The truth is, seeking love is not an easy quest, but it is always best to take this journey on our own side. It is important to fight the patterns inside us that hold us back from getting what we want. We can’t shield ourselves from the world or keep ourselves from getting hurt. We all carry flaws, and these vulnerabilities are especially apparent when getting close to one another. Thus, achieving intimacy is a brave battle, but it is one worth fighting for, each and every day, both within ourselves and, ultimately, within our relationships.
Staying open is one of the most important things we can do when looking for a loving partner. We don’t have to deceive ourselves. Yes, we might get hurt but when we stop taking risks, we reduce our chances of meeting someone we could really have a future with. We don’t have to follow some laid down rules. People are different, so dealing with them should be different, too. Relationship rules tend to go hand-in-hand with game-playing. They can lead us to act with less sincerity and authenticity, to close ourselves off from how we feel. On the other hand, staying open and honest will lead us to find a much more authentic and substantial relationship. Let me quickly talk about five probable reasons some people are still single.
As years pass, we often develop rulebooks for ourselves regarding dating. In effect, we put what we have learned down on paper, but what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in real life. When we act on rules based on our past, we can create a perpetual cycle of disappointing relationships. A woman I know once dated someone with whom she had amazing connection. When it didn’t work out, she decided to stop looking for a guy she felt a strong connection with or attraction to. Instead, she made ‘reasonable’ choices, and as a result, she found far less satisfying relationships. It is important not to make fixed rules or to buy into other people’s rules when it comes to dating. It is better to follow your heart.
2. Isolation And Routine
With age, people tend to retreat further and further into their comfort zones or shells. Modern women are more and more successful, accomplished and self-sufficient, which are all extremely positive developments. Yet, as both men and women get more comfortable, be it financially or practically, it is also easier for them to form a bubble from which it is difficult to emerge. It can feel harder to take risks or put themselves out there. After a long day’s work, many of us may feel more like crawling into bed than going out into the uncertain and anxiety-provoking world of meeting people.
3. Fear of Competition
A lack of self-esteem often leads to fears of competing. It is easy to put ourselves down in relation to others, especially when it comes to dating. When we meet someone we like, it is all too easy to think, ‘he or she could do better’. When we see that someone else is interested in the person we like, we may be quick to back away. We may feel unwilling to compete, particularly as we get older, and we start to have self-attacks like ‘your time has passed, you are too old for this’. Our fears of competition can lead us to avoid putting ourselves out there. We may be afraid of looking like a fool or of not being chosen.
4. Low Self-Esteem
Many people I have interacted with have expressed the same sentiment. They believe they want a fulfilling relationship more than anything, but they believe even more firmly that no one worthwhile would be interested in them. We all possess critical inner voices that tell us we are too fat, too ugly, too old or too different. When we listen to these voices, we engage in actions that push people away. When we remain single, it is not for the reasons that we are telling ourselves. Many people even have trouble leaving the house when they are really down on themselves, let alone pursuing situations where they are likely to meet potential partners. Some struggle to make eye contact or are reluctant to scan the room for who they might be attracted to. When they are drawn to someone, they may fail to pursue their strongest attractions for lack of self-esteem.
Our own defenses often leave us feeling pickier and more judgmental. This is particularly true after we have had bad experiences, where we were deceived or rejected by a person we had strong feelings for. Many women start to have thoughts like, ‘There are no decent men out there’ or ‘All the good ones are taken’. Men may have thoughts like, ‘You can’t trust a woman’ or ‘Women are all out to take advantage of you’. We may have unrealistic expectations for a partner or pinpoint weaknesses from the moment we meet someone. When viewing the world from critical or distrusting eyes, we tend to write off a range of potential partners before even giving them a chance. We think of dating certain people as ‘settling’ without ever seeing how that person could make us happy in the long-term.