What is life without love?
For most of us, the biggest single factor that defines the quality of life we live is the relationships we have. That’s true of family and friends, but it’s also true of romantic relationships, the kind of love they write songs and make movies about.
But of course, not all of us are lucky when it comes to finding love. Often, the quest to find someone to share our lives with can lead to frustration, bitterness, and loneliness.
And that’s not always a popular thing to say. After all, in many ways, we define ourselves and each other by our ability to attract a partner.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the nauseating parade of heart-shaped garbage that gets paraded out on Valentine’s Day each year.
It can be hard being single in a world that defines your value by who you’re with. So sometimes, when people have given up on finding love, they keep it to themselves. They may pretend they are still in the game, when in reality, they have checked out completely.
There are some subtle signs of somebody who won’t admit they’ve given up on ever finding real love.
1) They focus on other aspects of life
Even those of us in happy relationships will admit that they take a lot of effort.
And that can be even more true when you’re actively dating and looking for someone to start that serious relationship with.
So when someone gives up on that, it frees up their time and energy to focus on other things.
This probably doesn’t sound like a bad thing, and actually, it’s not. In fact, staying single allows people to focus more on their career, their interests, or other aspects of their life that they find fulfilling.
In fact, some major geniuses like Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla avoided relationships, whether by choice or not, and focused instead on groundbreaking scientific discoveries.
You don’t have to be a mega genius to do this. And often, people who focus on their career or other aspects of their life achieve a lot and can be very impressive individuals.
It takes a keen eye to notice that sometimes, the reason they achieve so much is because they have given up on finding love.
2) They avoid dating or romantic situations
Do you know someone who seems uninterested in dating?
Do they even get defensive when you bring it up?
When you’ve been unlucky in past relationships, it’s easy to become pessimistic and cynical. Strike out enough times, and you may start to believe that you have no chance of ever finding a worthwhile partner.
This can cause a person to start avoiding dating completely.
Maybe you’ve tried to set them up with friends, and they have turned you down flat. Maybe they even avoid social situations where they might meet someone.
These are all subtle signs of somebody who has given up on the dating game and doesn’t want to even be around situations that feel like attempts to meet someone.
3) They are obsessed with independence
I’m not saying independence is a bad thing. Far from it. In fact, maintaining your independence even within a loving and committed relationship is one of the keys to staying happy.
However, someone who has given up on love may take their belief in independence a little too far.
They may loudly proclaim that they don’t need a partner, and that they are happier by themselves. They may even get defensive when you so much as suggest the idea of them being with someone.
It’s true that some people are genuinely happier being alone, and have no interest or desire for romantic relationships.
But it’s also true that sometimes, people put on an act to hide inner pain and disappointment.
It’s not easy to tell the difference. But if someone is constantly talking about how much they love being independent and self-sufficient and get defensive if you question it, it might be because they have given up on love.
4) They are cynical about relationships
When things go wrong, we are all entitled to a little bit of cynicism. But someone who makes being cynical about relationships a major part of their personality may be secretly advertising the fact that they have given up on trying.
They may make jokes about how relationships are more trouble than they are worth, or how whatever sex they are attracted to is not worth the time.
“Men are all pigs,” they might say, or “women are all crazy.”
Even worse, they may express cynicism about the relationships of those around them. Instead of seeing people in love, they will point out codependency, desperation, and other negative aspects they see.
“Our critical inner voices can act as a barrier to getting close to someone else”, says educator and author Lisa Firestone. “Like the world’s worst matchmaker, it tends to feed us a steady stream of awful commentary about our partner or potential partners as well as dating and romance in general.”
In that way, cynical views about dating and relationships can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And if you know someone who always takes a gloomy view of relationships in general and the relationships of people around them, it’s a good sign that they have given up on finding love themselves, whether they want to admit it or not.
5) They are uncomfortable talking about romance
Relationships are a huge part of our lives. Therefore, when we’re talking to our friends, colleagues, or others, it’s more or less inevitable that we sooner or later mention our partners and our lives together.
But for someone who is involuntarily single, that can be extremely uncomfortable. Talking about your happy relationship, no matter what your intentions, can make them feel like you are rubbing your happiness in their face.
It can make them feel inadequate and jealous, and remind them of everything they themselves don’t have.
So often, people who have given up on finding love will get very uncomfortable whenever the talk switches to relationships, romance, or anything close to it. They may squirm, fidget, go silent, or try to change the subject.
It’s all to avoid talking about what they don’t have.
6) They justify being single
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being single. And many people enjoy being single more than they do being in a relationship.
But there’s a difference between being voluntarily single and convincing yourself that you would rather be single because you have given up on finding love.
Often, people who are single but not by choice may be defensive about it. This can lead them to exaggerate the benefits of single life and even put down relationships to make their own life seem better.
They may also rationalize their single status by saying things like they are too busy for relationship, or that they haven’t met the right person yet. And all of these things may well be true.
However, they can also be signs of someone who has given up the chase.
7) They throw up roadblocks in relationships
If you’re wondering if someone has given up on finding love, ask yourself about their past relationships and the way they behaved.
It might seem counterintuitive, but people who have been unfortunate in dating can often create roadblocks that make a happy and nurturing relationship almost impossible.
They may have picked fights with previous partners. They may have been overly picky in their selection criteria for relationships.
The thing is, this behavior is so subtle that often, a person won’t even know they are doing it themselves. It may be a subconscious reaction to having been hurt in the past, causing them to do everything they can to avoid getting into a relationship that may hurt them again.
“One big reason is low self-esteem and self-worth,” says clinical psychologist Maggie Dancel. “If you’re worried your partner may not like you enough, you might subconsciously act out or push them away so you don’t have to feel the sting of rejection.”
8) They don’t talk about future relationships
Pay attention when someone is talking about the future they envision for themselves. Because you can tell you a lot about their attitude to love and romance.
Do they see their future involving a partner, children, a happy family? Or do they talk about the future as if they will always be alone?
This can be a good sign that someone has given up on ever finding a partner.
Giving up on love
There are lots of reasons why people can give up on finding love. After all, it isn’t easy to find a person who makes you a better version of yourself, and after years of trying, many people feel it’s just not going to happen for them.
They may not want to admit that. But these subtle behaviors can show you someone who has abandoned the search for a loving companion.