Why are you still single? Does this question make you cringe? The responses usually run the gamut of blaming this misfortune on a string of bad women or men, bad luck, the law of attraction… or the self-protective response of, “I just choose to be single.” But truth be told, you sometimes wonder if something is truly wrong with…you. Ouch.
So to begin with, let’s cradle this moment of self-reflection with a heavy dose of compassion for any choices you’ve made up to this point in time. You’re human. And remember, relationships take work. The key here is to develop an ability to see the proverbial “forest through the trees” when it comes to your history with love. Here are some common patterns that might be keeping you single:
1) You’re not being authentic.
When you’re hiding your true self, how can someone fall in love with the “real” you? Pretending to be someone you’re not might work to ignite a connection in a new relationship, but eventually, you may discover that the two of you are a mismatch for each other. It takes courage to be authentic on a date when you’re seeking the approval of a stranger. Building your self-esteem and confidence is vital if you want to thrive in the dating world and find a relationship that lasts.
2) Your standards are too high.
If you have a long, inflexible list of specific or superficial characteristics that a partner must have in order to make you happy, you may be missing out on a lot of possibilities. While it is important to keep some standards, being too picky is often a bigger sign that you are simply afraid to be vulnerable in love, and you are finding excuses to protect your heart. It might be time to dig a little deeper, and ask yourself the real reasons for your selectiveness.
3) Your standards are too low.
Do you quickly dismiss a potential date or online profile because you think someone is too attractive, physically fit, successful, wealthy, educated, or better than you in some way? If you’re always dating people who feel unchallenging and “safe” in some way, ask yourself this question: “Do I believe I’m worth loving?” Usually this is a reflection of low self-esteem or underlying beliefs that you don’t deserve good things (or people). You must hold yourself to a high standard, simply because you confidently and wholeheartedly believe that you are also of that high standard. Take some risks and push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
4) You’re uncomfortable with commitment.
Is your pattern to sabotage a relationship right at the moment it starts to inch toward a commitment? Do you panic when someone you’re dating wants to talk about their feelings for you? You may have a tendency to feel really uncomfortable with intimacy and value your independence. If so, own it. We all have different needs when it comes to intimacy. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, as long as you’re honest with yourself and your partners.
5) You’re stuck on your ex.
Do you find yourself comparing your dates to your ex or longing for your ex after contact with dates? Its normal to feel this way after a breakup. The time it takes to heal from a breakup varies with each person and every relationship. However, if you get back into dating and still find your heart longing for the past, it might be time to take a breakuntil you’ve truly learned how to leave your lover.
6) You’re dating people who fear commitment.
Do you always seem to be chasing partners who don’t want to be in relationships? Do you fall madly, deeply in love with people who seem to run from you as soon as you show your feelings? It is actually quite common for people who crave closeness to be magnetized to people who fear it. If intimacy and commitment are important to you, then have no fear. Talk about it openly, and trust that there are plenty of people who won’t shy from your need for closeness.
7) You’re not even dating!
This one is kind of obvious. Dating is truly a numbers game. If you’re stuck, try to think of the dating process as a weak muscle that needs exercise to get strong. The more you work it, the stronger it will become. Try, try, and try again.
8) You’re afraid of heartbreak.
Most of us know the sting of a broken heart. It can keep you miserable, fearful, and alone. Remember that the heart can break, and the heart can also heal. Mother Theresa once said: “the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” Denying yourself love for ANY reason is torture for the human spirit. We are simply wired for love. Keeping the heart open, no matter how many breaks it’s endured, is the key.
Despite all of these reasons for why you might still be single, the bottom line is undoubtedly, simply, fear. They are all just fear cloaked in its many disguises. You’re simply, humanly, afraid. Afraid of something. Afraid to be yourself, afraid you’re not worth loving, afraid of vulnerability, afraid of pain. Bottom line.
When it comes to finding love, you must always keep trying. Identify your limiting patterns and beliefs and relentlessly work toward breaking them. Most of all, create a pattern of choosing and trusting love, instead of fear, and love will have no choice but to surround you.