In theory, falling in love is simple, right? You find someone, they shower you with romantic gestures which you return and you live happily ever after.
You have the love that a character in a romance novel could only dream of.
Cue kissing in the rain, kicking leaves in the fall, and snuggling in bed with hot cocoa.
But sometimes it’s not that simple.
Your dream person may not make their presence obvious. If they do, the love may not be what you expected.
You might even ask yourself, “Why can’t I find true love?”
If you’re feeling this way, don’t fret, this post breaks down 6 reasons you might not have found the love you wanted and what you can do about it.
1. You’re not being You
Psychology Today states a common human practice is to act “as if”.
This means if you want to be happy, do what happy people do until you’re happy (commonly known as “fake it till you make it”).
However, this study suggests acting “as if” might become a one-way ticket to dwelling on your failures and shortcomings and may never get you any closer to success.
When trying to find the right person, we often put our best foot forward.
We spotlessly clean our house, dress nicely, take our beloved to places of a higher standard, refrain from swearing, etc., but this isn’t who we really are.
And this behavior might be damaging because we aren’t being our true selves.
The person we are trying to court falls in love with the person we are pretending to be and when we can’t keep up that persona, we tend to become bitter.
We are exhausted from pretending to be another person and might even ask ourselves, “Why don’t they love me?”
The honest answer is: they don’t know you.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is unsuitable in the long term. And you may not be alone.
The one you’re attempting to court could very well feel the same way after putting their best foot forward.
If they falter and this perceived personality falls short, you might realize you don’t love them either.
What you can do about it:
- Find out who you really are and embrace it, flaws and all. Everyone has flaws and that is okay, there is still a wonderful person waiting to meet you!
- Find someone that appreciates your quirks and don’t settle for someone who doesn’t love your flaws. And, in return, love their flaws
- Change yourself to become the person you want to be. Sometimes love needs to take a backseat to your personal growth.
2. You’re waiting for love
Instead of going after love, do you find yourself waiting for it?
Perhaps you don’t want to join a dating app or website because you don’t think it will lead to something substantial or maybe you’ve heard the horror stories. Either way, you’re not particularly interested in internet dating.
Maybe you feel similarly about fact-to-face dating. Maybe leaving the house, getting set up by friends, and meeting new people are also not situations you like to be in.
You’re in luck! Mariella Frostrup, the online dating writer for The Guardian, believes online dating and quick flings are not the way to find love.
However, she suggests making friends with the apps—or in-person—first. How can we know this person we have found is the one when we don’t actually know them?
Waiting for love might be the best decision you’ve made. So long as you’re actively meeting new people and getting to know them, the love of your life might be closer than you think.
If you still haven’t found success while waiting, you have options.
What you can do about it:
- Go out with your friends and see what happens. Whether they want you to join them at a book club, a bar, or on a double date, try to have fun with it. The first step to finding love is putting yourself out there and making yourself available.
- Try that app or dating website that everyone’s been talking about. Some long term, wholesome relationships have been made through dating apps. If you are not interested in the person who contacts you, you’re not obliged to indulge them. And you may have some fun along the way and make some new friends.
- Become tenacious. If you’re standing in your way, take a step back and assess the situation. Figure out why you aren’t helping yourself, and move past it. You deserve the love you want and need.
3. You’re afraid of rejection
The fear of failure or rejection is common, you are not alone. Sometimes we can overcome this fear by moving forward with what frightens us, but sometimes certain situations make us recede further into ourselves. It is not uncommon for us to let our fears get the best of us.
This article states the symptoms of the fear of rejection as:
- Sweaty palms
- Labored breathing
- Increase in heart rate
- Trouble speaking
These symptoms resemble those experienced by someone suffering from anxiety because they stem from the same place. This reaction leads us to withdraw and could be the reason you’re not finding love.
On the other hand, your one true love might be feeling the same way. They might never approach you because the possibilities are endless—and not all positive. And you may never approach them for the same reason!
When we fear rejection, our self-esteem lowers and this can lead to the potential of being easily wounded by others.
So, even if our one true love approaches us, their comments could leave us feeling poorly and rejected—even if they are not intending to.
If this happens enough, we don’t put ourselves into the world for fear of being rejected by someone we become vulnerable with.
Psychology Today states that when our fears become internalized, they impact various parts of our life:
- Mood and psychological state of mind
- Attitudes and prejudices
- Personal relationships
- Mate selection
- Style of relating to others
- Choice of school or career
- Work performance
The longer we hide away, the more damage we could be doing.
What you can do about it:
- Assess the worst thing that could happen when approaching someone. They may reject you, but have you not rejected others in the past? It is okay to feel as though they will push you away or say something you may interpret as cruel, but pushing past this fear will help you find love. Sometimes we have to search through the rubble to find the treasure.
- If your fear stems from past trauma, try to work through it at your own pace with whatever method you feel okay to use. If you are okay with talking to someone, even just a close friend, do that. Sometimes talking through our fears makes them less real.
- Write down a list of the reasons you believe someone would reject you and brainstorm the reasons why you think they would reject you based on this assessment. Maybe your fear of rejection stems from you not appreciating yourself enough. (If this is the case, keep reading!)
- Practise self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and believe that you deserve love. Rejection is hard, but it doesn’t have to control your life.
4. You’re closed off
Sometimes the simple answer to the inability to find satisfying love is to look inside yourself. Sometimes we cause our problems.
If you’re emotionally unavailable or don’t trust easily, you might build brick walls and place stationed guards outside to protect your fortress when someone attempts to get to know you.
There are a variety of reasons we build walls and some are easier to explain than others; some are more simply taken care of than others.
One of the most common reasons we build walls is because we’ve been wounded in the past. And we all know that letting go of past pain is easier said than done.
Our inner critic affects our ability to move forward, especially when the wounding was severe.
Despite this, we must remember that being closed off does not make us bad people.
We might react negatively to certain situations or hurt someone else’s feelings because we are scared of being hurt again.
We might reject the idea of receiving love because we don’t know the outcome.
Our minds work against us to drown out the positivity that should be forming with a new romance.
While others might see this behavior as rude, that’s not always the case. Becoming vulnerable with someone is scary and it’s okay to be scared. Fear keeps us safe, but it can hinder our happiness.
So, while you aren’t a bad person by any means, closing yourself off to people and opportunities makes letting others in very difficult.
If their attempts are continually thwarted, they might give up, and you may miss the opportunity of your life.
When the negative, inner critic starts chirping in your ear, think of what the future could hold and remember to focus on the positives to form a healthy relationship.
What is a healthy relationship though? A healthy relationship should include the following (from both people):
- Affection and interest
- Room for growth
- Healthy conflict resolution
- Individuality and boundaries
- Openness and honesty
Remember that you deserve love.
What you can do about it:
- Assess why you cannot let people in and write a list of the reasons you think you’re closed off. If you do not trust people, this doesn’t mean you will not find love. Love is waiting for you with open arms, you just have to find it.
- Try to open up with people. If they are understanding they will be patient with you and your needs. If they aren’t patient, don’t be afraid to ask them why. While it is important to understand how others see us, it is more important to be happy in ourselves, so if they are cruel in response you have your own permission to move on from that person towards a better future.
5. Your standards are too high
Standards are okay to have, we all have them to some degree, but sometimes they might get your love life into trouble.
If you are setting your standards too high and everyone falls short—aside from the hottest actor/actress at the time—then you might have trouble finding the one.
If you do happen to find your “10”, they might not be quite what you expected. If they meet the physical standards, they might fall short of the personality standards, and vice versa.
Because this is not to say high standards are bad, they’re not, they just might not be appropriate.
Do you find yourself turning down opportunities because the other person doesn’t look or behave the way you would prefer? This alone could be hindering the potential of finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Thought Catalog states that you should never consider something a person cannot control as a deal-breaker because, well, they cannot change what is natural—aside from dying their hair and wearing contacts, but who has the motivation to do that 24/7?
If you prefer blue eyes and brown hair over any other physical trait, you could be limiting yourself and being unfair.
But let’s focus on you. By limiting yourself, you may never get to know someone’s personality. They could be the kindest and most romantic person you’ve ever met.
For all you know, they might be the one. You might miss out on the perfect opportunity to find your true love because they didn’t have the eye color you want.
In saying that, don’t set your standards too low because you deserve to find someone you will truly love. If you would prefer your significant other to be outgoing because you are, keep this trait in your standards.
And remember, even if they don’t have the trait to start off with, they might develop a love for the same things you’re passionate about as you grow together.\
With this being said, if you’re focusing solely on appearance, you might not be ready to settle down to find the person you will spend the rest of your life with.
If appearance is where your standards end, consider spending time with people and getting to know what you like behavioral-wise. There is nothing wrong with flirting and dating in the interim.
What you can do about it:
- Make a list of the personality types and features you do not want, then make a list of those you do want. Instead of focusing on the negatives, think positively.
- Look for someone who matches some or most of the good traits and features. Thinking more positively about the people around you may lead to you becoming a more accepting person.
6. You don’t love yourself
Not being able to find the one could stem from your inability to love yourself. Maybe you scoffed at this, maybe you’re nodding your head, maybe you are surprised, but are you ready to take the next step? Are you ready to love yourself?
When we don’t appreciate ourselves, we may search for someone to fill the void within us. We may feel empty and unloved because we aren’t receiving the love we desire.
This is nothing to be ashamed of. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we accept the love shown to us?
Oftentimes, we push away the things we believe we don’t deserve and this leads to secluding ourselves from those who love us.
We may not even consider the fact that someone could love us. What happens next is a spiral of feeling low and rejected.
But your loved one may not be the reason you’re feeling like you’re not living in a fairy tale. You might even see the “evidence” of their inability to love you.
But this means you could be projecting your feelings about yourself onto other people.
Statistics show that:
- Men would rather feel respected than loved
- Most women wonder if they’re really loved
- Men spend a lot of time thinking about providing for their families
- Most women would rather their husbands focused on family than work
- Most men need to think things through before talking about them
- Most women feel the need to process their thoughts out loud
With these points in mind, you might be able to see why we behave the way we do and why we need to respect our significant others and ourselves.
So, how can we love ourselves more? This article breaks down 15 things we could do to enjoy ourselves more:
- Have fun by yourself
- Travel once a year
- Forgive yourself for your mistakes
- Surprise yourself
- Start a journal
- Give yourself a break
- Learn how to love yourself by saying no to others
- Make a list of your accomplishments
- Make a vision board
- Pursue new interests
- How to love yourself by challenging yourself
- Give yourself a break
- Give yourself credit where credit is due
- Work on your self-trust
- Take care of yourself
To sum this post up, here are the most important topics discussed throughout:
- Putting your best foot forward is a good start to a relationship, but only if you are showing your significant other the real you.
- Love may not come to you, you might have to search through the rubble to find the treasure.
- Rejection is scary, but you can overcome it to find the love you desire. You have control over how you feel.
- If you push away those who love you, you might need to break down some walls and have fun before you can appreciate love wholly.
- Love should not be based on high or low standards, respect yourself and those around you by creating realistic standards and see where this takes your love life.
- If you’re feeling unloved by the people around you, perhaps you don’t love yourself enough. When you don’t love yourself, you cannot accept love shown to you.
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