1. They romanticize the past.
“Your mind can always measure what it will lose, it can’t see what it will gain.”
That’s why people to hold onto relationships in which they really aren’t all that happy: the fear of what they could lose overshadows what they could potentially find.
It’s also common for people to exaggerate how happy they were in the past, and it has a blinding effect on seeing potential in a new (probably better) partner. There was a reason it didn’t work out in the first place, after all.
2. They subconsciously re-create relationships they’re comfortable with.
People aren’t looking for love, they’re looking for comfort. Our perception of love is informed directly by how we first experienced it.
Until you bring this to your awareness, you are destined to re-create the relationships you had as a kid. Often, this comes from the desire to control what you could not in the past.
If you keep ending up in a certain relationship pattern, there’s a reason. Become conscious of it and choose differently.
3. They try to control the timing.
Love will not always come when you love yourself enough. It will not always come when you think it should, or when it seems like it’s coming for everyone else.
Love will not come after you’ve “earned it,” even if you try harder than everyone you know, even if you think you’ve found it and discover you were wrong.
Love will come on it’s own schedule, and there is often no rhyme or reason for when or how it does. Though it’s scary, it’s something you really have to allow yourself to relinquish control over.
4. They assume that they can only work on themselves if they’re alone.
If someone says to you: “I am working on myself right now, so I’m not looking for a relationship” it is code for: “I am just not that into you.”
Everyone is working on themselves, always. Do you think you “fix” yourself and then find a relationship and everything is fine forevermore? Of course not.
Some self-work has to be done alone. But when the prospect of real love comes along, you’ll find it almost shocking how quickly people will drop their pretenses of “working on themselves” to pursue it.
This doesn’t mean they were being disingenuous. It just means that life is about working on yourself. Love doesn’t hinder the process.
5. They only date within their “type.”
Some people are more naturally attracted to some traits over others, but narrowing your lists of prospects by shallow, unimportant things that won’t matter to you at the end of the day is how many people hold themselves back.
So many love stories begin just like this: someone was outside of someone else’s type, or opposites attracted, or the most unlikely pair discovered they jived more than anybody else.
You can identify what you’re attracted to, or what appeals to you, but fascinatingly enough it’s almost impossible to nail down what will make you fall in love with someone. Be open to the possibilities.
6. They confuse a “soulmate connection” for a “forever love.”
You can have a lot of soulmates in your life. They will either serve you as friends or teachers, or in many cases, romantic partners. Their purpose is to teach you something, or to help you grow. Just because you have a profound connection with someone does not mean they are your forever person.
Love and compatibility are not the same thing, and you need the two to work in tandem to have a lasting relationship. There are a lot of people you could call a “soulmate” in your life. You are looking for the one you can call your “best friend” and partner, too.
7. They are not confident that they can deal with rejection, so they don’t open up completely.
If you think that one rejection is going to wreck you, you’re not going to try as hard as you may think you’re trying.
Over time, you’ll discover that relationships come and go, heartbreak comes and goes, pain comes and goes, and yet your spirit remains evergreen.
Once you discover this, you come to understand that rejection doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it means you were in a mismatch. Who and how you are is absolutely perfect for someone else.
8. They take people for granted.
If you operate under the belief that there are “7 billion or so people in the world” and so you will be fine if you selfishly allow a wonderful love to slip past you, you are incorrect.
When you break down the demographics: gender/sex you’re attracted to, age range, geographic location, etc. you reduce your prospects significantly. Then if you pare it down even more, considering traits, education level, common interests, availability, etc. you will find that the number of people who you could realistically sustain a relationship with are very few.
This is not to scare you. This is to say: don’t let a good thing pass you by if you have it. You might not find it again.
9. They let their poor self-image dictate who they are “good enough” for.
Many people set their dating expectations so low as to be basically in the gutter, and that’s because they do not think that they are worth anything more than that.
The kind of person that someone thinks they deserve to be with says more about how they perceive themselves than anything else.
10. They won’t clean up their side of the street.
You keep finding people to date, but whom won’t commit. You keep attracting the wrong people, keep ending up in dead-end relationships. Do you know what the common denominator here is? You.
If you want to demand that you find the perfect partner, you better first be the perfect partner. If the world keeps handing you the same crap, eventually you have to realize that you’re the one choosing and creating it.
11. They start watering grass on the other side.
If you think that there’s something better out there, you’ll never be totally content with the person you’re with. If your focus and your energy is going toward not only how what you have is great, but on working on making it better, that’s what you’re going to idealize and want.
12. They treat a significant other like an accessory.
A partner is not something you get so you can take cute pictures and have someone to tout on your arm. Those things are nice, but they are not what makes a relationship meaningful.
If you aren’t going to recognize how sacred love is, or if you’re not willing to risk the vulnerability it requires, you will keep attracting and choosing partners who seem to fall short of caring.
13. They assume your soulmate relationship is something you find, not something you build.
Something you find is a person who you are compatible with and attracted to. Everything else unfolds from the energy that you put into it. Relationships are a blank canvas that you paint upon until they are beautiful.
14. They refuse to release impossible expectations.
Oh, so the love of your life actually has some credit card debt and isn’t a famous athlete and doesn’t make you feel giddy 24/7? The absolute only reason you have a problem with any of that is because you expected otherwise, because if that were anybody else, you would empathize with them. These things are part of being human. You were expecting something more than that.
15. They want it too much.
When you want love too much, it’s never because you’re a hopeless romantic who craves affection. It’s because you’re trying to use someone else’s love to supplement something you are inherently lacking, something that you need to resolve before you find a partner.
The people who are most desperate for love usually never find it until they don’t need it so much anymore. Sometimes the world keeps from us the thing we think will save us to show us that we didn’t need it in the first place.
16. They only think they want it.
The strange truth is that a lot of people who aren’t in relationships don’t want to be. They only think they want to be because they assume it will make them feel better in some way.
So if you’re stuck in this limbo wherein you feel absolutely desperate for a significant other, yet can’t seem to find anyone to date, maybe the question to ask isn’t “Why me?” but “Why not? Why don’t I want this deep down?”