Jeff Wilser was the kind of man who had entries in his phone like “Newark Girl” and “Cindy Vegas” from his copious pick-up escapades. After finishing high school with only one date, it seemed Wilser resigned himself to a pick-up “do-over” of astounding proportions. The only problem was he was tired of morning-after texts with girls whose names he couldn’t even remember when he set up a date.

So what does this playboy, the author of such testosterone-driven pieces like The Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By and articles on the ethics of lap dances, have in common with marriage-minded singles?

In a column for Glamour, he describes his personal dating revelation over three well-written pages that seem to follow every footstep on the path to self-actualization. While the article will definitely lift the spirits of singles in the mindset of “I’m going to die alone if I don’t kill myself after another speed dating event first,” he also touches on some important principles for meaningful dating.

Stage 1: Plan

Wilser knew that being 34 years old without ever experiencing love wasn’t exactly the norm. So, he took the first step that so many people fail to do—he did something about it.

He asked around a little, tried out some techniques to fall in love. Some were helpful, others just creeped women out. He got in touch with his emotions a little bit, even exploring an emotion new to him: empathy.

Stage 2: Process

After thoughtful consideration of the process of love, Wilser tried out what he’d learned. He set up a profile on OkCupid, an online dating site that promises match accuracy if people are honest and know what they want (sound familiar?).

Wilser went on dates, talked to women, enjoyed spending time with them, and was even open to the idea of committing to a relationship. But something was still off.

That’s when he realized that women weren’t his problem—he was.

Stage 3: Breakthrough

Finally, came the most important part in Wilser’s process: his breakthrough. After meeting with a “love guru” (regular dating coaches work just as well), he saw why he hadn’t fallen in love.

Regardless of the wonderful women he’d dated, Wisler saw that he’d been emotionally numb his entire adult life because of things that had happened in his past.

This realization was the bucket of ice water that cleansed his brain of blockages preventing him from being open to loving another person. After two months, he got to know himself, and he was actually ready to let another person get to know him—for real.

Wisler went through a real process, and you can have the same kind of breakthrough that can change everything. All you need to do is take control of your situation and do a little soul searching to find out what makes you who you really are.