It is easy to hope for a more satisfying love life, but are you truly connected to attaining one?
Can you imagine yourself in a happy, healthy, and stable relationship? Or do you notice yourself avoiding the answer?
Some of my single clients who are looking for a partner can so easily report that they go on dates and want love in their lives, but they tend to struggle with the articulation of their vision for achieving and keeping love. When asked to imagine what it would be like to have a loving partner, I receive long pauses, “huh” expressions and responses such as, “I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that.” Wanting a partner is sometimes a vague concept with little substance or awareness.
In many ways it is no surprise that it might be easier to picture life being single (despite continuously searching for a relationship), but this mindset creates huge problems in the dating world. It represents incongruence in values, actions, and availability.
These responses are protective in nature and might resonate with you if you have been struggling with dating or operating on defense mechanisms to keep the discomfort associated with dating at a minimum. For instance, operating on cognitive distortions, such as negatively predicting the future (staying single, being dumped, ending up alone), shields you from the possibility of future disappointment. Unfortunately, it also leaves you less available for successful dating in the present.
Another reason why it is common for singles to feel cut off from their goals is fear. It may be too frightening or anxiety-provoking to picture a relationship actually working out or too uncomfortable or depressing to be let down after getting their hopes up. Often my clients will admit that they are unsure which option would induce more fear — staying single or landing a relationship. To avoid the fear, they continue to go on dates, but find it tough to make connections and take risks for love.
If it is easier to picture yourself indefinitely single, are you really, truly putting yourself out there and going after love?
In turn, staying detached and avoiding imagining yourself in your ideal relationship causes a lack of engagement in the dating process, making it extremely difficult to bond with potential partners and endure the vulnerability that comes with falling in love.
Going through the motions is not enough. Regardless of your tendency to protect yourself from uncomfortable emotions and situations, you must be wiling to believe in love and your ability to find it. Healthier, more reality-based beliefs will influence your behavior and aid you as you date.
Here are four strategies to connect with your desire for love:
1. Be present and focus on what you can connect to. If you are going to send a message, connect to why you are sending it. Connect to your desire and goal of a happy partnership and put that energy into your message. What are you hoping to gain? Why is sending a message important? How do you feel about sending a message? As you connect with your purpose, you will be less likely to be bogged down with negativity. Give more and come from an empowered place by focusing on your desires instead of your fears.
2. Don’t make dating or messaging a certain number of potential partners a part of your to-do list. This builds resentment, frustration, and boredom around dating. It is crucial to be aware of your state of mind when sending or replying to messages. It matters because there is no denying how strongly vibes can be felt through a computer screen.
3. See the big picture and understand what it takes to find a great partner. Just sending or replying to messages online is too narrow of a focus. It is important to grasp that meeting someone wonderful can happen anywhere, so be careful not to be too fixated on one method and miss others. Practice being open at all times.
4. Create valuable and intentional action by asking yourself uncomfortable questions, such as, where do I want my love life to be in 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? Picture your ideal partner or relationship and hone in on how you would like to feel. Write about your answers and match your behavior with what you want to attract. This exercise is not about unrealistic thinking; it is about fostering action and accountability that is congruent with your desires. Let what you want guide you.
About the Author:
Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Nationally Certified Counselor and relationship coach, specializing in psychotherapy for individuals and couples via her private practice in Bethesda, Maryland. Rachel’s areas of expertise include relationships, self-esteem, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and stress management. Rachel is a co-author to Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life, an International Bestseller, written to support single women in decreasing frustration about single-hood, leaving the past behind, cultivating self-love and forming and maintaining loving relationships. Rachel also serves as a Relationship Expert for http://www.datingadvice.com/ and other dating and relationship advice websites. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!