Okay, so it’s another Saturday night and you are curled up on the sofa wondering what the hell is wrong with you because you don’t have a date – AGAIN!
All of your friends have dates, boyfriends, husbands and there’s nothing special about them, right?
So why can’t you find someone to love you?
This is going to be a hard pill to swallow, but have you ever thought that maybe you are the problem?
Your friends have dates, boyfriends, and husbands because they aren’t you.
Ouch, I know. That’s harsh. But stay with me here for a second.
What if the reason you aren’t happily attached to another human being is that you are doing things that don’t attract other human beings?
If you haven’t found love yet and you feel like you’ve tried everything, consider that maybe you haven’t tried everything, and then read this list of 17 things you need to know if you haven’t found love.
And be open to exploring these reasons.
The answer you seek could be right here and you aren’t open to seeing it. Go ahead and stay single then, we are just trying to help you here.
1) You ask too much of people
Have you ever considered that you are putting too much pressure on people to be awesome all the time?
You know love is not really like that, right?
According to marriage and family therapist intern Michael Bouciquot:
“These expectations are fantasies and false hopes that ruin your idea of your partner. Some people never realize the unwarranted damage they cause because of these inflated ideas.”
Prince Charming wakes up with bad breath and needs to comb his hair, too.
No one is perfect and you need to stop thinking that you are perfect so you deserve perfect.
You deserve someone who will make you happy. But that’s about it.
The fact that we even think we deserve love is a misnomer.
We desire it, but do we really deserve it? Don’t we have to work for it? We can’t just sit around and think it’s going to magically appear.
2) You expect too much of people
You want it all and you think you’ve found it time and time again only to be disappointed. You can’t have a boyfriend who makes millions of dollars in his own company AND is someone who will whisk you away on a weekend getaway.
If he’s hauling ass to build a company, you need to sit tight while he does his thing.
Another thing to consider is the rate at which you expect a relationship to move.
If you have only just met and you are wondering why he’s not blowing up your phone, ask yourself what you have going on that would make him want to do that?
Don’t you have a job you should be doing right now? Of course, he isn’t texting you a million times day, people have jobs.
Instead, you should focus on the real traits that make a life partner.
Licensed marriage and family therapist Amy McManus advises:
“I counsel my clients to have criteria for the relationship, rather than the person.”
“Some of the important relationship criteria are: Is it honest, loving, supportive, interesting, and healthy? Are you able to discuss and work out issues about spending money, having [and] raising children, and having differences of opinion?”
3) You don’t think you need to change
Thinking you are great just the way you are is awesome, but if you haven’t found that person that makes you feel whole, you might want to take a look at your half of the equation.
Consider that there’s something about you that isn’t attracting the right kind of man.
And we don’t mean you looks – we mean your personality, your demands, you work schedule.
Perhaps you haven’t left the house in three weeks and are genuinely wondering why no one is calling you for a date.
Wake up to the bullshit you are feeding yourself and you might find things start to change.
You don’t need to change everything to be in a relationship. In fact, you shouldn’t give up the essence of who your are just to please someone else.
But you should compromise where you can.
According to author and Philosophy professor Michael D. White:
“Little compromises are natural and unavoidable, but be careful not to give up too much of what is important to you for the sake of a relationship that should help to affirm who you already are.”
4) You are picking the wrong people
Let’s say you have found lots of great guys you could be in a relationship with but when it’s time to get serious, he just bails.
On the flip side, it might not be you. It might be that you are picking the wrong kind of guy to be with.
It’s not unheard of – some women are perpetually attracting to the wrong kind of guy. It’s just what happens. It’s also called self-sabotage.
According to clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone:
“When we act on our defenses, we tend to choose less-than-ideal relationship partners. We may establish an unsatisfying relationship by selecting a person who isn’t emotionally available.”
You pick the same kind of guy over and over again and then you don’t have to find Mr. Right and settle down. Sound familiar?
5) You don’t see the writing on the wall
There could be a guy standing right in front of you telling you how beautiful you are and asking for your number and you are so clueless that you don’t see what is happening.
Again, this is a form of self-sabotage and you could be committing it more than you know. Do you want love to find you or do you want to stay the sad sap that can’t find love?
We hang on to our stories pretty hard and they soon become our identities. If you never let Gerry take you out, how will you know if Gerry isn’t the one?
You need to be a little open to opportunities when they present themselves.
According to Firestone:
“With age, people tend to retreat further and further into their comfort zones.
“It’s important to resist falling into a comfort zone and to repeatedly challenge the influence of our critical inner voice. We should take action and make an effort to get out into the world, smile, make eye contact and let friends know we are looking for someone.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, remember? You might need to crack a few eggs to make this omelet, but unless you let people into your life, you’ll never know what’s possible.
6) And when you do find someone, quit thinking it won’t last
Entering into a relationship thinking that it’s doomed means one thing – it will be.
And then what happens when it doesn’t work out? You’ll feel validated. “See, no relationship ever works out for me.”
But it’s exactly this thinking that causes this to happen over and over again. You’re sabotaging the relationship before it even starts.
What you’re doing is being defensive. And nothing good comes out of that.
“Most people have been hurt in interpersonal relationships. With time and painful experiences, we all risk building up varying degrees of bitterness and become defended.
“These adaptations can cause us to become increasingly self-protective and closed off. In our adult relationships, we may resist being too vulnerable or write people off too easily.
There’s only one way to change this: Start being more optimistic about your newfound relationship! See the good in them, ignore the bad. And assume that they’re doing the same with you.
7) You keep playing games
You’re upset. You’re hurt. And when your partner asks you, “what’s wrong?” You say “nothing”. Or you get angry over something else later.
Be honest and stop playing games. It causes so much damage.
Psychospiritual writer Aletheia Luna says:
“Psychological games are often rewarding to one party and harmful to the other, creating exhausting and messy dynamics in every kind of relationship. Sometimes we are so deeply ingrained in the cat-and-mouse games that define our relationships that we aren’t even aware of what is happening.”
Don’t be like this. Your partner will have no idea what they’ve done wrong and your resentment will just pile up even more.
Instead, talk about your concerns or issues. I know it sounds lame, but honesty is the only way to build trust in a relationship. Without trust, a relationship can’t grow.
8) You keep thinking that love is enough
You’ve heard it before: “Love is the only ingredient for a healthy and happy relationship”. Right? Wrong!
The truth is, it takes a lot more than love to build a healthy, long-lasting relationship. A successful relationship is about trust, commitment, attachment, attraction, communication and a whole lot more.
If you can trust your partner, talk with them about anything, feel comfortable, protected AND LOVED, then that’s when you’re onto a winner.
Because at the end of the day, love is a choice.
Clinical director and licensed counselor Dr. Kurt Smith explains:
“Who we love is as much of a choice as it is a feeling. Staying in love takes a commitment. After the rosy glow of the new relationship wears off, we have to make a decision: Do we want to love this person and commit to a relationship together, or are we going to let this person go?
“Once we have made the decision that we have found the person we want to be with and commit to, the work begins. A big part of that work is making many other choices.”
9) You think you are too old
It doesn’t matter how old you are, you are never too old to find love.
“All the good ones are gone” simply isn’t true. You’re a good person and you’re still single, right? People have break-ups, or they haven’t thought about a relationship until now because they’re too focused on work.
The truth is, with age comes wisdom, so you’re MORE likely to find someone better suited to you.
According to clinician Maria Baratta:
“Of course, you can meet and fall in love at any point in your life. Loving again after bitter breakups, difficult divorces, abusive partnerships, and financial disasters does happen.
But meeting people like this can only happen if you’re actively on the lookout for potential love. But if you think that you’re too old then you’re not going to find someone.
It’s self-sabotage. And you need to stop it.
10) You don’t believe in the numbers game
If you don’t buy a lottery ticket, you can’t win the lottery.
Likewise, if you don’t get yourself out there and date new people, you won’t find the special one.
There are so many different ways to meet people these days, with apps like Tinder and Bumble, so use them to your advantage! Go ahead and meet new people.
Don’t go on dates expecting to find love. Go on dates to get to know other people. It’s the only way you’ll work out what type of person is right for you.
Most importantly try to be positive about it. Attitude changes everything.
Life coach and author, Sarah E. Stewart tells Bustle:
(We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.)
“If someone has a negative attitude people can sense it from a mile away and most people do not want to be around it. It is important to be positive even if you are on your one-hundredth bad date.”
And think of it this way: You might not go on a date with someone who is perfect for you, but you might make some friends who know someone who is.
11) You think dating is rocket science
A common theme among people who are single is that they think they are terrible at attracting other people. Of course, if you can’t seduce someone, then your chances of getting a significant other are low.
But that’s because you think that it’s impossible to seduce someone. It’s not. You don’t have to come up with witty lines or funny banter.
According to marriage and family psychologist Kathryn Smerling:
“When you’re anxious and overthinking, you’re not in the moment, so you’re not able to truly enjoy time with your partner. And if you’re not present, how can you possibly grow in your relationship?”
Be yourself, be nice, and have a normal conversation. You might find that people will like you for who you are.
12) You think that love is a magical pill that will suddenly make everything better
If you’re feeling low, or down about life, you might be under this misguided belief that being single is the downfall for nearly everything that’s going wrong in your life.
But the truth is, love is only one factor in your life. Your life won’t get better until you take responsibility for every facet of your life.
Kira Asatryan, author of Stop Being Lonely says:
“Love absolutely brings people together.
“But the majestic, heightened state of love has a flip side, one with which we’re all too familiar: Love is fickle.
“So the notion that love is a reliable solution to loneliness is a myth because, simply put: Love is a mystery.”
Don’t get me wrong: love is incredible. But it’s not the be all and end all. If you can’t get your life together, then you’re chances of finding love will significantly decrease.
13) You’ve got needs nobody can satisfy
In a nutshell, you are just too needy. Whether you need your partner to call you four times a day or you need to know what they are doing every minute of the day, your expectations do not match your reality of relationships.
You have to figure out why you are so needy. In most cases, it is fueled by fear.
According to psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Craig Malkin:
“It’s not need, then, that engenders neediness. It’s fear— fear of our own needs for connection and the possibility that they won’t ever be met. That’s what hurtles us into the abject despair of neediness.”
Nobody wants to be with someone who can’t stand to be by themselves.
What’s so wrong with you that you can’t just enjoy your own company? Think about that and then go out and look for someone to compliment your lifestyle, not complete it.
14) You think a white horse and prince are the only options
Your standards are just too high. Plain and simple. Get off your high horse and start looking for partners who are on the ground.
Sure, you might meet a tall, dark and handsome person to love, but the odds are slim that you’ll find them on a horse, and even more slim that they’ll be a prince.
“We may have unrealistic expectations for a partner or pinpoint weaknesses from the moment we meet someone. We think of dating certain people as “settling” without ever seeing how that person could make us happy in the long-term.”
So get with the program and get a more realistic purview of what humans look like and act like.
Sure, you can dream, but that’s about all you’ll be doing in your love life if you don’t get real.
15) You’re kind of a mess
If you expect your partner to be Mr. or Mrs. Right, you better get yourself together first. If you are late for every meeting you are supposed to attend, if you burn every meal you make, if you can’t wear clean clothes two days in a row, and if your car is constantly running out of gas, you might need a major tune-up before you head out and look for love.
Whether you are into guys or gals, people don’t want partners they need to babysit. Get yourself together and you might have an easier time finding love.
It’s not only self-love. It’s self-care.
Author and life coach John Kim advises:
“See loving yourself as the action of self love / self care in your every day life, your everyday choices from what you decide to eat to who you decide to love and surround yourself with.
“Loving yourself is the practice of self love and it’s on going. Forever. Until you die. It’s not a bar to measure yourself before getting into a relationship.”
A clean shirt is a great place to start. Grunge is out.
16) You keep going back to the same places you meet the same people
There’s no doubt about it that people hook up with the wrong partners all the time. It can be a real downer when you realize how many love mistakes you’ve made in your life.
So it’s time to take stock of where you are concentrating your energy and change things up a bit. If you always pick someone up in a bar, trying hanging out in a different place next Friday night.
Or better yet, don’t go out on Friday night at all and stay home washing that laundry so you have a clean shirt to go out on Saturday night.
Always thinking, we are. We’ve got your back.
If you are never happy with the person you are dating, it’s likely not them at all, and almost always you. Yes, it’s not you, it’s me is a real thing. And baby, it sounds like you might be the problem.
17) You’re saying all the wrong things
Some people just can’t say the right things no matter how hard they try. If you fall into this category, the solution is to stop talking and start listening.
Rather than trying to be the star of the show, let your date be the star of the show. Ask them questions, and refrain from making comments.
If you put your foot in your mouth more than on the dancefloor, sit tight. Let your listening skills represent you until you are more comfortable around your current love interest.
The biggest thing when it comes to finding love is this: don’t let the lack of love define you. Remember that you are worthy of love, but that you can focus on loving yourself in the meantime.
On the other hand, here are 6 lessons you need to learn if you’re going to find true love
1) You need to learn that you are enough on your own
Trying to find love to make your life complete is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Another human being cannot complete your life, despite what you might have seen in every romantic comedy movie ever made.
They are lying to you. In order to find love, you need to first love yourself and your life.
Building a great relationship with yourself is more important than any relationship you’ll build with another person.
According to psychiatrist Dr. Abigail Brenner:
“Being alone allows you to drop your “social guard”, thus giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence.”
There’s no need to go looking for love to fix what you think is broken. Fix yourself, and love will find you.
But not in the place you expect: it will come from inside. That boyfriend or girlfriend? They’re just the icing on the cake.
2) You need to learn to see yourself as worthy
In order to find love, and to allow love to find you, you need to believe that you are worthy of being loved.
This is not easy for people and some people want to throw away a chance at love because they can’t handle being loved.
Despite wanting it more than anything, most people don’t actually know how to be loved and don’t know that they are worthy of such love.
It’s scarier than being alone in many cases and it’s what keeps people feeling lonely year after year.
When you deem yourself worthy of your own love, you’ll be able to open yourself up to others to love you as well.
According to therapist and author Ann Smith:
“In a loving relationship we make a conscious choice to risk vulnerability and allow ourselves to be seen by another person while knowing that we are not always going to be accepted as we are.
“The choice to experience of mutual love is worth the risk and effort, but it will never happen if we do not first believe we are lovable and actively love ourselves.
“Being love-able means that I am able to be loved, able to make a conscious choice about who I want to love, and accept love when it is offered.”
3) You need to learn to let someone love you
This can take time and requires a partnered effort. You and your partner need to work together to find out what kind of love works for you.
Don’t base your relationship on what you see in the movies or on television, or even what you see in other people’s relationships, for that matter.
Every relationship is different and if you start comparing your love to someone else’s version of love, you’ll start to be disappointed.
Letting someone love you is a team effort.
“If you are a person who cannot let love in, you can change your responses. The first step is to recognize what you are doing and to understand how you gave up your right to take love in.
“The second is to share those underlying reasons and your desire to change the role you are playing with your current partner if you are in a relationship.
“The third is to gently challenge your old behaviors as you observe them happening, choosing instead to observe how you are feeling as they occur and choosing to take a more transforming path.”
Talk about how you feel and why it’s important that you have this conversation in the first place. It’s okay that you don’t know how to be loved, just be willing to find out.
4) You need to learn to accept others as they are
Before you head out looking for love you need to ditch your must-haves list of things you are looking for a new partner and starting thinking about people in a new way.
Everyone has flaws, and so you can’t go out in search of love without thinking about how those flaws are going to impact your relationship.
But don’t let them deter you from giving someone a chance. You might find that the flaws someone has is what makes them most authentic and real.
If that’s important to you, looks, money, class, and cars might not be so important after a while. You also need to accept yourself the way you are and be opened to how people will receive you.
It’s a give and take kind of process, for sure, but it’s one worth exploring as you open yourself to love.
5) You need to learn to give people the benefit of the doubt
In order to find true love, you need to be able to forgive and forget because love doesn’t hold grudges. You need to set yourself free from whatever holds others have on you as well.
You can’t carry baggage into your next relationship. It’s not fair to either of you and trust us, you’ll be glad you ditched the heavy load when you did.
Giving someone the benefit of the doubt creates an opportunity to maintain lines of communication and creates a dialogue that allows you to get at the heart of your relationship in ways that many people don’t experience.
Before you get into that relationship though, you need to learn to lead with kindness and not judgment.
6) You need to learn that love changes
Looking for love is a difficult thing because love changes over time. If your search is taking a particularly long time, as it often does for some, you might find it difficult because you are still using criteria your 18-year-old self created.
Now that you’re older, well, those things might not be as important as they once were.
You might need to check in with yourself once in a while to see if you still want the things you wanted when you began your search for love.
And finally, you need to ask yourself if your quest for love is still really even what you want to be pursuing anymore? That answer, too, may change with time.
NOW WATCH: I’m 36, still single, and finally figured out why
RELATED ARTICLE: Unrequited Love: Why it hurts so bad and 8 crucial steps to take
Do you support independent media that helps people to think differently?
It takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to keep Ideapod alive. We're trying to build independent media that helps people to arrive at more balanced and nuanced perspectives. We believe this is a critical task when there is so much polarization in the media industry.
Your support makes a huge difference. If you find any joy or value in what we do, please support us by becoming a Prime member for less than $4 monthly. You can easily cancel at any time.