Here’s one of life’s universal truths – dating is tough. Finding love with the right person can feel like an elusive dream reserved only for a chosen few.
If you’ve been in and out of relationships with no luck, it can get pretty exhausting. Maybe you’ve become jaded and are starting to believe that love just isn’t in the cards for you.
Hold up right there – before you buy into that, best to examine your outlook and behavior when it comes to dating. Is it possible you’re unconsciously engaging in certain habits that sabotage your search for love?
I’ve been there, and I’ve been guilty of certain habits myself. So I’ve put them all together in the hopes that you can do a self-check and adjust as needed.
Let’s dive in!
1) Feeling the need to impress
I’ll start with something super common – the need to impress. Who hasn’t felt this at one point or another?
It’s completely natural to want to make a good first impression when you’re out on a date with a new person. After all, starting a new relationship is nerve-wracking, isn’t it?
The problem is, we sometimes go overboard and put on a performance instead of being our authentic selves. And unfortunately, that’s just not sustainable.
Let’s say you’ve got a good thing going with an athletic person. Since you want to connect, you say you love being active yourself, even if you’re actually a couch potato who can binge-watch a series for eight hours straight!
How do you think that’ll play out?
They’re going to find out sooner or later just how different you are from what you’ve been saying! That’s going to put a seed of doubt in their mind, not just about your trustworthiness, but about the “connection you have”.
So, be respectful and make a good impression – but always be true to yourself. You’re already impressive just as you are, no need for bells and whistles!
2) Being unsure of yourself
Oftentimes, that need to impress stems from a deeper source – insecurity.
This is one I’ve been guilty of so many times in the past. I wasn’t very confident in my younger years, and it showed in my romantic relationships.
How? Mostly through overthinking. I’d read too much into things. Why hasn’t he texted me yet? What did he mean when he said [insert innocent comment]?
And I had an insane fear of rejection. Given enough time, I’d begin pushing the guy away or concoct unnecessary arguments.
All because I wanted to beat them to the punch – if there was any rejection to be had, it would come from me, not them.
Confidence matters in our search for love. Embracing who we are and believing in ourselves not only makes us more attractive; it also makes us brave.
And when you’re brave enough to show the real you, love stands a chance.
3) Not knowing what you want in a partner
Have your relationships mostly been short-lived? Or if they’ve been long-term ones, would you describe them as “meh” or “blah”?
That could mean you’re not sure what you want from a partner. You go with the flow, start a relationship with someone new, only to end back at square one.
Take some time to get clear on what you want in a relationship. Know your deal-breakers, figure out your needs, and stick to them.
It’s all about intentionality. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll have a better chance of spotting it when it comes along.
However, make sure your expectations are also realistic…
4) Having unrealistic expectations
So, you’ve done your soul-searching and figured out what you want from your romantic partner. Are your expectations realistic?
It’s natural to dream about a love story like those we see in our favorite rom-coms. But unfortunately, real life doesn’t work that way.
It’s messy and people are flawed. So, if you’re searching for the perfect partner, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Even worse, you might miss the one who’s definitely imperfect, but perfect for you.
5) Being too focused on your “type”
Just like having unrealistic expectations, being too narrow and focused on the “type” of partner you’ve set your heart on might be getting in the way of your search.
I, too, used to do this. My “type” was the tall, brooding guy with a mysterious vibe. If a guy didn’t meet this box, I’d cross him off right away.
Well, the joke was on me because I ended up marrying a guy who not only didn’t meet my height requirement, but he was also absolutely not brooding.
I mean, he’d laugh at the silliest things; in fact, one of his favorite YouTube channels is the old Just for Laughs gag show!
But – he’s the right match for me because he makes my life so much lighter and is the perfect foil to my own brooding moments.
My point is, if you’re too focused on a specific physical appearance, profession, or background, you might overlook someone who could be a great match for you.
Try venturing outside your comfort zone. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone who, on paper, doesn’t make sense at all, but would turn out to be the right one for you!
Have you ever sat through a date where the other person did nothing but complain?
Let me tell you – I’ve had such an experience, and it was downright awful. In just two hours, the guy complained about:
- His job
- His ex
- His neighbors
- His family
- The service at the restaurant
By the end of the date, I was ready to pull my hair out!
That was an example of a person sabotaging his own search for love. And it’s such a shame; had he chosen to focus on the positives, who knows? We might have had a second date, or maybe even a real relationship!
7) Refusing to share more of yourself
I’ve touched on this earlier in the discussion about insecurity, but I think it deserves a space of its own. I totally understand the struggle to share more of ourselves with a new person, as it’s something I used to feel myself.
This struggle can be due to many factors, such as:
- Fear of rejection
- Past trauma/negative experiences
- Fear of losing one’s independence
- Lack of trust
Whatever reason is holding you back from being vulnerable, the fact is, a deep and authentic connection isn’t possible without the courage to lay yourself bare.
Sharing more of yourself – your hopes and fears, your embarrassing stuff – is scary, but how else will you allow the other person to see, accept and LOVE you for who you are?
8) Being overly eager to please
On the other end of the spectrum, we have overeagerness to please. And that’s not a good habit, either.
Of course, it’s only right to do our part and make our partners happy. But being overly eager to please can send the wrong message.
When you’re constantly bending over backward to accommodate the other person, it shifts the dynamic of the relationship and makes it unbalanced.
Remember, healthy relationships are all about give-and-take. Each partner’s boundaries should be respected.
If this is an area you struggle with, start by pinning down what your boundaries are. Learn to say no. Once you’re able to identify your own needs, it becomes easier to stand up for them.
9) Neglecting other areas of your life
This is closely connected to the previous point. Many people, especially women, let all the other parts of their lives slip when they’re hell-bent on searching for love.
That’s never a good idea because as important as romance is, it’s not the be-all and end-all of life.
Your search for love shouldn’t overshadow the importance of maintaining a full, vibrant life outside of dating.
Believe me, not only does this give you a healthy balance, but it also makes you more appealing.
When you’re independent and well-rounded, you’ll always be more attractive than someone who gives off “desperate-for-love” energy.
10) Jumping into a relationship due to a fear of being alone
Speaking of desperation, one of the reasons why people jump into relationships is because they’re afraid of being alone.
The result? A string of unsatisfying relationships.
Because that fear is forcing them to settle for less than what they really want and deserve in a relationship.
In this case, it’s important to distinguish between aloneness and loneliness. Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely; it can be your time to explore your passions and work on self-love.
Once you get more comfortable with being alone, you’ll no longer feel that urge to be in a relationship with someone you’re only half heartedly interested in.
Ultimately, love – the one that’s right for you – comes when you’re the best version of yourself. Confident, open, and sure of what you want out of a relationship.
Because as you can see from this list of habits, it all begins with the self.
When you don’t chase after love desperately, when you live your days just as richly as you can…that’s when love can come into your life in the most unexpected ways. And you’ll be ready for it!