“Will I ever find love?” 19 things that may stop you from finding “the one”

Why is it that everyone you know is finding love while you’re still stuck inside, single on a Saturday night?

It can’t be this hard, can it? Is it really that hard to find someone to love you?

No, it isn’t. It’s not that hard to find love if you are able to reorient your expectations about love.

We’ve all been trained to think that love is this life-altering, mind-blowing, amazing be-all-and-end-all.

And when we go into love thinking it’s this big, overblown fantasy, we’re going to scare off real, honest options for love in the process.

If you’re still struggling with finding love, it’s time to re-orient your perspective on love itself.

Ready to explore your perspective on love? Read this list of 19 things you need to know if you haven’t found love.

1) You ask too much of people

Have you ever considered that you are putting too much pressure on your romantic partners 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.

Nobody is perfect. I’m not, you’re not. What you need to look for is someone who makes you happy and complements your lifestyle.

Never let the perfect stand in the way of the good. When you let go of the perfect, you’d be amazed at how much happier and fruitful your love life will be.

We all desire love. Love doesn’t mean fantasy.

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 forthe 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 let him step up for you

When a guy falls in love, it’s because the girl has triggered something deep inside him. Something he desperately needs.

What is it?

To genuinely fall in love, a guy needs to feel like he’s a protector and provider. He wants to step up to the plate for the woman in his life. And she needs to let him do this.

In other words, he needs to feel like your ‘hero’.

And the kicker is that a man won’t fall in love with a woman until this deep emotion is triggered.

There’s actually a psychological term for what I’m talking about here. It’s called the hero instinc’. This concept is generating a lot of buzz at the moment as a way to explain what really drives men in relationships.

I know it might all seem kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

But this misses the point about what the hero instinct is all about.

The hero instinct is an instinctive need that men have to step up for the woman in this life. This is deeply rooted in male biology. And embedded in their DNA.

Although women may not need a hero, a man is compelled to be one. And if you want him to fall in love with you, then you have to let him.

But how do you trigger this instinct in him?

The trick is to make him feel like a hero in an authentic way. And there are things you can say, messages you can send, requests you can make to make him feel like your provider and protector.

If you want to learn what these are, check out James Bauer’s excellent free video here.

He tells you everything you need to know about the hero instinct, including how to trigger it in your man.

I don’t often recommend videos but the hero instinct is one of the most fascinating concepts in relationship psychology I’ve come across. And James Bauer is the real deal when it comes to relationship advice.

Here’s a link to his unique video again.

4) 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 have to make sure you’re doing everything you can to attract love.

Is there something you’re doing that is making love impossible?

Are you working a 60-hour week and then collapsing onto the couch during your free time?

Maybe you haven’t left the house in three weeks and are genuinely wondering why no one is calling you for a date.

You don’t need to change everything to be in a relationship. In fact, you shouldn’t give up the essence of who you 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.”

Figure out what’s important to you. Figure out how love fits into your values. Then make some smart changes to help love find a way.

5) You are picking the wrong people

How many times has this happened? You meet a man, you go on some great dates, but just when things get serious, he bails.

You don’t understand. You did everything right. You played all your cards. And he ghosts you.

I got good news and bad news.

The good news is that it’s not your fault. It’s him. He’s not the type of guy for you.

The bad news is that you picked the wrong kind of guy.

Now, you can’t control a guy’s behavior. But you can choose what kind of guy to go after.

It’s true – some women are perpetually attracted to the wrong kind of guy. It’s 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.”

If you consistently are finding yourself dating emotionally unavailable men, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re going after the right guys.

6) You don’t see when guys are interested in you

Feel like no one’s flirting with you? Maybe they are, but you didn’t realize it.

When you’re going out, and an attractive man starts chatting you up, chat back! Don’t let your worries or anxieties get so strong that you write something off before it even happens.

Again, this is a form of self-sabotage and you could be committing it more than you know. You’re stopping something before it even happens.

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.

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.

7) 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.

Firestone explains:

“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.

8) You keep playing games

You’re upset. You’re hurt. And when your partner asks you, “what’s wrong?” You say “nothing.”

You let the anger fester, leaving your partner confused and angry.

That’s not love. That’s cruelty.

When it comes to romance, honesty is key.

Be honest and stop playing games. Head games cause 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. Honesty is the only way to build trust in a relationship. Without trust, a relationship can’t grow.

(If you want to find a boyfriend and have a loving relationship, check out loveconnection.org’s epic His Secret Obsession review).

9) You’ve got needs nobody can satisfy

Your date is not your free therapist. Your date isn’t your security blanket

If you need to call your partner 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.

(Our best-selling eBook, Why Taking Responsibility is Key to Being the Best You, offers the tools and techniques you need to transform your life. Check it out here).

10) You’re not needy enough

Following on from the point above, being staunchly independent won’t help you find love either.

Men have a built-in desire for something that goes beyond love or sex.

Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel essential to the woman in his life. Feeling essential is what often separates “like” from “love”.

This biological drive compels men to provide for and protect women. He wants to step up for her, feel essential, and be appreciated for his efforts.

Relationship psychologist James Bauer dubs it the hero instinct. I mentioned this concept above.

James Bauer argues that men are not especially complicated; they’re just driven by primal instincts when it comes to women. We all know that instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior. James simply takes this a step further and applies it to the romantic behavior of men.

I don’t often pay much attention to new fads in psychology. However, I think the hero instinct is a compelling explanation for what drives men romantically.

No one is saying that women need a hero to take care of them. Today women can change a tire, open their own jars, and generally fend for themselves in life.

While women may not need a hero, this doesn’t mean men still don’t want to feel like one.

That’s why it’s essential that women understand what the hero instinct is all about and how they can use it to their advantage.

Check out this free video by James Bauer. He explains what the hero instinct is really about and how women can trigger it in their man.

Some ideas can be life-changing. And for relationships, I think this is one of them.

Here is a link to James’ unique video again.

11) 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.”

This goes back to what we said earlier: real love is a lot different than the fantasy we imagine it to be. What you’re looking for is a partnership. Partnerships require effort. On both sides.

Start looking for that partner who wants to build something with you.

12) 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. 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.

Instead, put yourself out there. You’d be surprised at how many others will find you to be a perfect catch!

13) 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.

Let’s be frank: dating is a numbers game. You need to date plenty of people to discover who you are compatible with.

Luckily, 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 your spouse on date one. That can set you up for disappointment.

Instead, 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:

“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.”

It’s going to be hard. No one is saying it’ll be easy. You’ll have some dates that do not work out, and you’ll find some heartbreak along the way. Still, putting yourself out there is a surefire way to set yourself up to find love.

14) You’re overthinking

A common theme among people who are single is that they think they are terrible at attracting other people.

Here’s the secret: they probably aren’t.

Instead, they’re overthinking dating. They’re so in their heads that each date feels forced and unnatural. This means the chances of a second date are slim.

Stop overthinking. You don’t have to come up with witty lines or funny banter. Instead, you need to be in the moment.

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.

15) 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.

16) Your standards are too high

Look: having standards is great. There are certain things you shouldn’t negotiate on (like compatibility).

But you’re looking for a partner, not a fantasy. Get off your high horse and start looking for partners who are on the ground.

Firestone says:

“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.”

Sure, you can dream, but that’s about all you’ll be doing in your love life if you don’t get real.

Besides, when you ground your love life in reality, you’ll open yourself up to deeper connections.

17) 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.

It’s simple; people don’t want partners they need to babysit. Make sure that you’re self-reliant before looking for 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.

18) You keep going back to the same places to 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.

Tired of the men you find at your local bar? Why not swap that out for a singles art class?

Love loves novelty. Get out of your comfort zone and out of your standard environment. Shake things up!

19) You’re doing all the talking

Some of us can be a blabbermouth. While it’s great to tell your date about yourself, be sure not to shut them out of the conversation!

Rather than trying to be the star of the show, let your date be the star of the show. Ask them questions, and chime in once their story has drawn to a close.

Conversations are about give and take, push and pull. Show off your compatibility with a potential partner by giving them the space and support to tell you about themselves!

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 7 lessons you need to learn if you’re going to find true love

1) Men need a sense of purpose

We all want to live meaningful lives and to dedicate ourselves to the people we care about.

I know this because I’ve recently created an online course on taking responsibility for our lives. What I teach is the importance of having a sense of purpose and taking action every day towards it.

And I think a sense of purpose is incredibly important when it comes to love. Because men in particular need it to commit to a long-term, loving relationship.

Conventional wisdom says that men only fall for exceptional women — maybe she has an incredible personality or is a firecracker in bed. That we love someone for who they are.

However, I think this way of thinking is dead wrong.

Men care less about the attributes of a woman than they do about how the relationship makes him feel about himself.

Does the relationship provide him a sense of pride and purpose? Does it fit within his identity… the way he wants to see himself as a man?

That’s what the hero instinct is all about. I mentioned this concept above.

Men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel essential, and to provide for the woman he cares about.

The hero instinct speaks to the built in desire men posses for something in life that goes beyond sex and even love.

For a relationship to be successful, it must give men a sense of meaning and purpose. That you genuinely want and need to have him around. Not as a mere accessory, ‘best friend’, or ‘partner in crime’.

How do you trigger the instinct in your man? And give him the sense of purpose he craves?

The best place to start is to watch the free video by relationship psychologist James Bauer. You can watch the video here.

James reveals the exact phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can make to trigger his hero instinct.

By triggering this instinct, he’ll immediately see you in a whole new light. Because you’ll be unlocking a version of himself he’s always longed for.

2) 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.

3) 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.”

4) 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.

Psychologist and marriage therapist Randi Gunther says:

“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.

5) 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 start 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 are 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.

6) 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.

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.

7) 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.

In conclusion: What now?

Finding love is as difficult as ever these days.

What makes things confusing is that men are wired differently to women. And they’re driven by different things when it comes to relationships.

I know this because I’ve been an emotionally unavailable man my whole life. My video above reveals more about this.

And learning about the hero instinct has made it crystal clear why.

It’s not often that a mirror gets held up to my lifetime of relationship failure. But that’s what happened when I discovered the hero instinct. I ended up learning more about myself than I bargained for.

I’m 39. I’m single. And yes, I’m still looking for love.

After watching James Bauer’s video and reading his book, I realize that I’ve always been emotionally unavailable because the hero instinct was never triggered in me.

Watch James’ free video here for yourself.

My relationships with women involved everything from ‘best friends with benefits’ to being ‘partners in crime’.

In hindsight, I’ve always needed more. I needed to feel that I was the rock in a relationship. Like I was providing something to my partner that no one else could.

Learning about the hero instinct was my “aha” moment.

For years, I wasn’t able to put a finger on why I would get cold feet, struggle to open up to women, and fully commit to a relationship.

Now I know exactly why I’ve been single most of my adult life.

Because when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to commit to a relationship and forge a deep connection with you. I never could with the women I was with.

To learn more about this fascinating new concept in relationship psychology, watch this video here.

Notable replies

  1. Avatar for Barry Barry says:

    I don’t do those 12 things. I will never find love because I have had depression all my life and was never able to get a career or job and live with my parents. Had 2 girlfriends in my early 30’s but had no money and having a source of income is important. You could be the best boyfriend/husband in the world in every area but if you have no money and your depression constricts your ability to accomplish anything then a relationship is impossible. I have had no relationship longterm, casual, one night, in twenty years. I could go on but you get the idea. So 12 things mean nothing if you aren’t a functioning grown up.

  2. Avatar for ACD ACD says:

    It has never been an obstacle for me and I have never used a checklist approach. In the end, the set of possibilities is determined subjectively. The lucky winner is the one whose set of possibilities overlaps.

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Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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