We all dream of having that “fairytale” falling in love moment. We fantasize about meeting the one and how they will sweep us off our feet.
But with every unsuccessful date and failed relationship, our dream feels like it’s getting further and further away.
We feel disheartened, miserable, and unworthy – Why can’t we find the one?
I remember feeling this way in my early twenties. I was never short of dates, but I could never find someone I really clicked with either.
Now, in a happy relationship of 5+ years, I look back and see many mistakes I made during that period.
Here are 8 things I definitely did wrong on my quest to find love, which you may be doing wrong, too.
1) Having unrealistic expectations
Many people have distorted views of what a relationship should look like.
They base their perception on movies and TV shows. As a result, they expect more than most people are willing to give.
These unrealistic expectations come across as neediness, which can be extremely off-putting to the person you’ve just started dating.
Here’s one example I often see:
Expecting your partner to be at your beck and call.
If you want a partner who will call you five times a day, text you every hour, and spend every evening with you, then it’s no surprise you’re struggling to find someone.
Other unrealistic expectations you may be guilty of are:
- Expecting your partner to look attractive/their best all the time
- Expecting to have sex all the time, even after the honeymoon period
- Expecting your partner to surprise you all the time with gifts and date nights
- Expecting your partner to give up their hobbies and interests for you
If this is you, I recommend speaking with long-term happy couples you know in real life to learn more about how their relationships work rather than trying to recreate a fictional relationship you’ve seen on TV.
2) Trying to hard
It is definitely possible to try too hard to impress someone and believe me, people can spot this from a mile off as it screams one thing…
I know you’re fed up of being single. But the more desperate you become to settle down and find the one, the more you’ll push potential partners away.
I never believed the saying, “You’ll find love when you stop looking for it,” but in my experience, this was precisely what happened.
When you’re out enjoying your life, pursuing your passions, and following your goals, you naturally appear attractive to other people.
However, spending all your mental energy on finding love will put people off, causing them to steer clear of you.
And if you are trying so hard, it’s probably because you’re also doing this…
3) Not loving yourself
Another cliche yet true expression is, “No one can love you until you love yourself.”
Again, this was 100% accurate in my experience.
Your level of self-love will determine how your relationships go, so you should focus on this BEFORE getting into a relationship.
If you lack self-love, you’ll be more likely to allow a partner to mistreat you.
However, if you have love and respect for yourself, you know your worth and will set boundaries to protect your well-being and happiness.
Having a high level of self-love also means you can meet your own needs, so you will not expect or demand too much from your partner.
Plus, someone who loves themselves gives off higher vibrational energy than someone who loathes themselves. So the more you love yourself, the more attractive and irresistible your “vibes” are.
According to the Berkeley Wellbeing Institute, self-sabotage means getting in your own way.
When you self-sabotage in a relationship, you (often unconsciously) behave in a way that can destroy the relationship. This behavior is usually due to negative thought patterns or limiting beliefs.
Here’s an example:
You have a deep-set fear that your partner will be unfaithful. This causes you to act in a very jealous way, throwing accusations at your partner and trying to control who they see or where they go.
You may love your partner and want to be with them, but your behavior causes the relationship to break down.
Australian researchers Raquel Peel and Nerina Caltabiano found that past trauma can create fears and insecurities that play out in a “vicious cycle.” Our previous experiences continue to affect our beliefs, leading to predicted outcomes in each romantic relationship we enter.
The only way to break free from this’ relationship sabotage’ is to uncover and work through our unresolved trauma.
5) Chasing the wrong people
Many people with a string of failed relationships continue looking for people just like their exes.
If this is you, you’re probably unaware that you are doing this – I sure was.
After a year of unsuccessful dating, I realized that each relationship played out the same way…
The first few dates went really well, but then the guy started blowing hot and cold or just ghosted me completely.
How could this exact scenario play out so many times in a row?
Because I kept going for the same type of person – one who was emotionally unavailable.
These guys always seemed exciting initially – they were confident, knew how to impress me, and kept me on my toes.
But all of them were only interested in the thrill of the chase and did not have the emotional availability to settle down.
Perhaps you keep chasing people who don’t want to settle down, or maybe you have a thing for bad boys who can’t remain loyal.
Take a look at your previous partners and why the relationships didn’t work, and then you may discover a pattern.
How do you stop going for the wrong person? By stopping the following thing….
6) Looking in the wrong places
If you keep looking for dates where you have found them before, you will continue to attract the same person.
So stop going to the bars or using dating apps that didn’t bring you success in the past.
Switch up your technique and think outside the box instead.
While you can meet “the one” in a nightclub or on a dating app (I know many people who have), they are generally not the best place to find love.
Because the majority of people in bars and on apps are looking for one thing only…
So where should you look instead?
As I mentioned earlier, the harder you look, the harder it is to find someone.
So stop actively looking and start pursuing more of your interests and passions.
You’re much more likely to find someone with shared interests and values by doing things you value and enjoy rather than just hanging out in bars.
7) Being inauthentic
Another reason you may not have found love yet is because you’re putting on an act or trying to be someone you’re not.
Sure, we are all on our best behavior when we first meet someone. There are certain things you shouldn’t talk about or do on a first date.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be inauthentic.
Social scientist Suzanne Riela researched the experience of falling in love to determine what makes us fall for someone. Personality was one of the most significant precursors.
So, if you pretend to be someone you are not, you risk someone falling in love with a false representation of yourself.
And, of course, you can only “fake it” for so long, so sooner or later, your partner will discover you’re a fraud.
No matter how weird or wacky you think your personality is, there is someone out there who would fit your uniqueness perfectly. So don’t try to change or pretend to be someone else; just be yourself!
8) Being too picky (or not picky enough)
Many people set their standards too high, limiting the number of potential partners in their dating pool.
They have a very specific type and won’t consider anyone who doesn’t tick ALL their boxes.
However, trying to find the “perfect” person could prevent you from meeting someone you never knew you needed.
According to philosopher and author Aaron Ben-Zeév, being too picky also means you may focus only on a person’s negative traits (which are not red flags), failing to see their wonderful qualities.
But be careful not to lower your standards too much, either. This could put you at risk of becoming part of the large population of people who “settle.”
It’s important to be discerning when dating to ensure you don’t end up with a narcissist. However, you should seek to practice what Aaron calls “healthy pickiness.”
Instead of seeking perfection, look for someone who SUITS you and your lifestyle. And rather than having a long checklist of qualities you want in someone, have just a few essential “dealmaker” and “deal-breaker” traits, AKA red flags.
Seeing all your friends in happy, loving relationships when you can’t even get a second date sucks, I know.
However, when we act out of desperation, we do many things wrong, putting potential partners off rather than attracting them.
If you’re guilty of doing the things mentioned above, shift your focus to yourself. Work on healing your unresolved issues, learning to love yourself, and pursuing your passions, and before you know it, Mr. or Mrs. Right will appear!