One of the most frustrating issues singles face and contemplate is a lack of understanding about why they are single despite feeling as though they are doing everything “right” to find a partner. They might be using multiple avenues to meet potential matches, working to better themselves, engaging in social and community events, etc. However, when a partner does not appear after long periods of time, it is common to fixate on what is wrong or what is not working in the love department.
Many of my single clients report that their friends easily find partners and long-term romance (or so it seems) while they feel stuck in a rut and hopeless. They describe the loneliness, jealousy, frustration, doubt, and unfairness that they feel when they are putting in great effort to find love and their attempts are unmet, especially when they compare themselves to others who are in relationships.
Can you relate?
Although no situation or person is identical and I am a huge believer in the power of timing, I’ve compiled five common reasons why you might be chronically single or have trouble maintaining a healthy relationship. I’ve seen and heard these reasons firsthand from my clients. The good news is that once you honestly assess what might be holding you back, you can take action to knock down your own internal barriers to love.
1. Your past is still your present.
You might have endured one or more toxic relationships, have a history of picking partners who do not treat you well or dealt with a heartbreaking breakup or divorce. These sorts of situations take tremendous strength to heal from, but it is possible with time and support. Your problem is that regardless of when one of these situations might have happened, it remains in the forefront of your life, contributing to how you feel about yourself, how you approach dating and how you perceive relationships. When the past is still the present, it has power over you and interferes with your ability to love now. It is important to consciously let go of these heavy burdens as parts of your past. What should be present now are the lessons you have learned and your growth as a person.
2. Your desperation to find love acts as a repellent to potential partners.
It is absolutely wonderful to know what you want, however wanting a partner, relationship or marriage is very different than NEEDING them. When you bring a needy or desperate vibe into dating, you are likely to rush the natural flow of forming a relationship, overlook red flags and most importantly, you are likely to turn off potential partners. You might engage in clingy behaviors, act out when someone you are newly dating doesn’t respond right away, etc. The key is to be empowered to go after what you want and be confident in achieving it, as opposed to making your entire existence about finding a relationship and feeling miserable until you have someone special in your life.
3. You are caught up in magical or distorted thinking (“My partner will just appear”).
In Disney movies, we’ve all watched prince charming rescue a damsel in distress — and then they live happily ever after. Although it can be fun and entertaining to romanticize relationships and fantasize about this happening to you, you have to actually put effort into finding love. Too often single individuals believe that they do not have to do much to attract a partner, which in actuality keeps them single. If you have an online dating profile, but do not respond to any messages or go out on any dates for long periods of time, spend all of your time at the office, say no to opportunities for your friends to set you up, these are clues that you are not doing much to go after love. Look for spaces in your life to go after your relationship goals and take risks for love.
4. You have spent too much time with the wrong partners.
You might have a pattern of overstaying in relationships that were not right for you, prolonged an inevitable breakup, or convinced yourself to stay with someone who exhibited many of your deal breakers. You might have overstayed to protect yourself from the fear of being alone or felt undeserving of a healthier relationship and happiness. Maybe you did not want to deal with the logistics of a breakup, especially if you were cohabiting or engaged. Regardless of your reasons, you were not available to the right partner by staying involved with someone else. Now is the time to make a commitment to only date people who you see long-term potential with and honoring yourself if the relationship no longer serves you well. It takes courage to leave a relationship, but it is so freeing to be open and available to a great partner.
5. You are so busy comparing yourself to others that you become disengaged in your own life.
You only have so much time and energy, so it is vital to your own health and happiness to be very mindful of how you are spending your energy. Worrying about what others think, comparing your lack of love to your ex’s new seemingly perfect relationship, feeling jealous of your friends in relationships are all energy-drainers. When you put your energy into external matters (that truly have nothing to do with you), you lose sight of your own goals, values, and priorities. When in comparison mode, you are likely to take on a victim mindset, a self-defeating internal dialogue and experience more sadness and anxiety. All of this gets in the way of healthy dating and growing as a person. It is only natural for your mind to compare, but it is crucial to shift your energy inward and focus on yourself. This is when it can be especially helpful to detach from social media and Facebook, which can be dangerous when you are not feeling good about yourself.
Do any of these points ring true for 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!