a crapload of difference. I’m not talking about the handful of people that you might be genuinely interested in and who are also genuinely (and secretly) interested in you. Pursue those. Find out what’s up with them but also be willing to accept whatever answer you get back.

I invite you to play with the idea that your soulmate isn’t going to come from anyone you currently know. There are 6 billion people on this planet and the Universe is ready to help you rendezvous with lots of potential great mates for you. But when you have your mental and emotional energy tied up with people who are obviously not the right (and easiest) match for you, that just creates resistance. Keep your energy focused on yourself.

Here are some suggestions and insights that have helped me let go of some bananas:

  1. Get real about anyone in your life that you’re currently fantasizing about. Take charge of your romantic fantasies. Find out if they are interested in you or just decide to let them go. The “one that got away” from you is probably where they need to be anyways: AWAY. Write in your journal, meditate, see a therapist, talk to your friends. Whatever you need to do to get grounded in yourself and come back into your own attractive power.
  2. Think back to all your former partners and trace back to when you met them. In most of the cases, one hour before you actually met them, you had no idea of their very existence on planet Earth.
  3. Get excited about the possibilities and be curious about new people you meet. Your next partner is out there right now. They are not in the ethers waiting to be born. They’re already out in the world, going to movies, spilling coffee on their shirt, enjoying a walk in the sunshine. They also have no idea who the hell you are. Yet. :)

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Photo by SeRVe Photography/Flickr

About Jeffrey Platts

Jeffrey Platts is a coach for men, believing that every man has a the right to choose the life he lives. There is no secret code to hack. But there are three necessary ingredients: awareness, choice and action. With over 20 years of personal study and transformational training, he has a unique gift of helping men quickly clear out the "noise” so they can create an amazing life that they didn't know was on the menu. He brings a rich toolbox of insights and experiences to his work, integrating his adventures as DJ, amateur stand-up comedian, salsa dancer, yoga teacher and world traveler. Jeffrey’s work and writing has been featured in the Washington Post, Good Men Project, Huffington Post, ABC News and AskMen.com. When he's not coaching, teaching or writing, he loves cruising vintage vinyl shops for rare Miles Davis LPs and being on the hunt for his next favorite secret beach spot. Currently it's 20 miles north of João Pessoa, Brazil. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and his website, JeffreyPlatts.com.


  1. Chuck Reevas says:

    Man, this is good, now I get a lot of things. I recently got appart on a 8 year long relationship, just to find that, yes, I feel free and happy, but just forgot how to get back in the game. Reading articles like this is getting me to know miself more and to remember things i had forgot. Nice Web, nice articles, very helpful. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for the article. Hope that I’ll be able to laugh it of a year from now.

  3. Really great article. I valued this. Thanks, Jeff! -D.

  4. this was a one so goood

  5. When a door is closed, another door is opened. This is very good advice for the person that feels stuck.

  6. “…If that cute friend you secretly have the hots for was going to be your next boyfriend or girlfriend, it likely would have happened by now. Another 4 years of pining and fantasizing isn’t going to increase your odds…”

    So wrong, this happened to me with my current girlfriend. I’d been thinking about her for almost two years, she’s a very old friend of an old friend. And she’s amazing.

    • The advice isn’t wrong, you (and your girlfriend) are a wonderful exception.

      I had a relationship with someone I had known 15 years before when she was a friend’s girlfriend/ex-gf. Obviously I wasn’t going to pursue her back then, and when we met years later, it started as old friends with shared history. After not too long, was pleased to learn she had had similar thought way back when.

  7. Anonymous Girl says:

    This article hit me right at home. Currently going through this with a long distance *something*, whatever the heck this thing has been for the past 2 years with this guy. We both know we like each other, but this other person told me that he didn’t want to be in a relationship because of the distance. According to them because of previous experience of being in long distance relationships and the women always ending it. He told me this and said that he didn’t want to ruin things between us if something like that were to happen. He says he likes me, but does not want a relationship this way. In distance. These kind of conversations have always come up. (With me being the one always mentioning it.) I am completely wiling to commit and give it try. What’s there to lose, right? For he knows (and I’ve told him) that will never be able to see him as just a friend). Of course, every time this kind of conversation comes up, the “long distance” issue always comes up. He always tells that me that I place him in a very difficult position, because he doesn’t want to lose me but doesn’t want this kind of relationship either. It’s clear to me that this will never work, considering that he will never give it a try while at a distance. Now, there are thought and intentions of this person moving close to me, but of course, that’s not a certainty. I know I must let go. I have already been trying to emotionally detach myself from this person, but of course it’s been very difficult due to the fact that we’ve been in contact every day for the past 2 years. In my mind, deep inside me I know this is toxic for me. Here I am, willing to give everything I got to it, while (despite the fact that he likes me) doesn’t seem to be wanting to place the same effort, yet he continues to talk to me. It’s been a very confusing time. I know I’m denying myself of the truth. I know I must let go, and give myself the opportunity of meeting other people who are actually in the same city. Thank you so much for the article.

  8. Totally needed this advice right now. Thank you. 🙂

  9. During the 3 years together I find out he has a so called friend he’s more loyal to than his relationship to me, his girlfriend.

    (In fact any female friend he has feelings for, I’m a second thought is what I came to learn and if I didn’t have feelings for them like he did, there was something wrong with me, that I was being jealous or possessive or controlling! Unfortunately, the female friends he had were unknowns to me but the way he treated them in front of me, like I didn’t exist, when he talked to them he would only look at them and not include me let alone talk to me or include me, I was like a third wheel standing on the sidelines silently, no sign of any attention or affection to show there was some kind of a bond between us, and didn’t introduce me as his girlfriend regardless if the female friend was married or not. If they all are tall, slender and young, I just don’t exist. They’d be so excited to see each other picking up where they left off and completely engrossed in one another and it wasn’t easy to talk into their memories and of course I heard all the stories he’s telling her already so I just listen to them again. There were some women I thought were friends whom I have known long before knowing him but these women betrayed me in the past and never made amends and therefore not my friends. So it was quite difficult to watch how he honoured his friendship with them now knowing how they have betrayed me. All that concerned him was his feelings for them and he did not advise them now with me in his life that they best respect the woman he loves and set boundaries. They did not contribute to the relationship. He made it appear it was my issue with them and had nothing to do with him or us.)

    The one particular so called friend, he would conceal his conversations on the phone with her and only talk to her in private. He showed me the emails he sent her and all they were were words to build her up and compliment and praise and the emails were so intimate in nature, you’d think he was talking to his wanna be girlfriend trying to sell himself to her in these exchanges. I was stunned asking, “How more special am I compared to your female friends other than sleeping with me?” Things he would say to her about how much easier it was to talk to her than me, putting me down, reassuring her that she’s still number one in his books with me in his life or not. Simultaneously reading his emails to me of how unimportant she was to him and then I consolidated all those emails and emailed her. Then he would get so pissed when they talked next because she would tell him and he’d have to save face and rebuild her trust. I told him I’m holding him to account, its come down to his behaviour. He responded by saying, “Why can’t I have both!”

    Not in so many words but the underlying current a woman picks up via his actions told me I was backup, someone to fill his lonely hours until the so-called friend he was pining for changed her mind. Catching him in one lie after another with so called friend secretly calling him in the early morning hours. When I answered we spoke for an hour and she assured me they are just friends and yet what’s with all the secrecy and lies. She at 30 and he at 55 slept together once, a one night stand, a mistake she told me when she was drunk (blacked out) and 3 years later they just talk on the phone. She calls him once each quarter.

    I show up on the scene and asked her if she knew he had a girlfriend when she sent him nude pictures of herself. Asked her if she sent him nudes when they both were single and she said no so why send them now? She kept the carrot tangling of what he could have and he chased it kicking dust in my face.

    He so wanted me to remain sweet and nice amidst all this and I just didn’t want to be with him anymore and would avoid texts, emails, phone calls.

    The last straw was him seeing another female friend he hasn’t seen for years and how while I was with him he walked her to her car with both of them ignoring me. I either could have walked home at that point but I followed him. Don’t know why. Somehow I thought it was just a friend. I stood there watching their more than 20 second eye contact and ear to ear smile and all his behaviour was like a boyfriend, opening her car door, seeing her in, kneeling down next to her to continue to talk with her, making sure her seat belt was on, then closed her door. She rolled down her window and it was ear to ear grin, a magnet of the long looks between them and where was I? Standing behind him watching all this. He watches her drive off and stands there glaring at her in the rear view mirror as she looks back and both waving to each other until the car is out of sight then he turns to me and asks, “You have a problem with my friendship with so and so?” Boy, I certainly felt like I’m his number one girl! I cannot help but recognize the undue attention he gives his female friends is more than the actions of a friend but a friend who wants to be more than just friends. The message is loud and clear. His body language and her body language said it all, he’s interested and so is she but he’s a coward and never makes the first move. He’s the type where the woman has to make the first move. In this case as in all others, none of them have. He told me once with an off the cuff remark that since having a girlfriend more women have paid him attention. To me it was all misleading flirtatiousness as none of them really wanted him.

    What drew him to me in the first place was my sweet, playful, nice, good, fine woman qualities which I could not spare another second on him. Told him he had to pay for my sweetness with honesty.

    A clear break it was. His so called friend is in a relationship with someone else. He was single for 15 years before I met him so he’s used to being on his own and I hear he’s depressed and complaining about being lonely and not finding somebody to love. Yes, women I know tell me he’s still the flirt and perhaps one day he will find somebody to love. His life is filled with female friends who do not want him in a romantic way but nothing new on that front. He’s whining about being lonely, moreso now after loving and being loved making his days even lonelier than he was used to before he met me because he now has the new-found heartbreak of me being the piece he never knew was missing until I showed up, offered love to him and he couldn’t get it out of his system that he wasn’t a single man needing to chase that carrot anymore and ended up with no one.

  10. I too have met a few great potentials who hadn’t “moved on” and they weren’t honest with themselves or myself and it is cruel! I have no respect for guys who haven’t left their baggage behind!

  11. I come at it from a different point of view in that my past loves and my current crushes are part of who I am and how my heart works. Pretending otherwise is useless. I don’t hold out hope of hooking up with these crushes or exes but I don’t banish them from my heart either. Any partner with whom I become very intimate eventually knows about all these things and ideally is able to celebrate them in some way. In the same breath I love knowing about my sweetie’s past loves and current crushes. There is a vitality that goes missing when one sweeps them away or denies the magic of attraction. I like to keep it intact and I have been very fortunate to find like minded partners. The heart should be celebrated.

    • I think you have a cool approach. I understand what you are doing (I think) and it is not holding you back from meeting or loving your partner. You just have a rich interior life!

  12. Just wondering says:

    Ever encounter people who criticize other people that are outgoing and actually like meeting new people, getting to know them, talking to them etc, but because that person has a spouse, they think that she shouldn’t have a huge network of friends, or have a lot of interest outside the marriage, especially in business where networking is everything, what is the problem with that when its a woman doing the networking. Curious if anyone else encounters that bias thinking she is looking for something other than connecting with people.

  13. Jeffrey,

    Great article. I just posted the belief in letting go of good (good enough) for great/spectacular. Keep writin’ and fighitn’.


  14. I loved this article – helped me with something I’ve been battling with for a few days now! 🙂

  15. Hi Jeffrey,

    Great advice never ages!

    Wish I could have read your piece 10 years earlier when agonizing in a one-way relationship!


  16. The thing about the banana and monkey thing, is that the banana can be squished by one hand so you can actually get part of the banana out of the box.

  17. I can’t tell you how many men that I have gone on dates that were not only holding on to the banana but felt the need to talk about their bananas as well. And I know women do that as well. I like to let go of my bananas rather freely. I don’t typically see people as the ones that got away but the ones that were never there in the first place and who are just taking up valuable space in my mind and heart for no real good reason.

    But I agree it’s hard sometimes. But sometimes it’s cathartic too.

  18. AnonymousDog says:

    Well, yes……but might it not be that people hold on to that banana because they can’t see any other bananas anywhere else in sight?

    My experience has been that it’s easier to ‘let go’ of hopes of getting involved with those people we already know when we can entertain realistic hopes of meeting someone new. In the absence of realistic prospects for meeting someone new, ‘holding on’ is rather natural, if unproductive.

    • @AnonymousDog: Yes, having someone that is more compelling makes it a lot easier to move on and let go. The real skill and benefit comes from letting go even in the absence of those other options. Harder, but doable.

      • I love that you said “The real skill and benefit comes from letting go even in the absence of those other options. Harder, but doable.” This is true! It is hard, but definitely doable…

    • Well said.

  19. Great article. It’s quite weird, because I’ve practiced this policy really actively for ages, but you know there’s always that one sad person you’re holding onto in the back of your head? That person calls and you break. Working on getting that ‘not breaking’ part right.

  20. wellokaythen says:

    This is not meant to suggest violence of any kind, just working with the tortured metaphor:

    Dismantle the box and take out the banana that way.

    Or, squeeze the banana really hard and lick your fingers.

    Or, invent a tool that gets it out the slot. Even chimps use tools.

    C’mon, Homo sapiens, put a little thought into it. Sheesh.

    (Perhaps I have trouble letting go….)

  21. By the title I thought this had something to do with masturbation. I guess I am biased.

  22. I agree with this. Good article.


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