Obstacles to finding love
Are you single and looking for love? Do you find it difficult to meet the right person? When you’re having trouble finding a love connection, it’s easy to get discouraged or accept destructive myths about dating and relationships.
Life as a single person offers many rewards, such as being free to pursue your own hobbies and interests, learning to enjoy your own company, and appreciating quiet moments of solitude. However, if you are ready to share your life with someone and want to build a lasting and valuable relationship, life as a single person can also seem frustrating.
For many of us, our emotional baggage can make finding the right romantic partner a difficult journey. Perhaps you grew up in a home where there was no role model for a solid and healthy relationship and you doubt that such a thing exists. Or maybe your dating history is just short adventures and you don’t know how to make a relationship last. You may be attracted to the wrong type of person or keep making the same bad decisions over and over again, due to an unsolved problem from your past. Or maybe you’re not putting yourself in the best environments to meet the right person, or that when you do, you don’t feel safe enough.
Whatever the case, you can overcome your obstacles. Even if you have burned repeatedly or have a poor dating record, these tips can help you find your way to finding a healthy and loving relationship that lasts.
What is a healthy relationship?
A healthy relationship is when two people develop a connection based on:
- Mutual respect
- Justice / equality
- Separate identities
- Good communication
- A feeling of joy / affection
Reevaluate your misconceptions about dating and relationships
The first step in finding love is to reevaluate some of the misconceptions about dating and relationships that may be preventing you from finding lasting love.
Common myths about dating and the search for love
Myth: I can only be happy and fulfilled if I am in a relationship or it is better to have a bad relationship than not to have a relationship.
Fact: While there are health benefits to having a strong relationship, many people can feel just as happy and satisfied without being part of a couple. Despite the stigma in some social circles that comes with being single, it’s important not to start a relationship just to “fit in.” Being alone and being alone is not the same. And nothing is as unhealthy and discouraging as being in a bad relationship.
Myth: If I’m not instantly attracted to someone, it’s not worth looking for a relationship.
Fact: This is an important myth to dispel, especially if you have a history of making inappropriate decisions. Instant sexual attraction and lasting love don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Emotions can change and deepen over time, and friends sometimes become lovers if you give those relationships a chance to develop.
Myth: Women have different emotions than men.
Fact: Women and men feel similar things, but sometimes they express their feelings differently, often according to the conventions of society. But both men and women experience the same core emotions, such as sadness, anger, fear, and joy.
Myth: True love is constant or physical attraction fades over time.
Fact: Love is rarely static, but that doesn’t mean love or physical attraction is doomed to go away over time. As we age, both men and women have fewer sex hormones, but emotion often influences passion more than hormones, and sexual passion can grow stronger over time.
Myth: I can change things I don’t like about someone.
Fact: You can’t change anyone. People only change if they want to change.
Myth: I didn’t feel close to my parents, so intimacy is always going to be uncomfortable for me.
Fact: It is never too late to change any pattern of behavior. Over time, and with enough effort, you can change the way you think, feel, and act.
Myth: Disagreements always create problems in a relationship.
Fact: The conflict does not have to be negative or destructive. With the correct resolution skills, conflict can also provide an opportunity to grow in a relationship.
Expectations about dating and finding love
When we start looking for a long-term partner or enter into a romantic relationship, many of us do so with a predetermined set of expectations (often unrealistic), such as how the person should look and behave, how the relationship should progress and roles that each partner must meet. These expectations may be based on your family history, the influence of your peer group, your past experiences, or even the ideals portrayed in movies and television shows. Retaining many of these unrealistic expectations can make any potential partner seem inadequate and any new relationship feels disappointing.
Consider what is really important
Distinguish between what you want and what you need in a partner. Desires are negotiable, needs are not.
Desires include things like occupation, intellect, and physical attributes like height, weight, and hair color. Even if certain traits seem crucial at first, over time you will often find that you have been unnecessarily limiting your choices. For example, it may be more important to find someone who is:
- Curious rather than extremely intelligent. Curious people tend to get smarter over time, while those who are bright can languish intellectually if they lack curiosity.
- Sensual instead of sexy.
- Affectionate instead of beautiful or handsome.
- A little bit mysterious instead of glamorous.
- Funny instead of rich.
- From a family with values similar to yours, rather than someone of a specific ethnic or social origin.
Needs are different from desires, since needs are those qualities that matter most to you, such as values, ambitions or goals in life. These are probably not the things you can discover about a person by looking at them on the street, reading their profile on a dating site, or sharing a quick cocktail in a bar before the last call.
Dating tip 1: Keep things in perspective
Don’t make your search for a relationship the center of your life. Focus on the activities you enjoy, your career, health, and relationships with family and friends. When you focus on staying happy, it will keep your life balanced and make you a more interesting person when you meet someone special.
Remember that first impressions are not always reliable, especially when it comes to internet dating. It always takes time to really get to know a person and you have to experience being with someone in a variety of situations. For example, how well does this person endure under pressure when things are not going well or when they are tired, frustrated, or hungry?
Be honest about your own shortcomings and flaws. Everyone has flaws, and for a relationship to last, you want someone to love you for the person you are, not the person you would like to be or the person they think you should be. Also, what you consider a defect may be something that someone else finds peculiar and attractive. By getting rid of all pretensions, you will encourage the other person to do the same, which can lead to an honest and more satisfying relationship.
Tip 2: Build a genuine connection
The dating game can be stressful. It is natural to worry about how you will feel and whether or not your date will like it. But no matter how shy or socially awkward you feel, you can overcome your nerves and self-awareness and forge a great connection.
Focus outward, not inward. To combat the nerves of the first date, focus your attention on what your date says and does and what happens around you, rather than your inner thoughts. Staying fully present in the moment will help distract you from worries and insecurities.
Be curious. When you are really curious about someone else’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, stories, and opinions, it shows, and you will like that. You will seem much more attractive and interesting than if you spend your time trying to promote yourself to your date. And if you are not really interested in your date, there is little point in continuing the relationship.
Be genuine. Showing interest in others cannot be falsified. If you just pretend to listen or worry, your date will recover. No one likes to be manipulated or placated. Rather than helping you connect and make a good impression, your efforts will likely backfire. If you are not really interested in your date, there is little point in continuing the relationship.
Pay attention. Make an effort to truly listen to the other person. By paying close attention to what they say, do, and how they interact, you’ll get to know them quickly. Little things are very useful, such as remembering someone’s preferences, the stories they have told you and what is happening in their life.
Put your smartphone away. You can’t really pay attention or forge a genuine connection when multitasking. Nonverbal communication (subtle gestures, expressions, and other visual cues) tells us a lot about another person, but they are easy to miss unless you are tuned in.
Tip 3: Prioritize having fun
Online dating, singles events, and matchmaking services like speed dating are nice for some people, but for others it can feel more like high-pressure job interviews. And whatever the dating experts can tell you, there is a big difference between finding the right career and finding lasting love.
Instead of looking for dating sites or hanging out in bars, think of your time as a single person as a great opportunity to expand your social circle and participate in new events. Make having fun your focus. By engaging in activities you enjoy and locating yourself in new settings, you will meet new people who share similar interests and values. Even if you can’t find someone special, you still will have enjoyed it and maybe made new friends.
Tips for finding fun activities and like-minded people:
- Volunteer for a favorite charity, animal shelter, or political campaign. Or even try a volunteer vacation (for more details, see the Resources section below).
- Take an extension course at a local college or university.
- Sign up for dance, cooking, or art classes.
- Join a running club, a hiking group, a cycling group, or a sports team.
- Join a theater group, film group, or attend a panel discussion at a museum.
- Find a local book group or photography club.
- Attend local food and wine tasting events or art gallery openings.
- Get creative – write a list of activities available in your area, and with your eyes closed, randomly place a pin on one, even if it’s something you would never normally consider. How about dancing pole, origami or bowling on the grass? Getting out of your comfort zone can be rewarding in itself.
Tip 4: Handle rejection gracefully
At some point, everyone who seeks love will have to deal with rejection, both as the rejected person and the rejecting person. It is an inevitable part of dating, and it is never fatal. By staying positive and being honest with yourself and with others, managing rejection can be much less intimidating. The key is to accept that rejection is an inevitable part of dating, but not to spend too much time worrying about it. It is never fatal.
Tips for handling rejection when going out and looking for love
Don’t take it personally. If you are rejected after one or several dates, the other person is likely to reject you only for superficial reasons over which you have no control, some people simply prefer blondes to brunettes, chatty people to quiet, or because they cannot overcome their own problems Be grateful for early rejections, it can save you a lot more pain in the future.
Don’t dwell on that, learn from the experience. Don’t punish yourself for the mistakes you think you made. However, if it happens repeatedly, take time to reflect on how you relate to others and on any issues you need to work on. Then let it go. Facing rejection in a healthy way can increase your strength and endurance.
Acknowledge your feelings. It is normal to feel a little hurt, resentful, disappointed or even sad at the rejection. It is important to acknowledge your feelings without trying to suppress them. Mindfulness practice can help you stay in touch with your feelings and quickly move on from negative experiences.
Tip 5: Be on the lookout for red relationship flags
Red alert behaviors may indicate that a relationship will not lead to lasting, healthy love. Trust your instincts and pay close attention to how the other person makes you feel. If you tend to feel insecure, embarrassed, or undervalued, it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
Common relationship red flags:
The relationship depends on alcohol. He only communicates well (laugh, talk, make love) when one or both are under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
There are problems making a commitment. For some people, commitment is much more difficult than others. It is more difficult for them to trust each other or understand the benefits of a long-term relationship due to previous experiences or a growing unstable family life.
Non-verbal communication is disabled. Rather than wanting to connect with you, the other person’s attention is on other things like your phone or TV.
Jealousy for external interests. One couple does not like the other to spend time with friends and family outside of the relationship.
Controller behavior. There is a desire on the part of one person to control the other and prevent them from having independent thoughts and feelings.
The relationship is exclusively sexual. There is no interest in the other person than physical. A meaningful and satisfying relationship depends on more than just good sex.
Not one by one. A partner only wants to be with the other as part of a group of people. If you don’t want to spend quality time alone with you, outside the room, it can be a bigger problem.
Tip 6: Deal with trust issues
Mutual trust is the cornerstone of any close personal relationship. Trust does not happen overnight; it develops over time as your connection to another person deepens. However, if you are someone with trust issues, someone who has been betrayed, traumatized, or abused in the past, or someone with an insecure attachment bond, then it may be impossible to trust others and find lasting love.
If you have trust issues, your romantic relationships will be dominated by fear: fear of being betrayed by the other person, fear of being disappointed, or fear of feeling vulnerable. But it is possible to learn to trust others. By working with the right therapist or in a supportive group therapy setting, you can identify the source of your mistrust and explore ways to build richer and more satisfying relationships.
Tip 7: Nurture your budding relationship
Finding the right person is only the beginning of the journey, not the destination. To move from casual dating to a committed and loving relationship, you must nurture that new connection.
To nurture your relationship:
Invest in it. No relationship will run smoothly without regular care, and the more they invest in each other, the more they grow. Find activities that you can enjoy together and make a commitment to spend time participating in them, even when you’re busy or stressed.
Communicate openly. Your partner is not a mind reader, so tell them how you are feeling. When you both feel comfortable expressing your needs, fears, and desires, the bond between you will become stronger and deeper.
Resolve conflicts by fighting fairly. No matter how you approach differences in your relationship, it is important that you are not afraid of conflict. You must feel safe to express problems that bother you and be able to resolve conflicts without humiliation, degradation, or insisting on being right.
Be open to change. All relationships change over time. What you want from a relationship at first may be very different from what you and your partner want a few months or years later. Accepting change in a healthy relationship should not only make you happier, but also a better person: friendlier, more empathetic, and more generous.