Are you feeling frustrated with singledom?
Being single can be great and give us time and space to create and do many things.
But there comes a point where you may wish to settle down with someone and maybe even build a future together.
Do you find yourself looking for a partner, but not being able to meet someone that you can make things work with?
This is a common issue that I and so many of my friends have faced. I’ve learned a lot from them and from my own dating experiences. In this article, I’ll share the most important things I’ve realized.
If this resonates, read on to find out which behaviors it’s time to change, as they may be holding you back from love. If you can let go of things like unrealistic expectations, and welcome some self awareness and compassion, then finding a good partner can be easier than it seems!
Take a look to learn how this can work for you.
1) Seeking perfection in others
Some of my single friends have a list as long as my arm, of the qualities that they want in their perfect man or woman.
They should be good-looking, accomplished, successful in their career, intelligent, funny, own their own home, have good dress sense, be into the same things as them etcetera, etcetera.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know what really matters to you, but if you have a very long list of requirements, the chances are that you will not find that person. No one is perfect after all!
And that includes you (and me!)
2) Seeking perfection in yourself
Sometimes people feel that they have to be the perfect version of themselves before they can be with a partner.
I recently watched a Youtube video where a guy had read 25 love books and picked up three main tips.
The first one was this: You should not get with someone to fill a void, instead, you should be totally complete and happy with yourself.
This makes me unsettled.
I do get where he is coming from. If you are just using a partner to avoid looking inwards and cultivating some kind of sense of self-love and awareness, the relationship is likely to be problematic.
But at the same time, if you wait until you are fully individuated and perfect, the chances are you will be waiting a lifetime.
A relationship can actually be an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow, in ways that you can’t always do by yourself.
Instead, I would suggest that being open to self-growth and self-awareness are important prerequisites to finding a partner. Being perfect is not, because it’s impossible.
3) Thinking your life will be perfect if you are in a relationship
Since we are on the subject of perfection. Dreams of a perfect life are another trap that people fall into. It puts unfair pressure on a relationship and often leads to breaking up or being unhappy.
Why is this dream a trap?
Because your life will still be filled with trials and troubles, and now you have another person’s reality to deal with as well. In this sense, the video I mentioned about ‘the void’ had a point.
If the only reason you are looking for a partner is to fill a void that you imagine will lead to a perfect life when filled, well unfortunately that isn’t going to work out.
4) Being overly concerned with status/job title/hobbies
Earlier I mentioned how some of my friends have what seems to me, to be impossibly long lists of requirements from their desired partner.
But the key thing here is this: Ask yourself, “What truly matters?”
I know that from my experience, a lot of times when I have met someone I’ve felt so happy that they were into some random hobby of mine, or loved a particular country that I have visited, or had a cool job like a musician.
These things are nice to have, but later on in the relationship, I noticed that they have no bearing at all. I usually don’t even think about them.
Know what truly matters to you, and what things are just surface level, things that won’t be relevant, say two years down the line.
This is a great way to attract the partner you really want and who is good for you.
5) Being closed and/or defensive
If you’ve been hurt in the past (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?), you might find that you have become closed off to another person. It’s ok to take things slowly with someone new, in fact, I recommend it. But there has to be another part of you that is willing to open up when the time is right.
Emotional unavailability will make it hard for someone to get close to you.
Vulnerability and self-disclosure are two important ways to build a bond in a relationship.
And so is the ability to open yourself up to change. Whilst you should be very cautious of someone who wants to change you in random ways (and people who love bomb you), there is always a balance needed when entering a relationship.
The relationship becomes almost like a third entity. There is you. There is your partner. And then there is this mutual thing you agree to do.
And to make things work you will probably need to be open to compromising about some of the pleasures and lifestyle choices that being single allowed you.
Just take care and make sure that you are open to changing things that make sense, but also feel right for you. If you sense you are being manipulated or forced to become someone you are not, walk away!
I have a good friend who has many love interests but hasn’t had a long-term relationship for most of his life. He really wants to change this but he notices that he seems to be self-sabotaging.
What do I mean by ‘self-sabotaging’?
He has no problem meeting women, but he will often say something early on without thinking, that seems a bit disrespectful or like he doesn’t care. This is not like him as he is a very respectful person, and has an extremely high opinion of women.
So he has realized that his fears are causing him to do things to stop anything from becoming serious. Then he is filled with regret at what he has potentially missed out on.
If you find yourself doing this, it could be to do with your attachment style, or any number of past traumas.
My friend is due to start therapy soon and I’m hoping that this and other self-work will allow him to finally have a long-term girlfriend.
7) Spending every weekend alone with your cat
Ok, so I’m being a bit facetious here.
I love pets and there is nothing wrong with being a homebody or spending time with your cat. In fact, taking care of an animal can actually be a great practice for caring about another person.
Remember that Youtube video about love that I mentioned? One of the interesting points that he picked up was this: For a successful relationship, approach it as if your mission is to make the other person’s life better.
And as for your cat, who knows, maybe you go to cat swimming classes (is that actually a thing?!), and meet the love of your life!
My real point here is simple.
If you want to meet people then you have to go out into the world and make it happen. Whether that’s meeting someone through a friend, on a dating app or online community, through doing hobbies, or just a chance meeting in the park.
So if you’re currently single and looking for love, I wish you all the best!
Think about what really matters to you, and what you want from a long-lasting relationship.
Then, open your heart a little, be prepared to compromise on certain things, and then get out into the world and find that special person!