During these last few months of social distancing, those of us who are single have felt lonelier than ever. While some people have managed to take their relationship to the next level with turbo speed, the lockdown has also deprived many of the usual opportunities to meet someone.
But whether you’ve been single for a while or recently back to the playing field, it may feel very hard to try again and get back out there. But if we’re going to find someone, we sometimes need to look inward and introspect. Experiences in our past may have residual effects on our dating lives. Similarly, our mindsets or preconceived notions can also unknowingly sabotage us in our quests to find love.
Here are the things you should examine and evaluate, if you’re questioning why you are still single.
1-You’re not keeping an open mind
We need to be mindful and open when it comes to dating. “We all have a friend who’s in a happy relationship and says, ‘I never thought we’d end up together because he’s so not my type!’” said Melissa Hobley, Dating Expert and Global Chief Marketing Officer at OkCupid.
This may be especially true for women. “Data and research shows that women are the pickiest — so please be more open and you are going to dramatically increase your chances of a match,” said Hobley.
2-You are self-sabotaging because you think you’re not good enough
Dating can be really challenging. “Poor self-esteem is one of the greatest barriers to entering a successful relationship,” said psychotherapist Meredith Prescott at Transformative Mindset in New York City.
Identify the patterns that are leading you down a negative dating path. Are you self-sabotaging? How were you related to as a child? So much of how we relate and connect to others is what was modeled for us as a child.
“It is only until we recognize and bring awareness to these patterns that we can improve ourselves and our dynamics in relationships,” said Prescott. Seeking out professional help by speaking to a therapist can be so successful in overcoming dating obstacles and improving your self-esteem,” said Prescott
3-You haven’t figured out your love language
“Another tip I used to give all my single girlfriends is to figure out their love language!” said Hobley. It’s a great introspective exercise.
“Think about how you show love, and how you want to be shown love in a relationship. Is it spending one-on-one time every single day? Is it those little gifts that show you they’re thinking about you when you’re not around?” said Hobley.
All these things help us figure out our own love language, and the types of relationship dynamics we need.
4-You have no idea what you need from a relationship
We all love to show affection and appreciation differently, but it’s so important to know how you want to be shown love. “Over 515,000 people on OkCupid responded to our matching question about love languages, and 54% of respondents said theirs is physical touch, 23% said words of affirmation, 17% said acts of service, and 6% said gifts and meaningful gestures,” said Hobley.
We also know that quality time with a partner is a huge deal-breaker or deal-maker among our daters! “Almost 2.5 million people on OkCupid said they would NOT date someone who needs a lot of alone time,” said Hobley.
5-You’re not communicating well
While there’s a lot of things that can go wrong in a relationship, poor communication is a common denominator in many breakups.
It’s so important that you’re honest about what you need in a relationship when you’re dating. Are you someone who needs to talk to your partner all throughout the day? You’re not alone.
“In fact, almost 15 million people on OkCupid want to communicate every single day with their significant other — via phone, text, in person, whatever,” said Hobley. However, not everyone is comfortable with communicating 24/7.
So remember, people aren’t mind readers. If you’re someone who needs constant communication, be upfront about it. Otherwise, it’s going to become a bigger and bigger issue over time.
6-You think you need to _______ (fill in the blank)
“I often hear singles say things like “I just need to lose 20 lbs and then I’ll be ready to date” or “I need to wait a few more years until my kids go off to college,” said Amber Artis CEO and Certified Matchmaker at Select Date Society, a boutique matchmaking firm.
The truth is you will never feel like the timing is right, but you need to stop making excuses and put yourself out there.
7-You were in love with a narcissist
“When your ex is a narcissist it can take a tremendous toll on you,” said Artis. It can have a lasting effect on your ability to trust people and form connections. If you have been in such a relationship, seek out resources and a good therapist to help you process what you’ve been through.
Healing is the first step to moving forward on the right foot.
8-You’re seeking perfection
Women often tell me that they won’t date men under 6′ tall. “The reality is that only 14% of the male population is 6′ tall and over, so you are eliminating the majority of men out there when you place unrealistic expectations on who you will date,” said Artis.
This is not the only way in which people can dismiss a potential partner due to that perfect ideal that exists in their head.
You are focused on the superficial instead of what truly makes a great life partner.
Of course you want to be attracted to your significant other, but is that the most important thing you’re looking for?
Do you merely want someone who looks good on your arm or do you want someone you can laugh with, someone who shares your core values, someone you can enjoy life with?
“I am sorry to break it to you, but no one is perfect,” said Kay Zane, breakup recovery coach and founder of breathehustleglow. Keep that in mind the next time you stop talking to someone because they laugh a little too loudly or you think they sneeze weirdly.
Of course, you can have expectations and things you look for in a person, but you are never going to find someone to meet all 30 requirements on your list.
Try not to judge people too quickly on dates and be sure that you have all the qualities you are demanding from someone else. “By no means am I telling you to settle, but just understand that every person you date will have some kind of flaw,” said Zane. It’s what makes us human!
9-You’re the victim of your limiting beliefs
“Limiting beliefs about love are those annoying negative thoughts that pop into your head when you think about dating or relationships,” said Kay Zane, breakup recovery coach and founder of breathehustleglow.
Maybe you don’t think there is a person out there for you so you don’t bother going on dates. And as limiting beliefs can also be traced back to low self-esteem, you may think you are unattractive or unworthy of romance so you self-sabotage your love life.
Limiting beliefs only hold you back and keep you from being open to receiving love.
The first step to overcoming your limiting beliefs is to recognize what they are! Take some time to write them down. Putting them on paper will help you concretize what the underlying issues are, rather than letting the thoughts swirl abstractly in your head. From there, you can identify what needs to be worked on.
10-You are still hurting from a previous relationship
“If you are still hurt or emotionally damaged from a previous relationship, you may find yourself too guarded to let anyone new fully into your life,” said Zane.
You may be bitter, cynical or hesitant to put yourself out there again if you are not over the heartbreak from your last relationship.
People often say that time heals all things but Zane disagrees. “Time alone will not heal your heartbreak! You may learn to cope with it over time but the pain will still be there,” said Zane.
To actually heal and let go, you have to actively put in some work. “Accept that you are still in pain and journal about how you are feeling. Hit pause on dating for a while and surround yourself with good friends and family instead,” said Zane.
Change what is in your control
While this list points out potential explanations for why some of us are still single, it also highlights what we can control. In dating, a lot of the factors of success are outside of our control and they are things we cannot change.
However, we can work on what we are able to change in order to date more confidently, and be ready for the right connection.
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