Finding someone you match well with is no easy feat. Some people seem to get chemically attached right away, and are inseparable from the very first date. Others wander through life, rarely finding that elusive second date, and never finding their OTL. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, matching and not-matching on a case by case basis.
People who fall into one of the two extremes may feel that there’s something wrong with them, or that they’re not worthy of true love. Ignore that feeling – it’s just out there to make you feel bad. It’s not that you’re not girlfriend material… It’s just that you’re doing the wrong things.
I understand this might still sound pretty negative – but I promise you, it’s not. Humans are creatures of habit, and the things that keep us doing the same thing every day can be repurposed to literally turn ourselves into anyone we want to be – but only if we want it bad enough.
When you get things right, you’ll suddenly feel that your dating life is actually effortless – because it’s not a bunch of hard work anymore. Sure, your relationships themselves will require effort, but attracting the partner you want (and deserve) isn’t work at all. But first, you’ve got to make it a habit – and that requires identifying where you go wrong.
1. You don’t know what you want out of life.
I had someone tell me once that organizing my thoughts and planning my day was a waste of time. OK, that wasn’t just one person… it was everyone I know who doesn’t have a plan for the future. Those who do have a plan have a very general plan that doesn’t intertwine every aspect of their life. We think that things are separate, and that they won’t affect any other areas of our lives. Wrong.
Everything that directly or indirectly affects you, as a person, is connected, or at least they should be if you want the greatest chance of achieving them. These goals will need to align with one another, or at least coexist with one another – and you won’t know that unless you examine them more closely.
2. You don’t have a purpose.
Please note that “purpose” and “worth” are not the same thing. The purpose we’re talking about today is your calling, that thing you were drawn to do. This purpose can fall into any facet of your life – maybe you’re drawn to be a parent, or a call center employee, or a doctor. No matter what you feel called to do, your entire life will benefit if you find that purpose and work for it.
You can find your purpose, from achieving a level of spiritual and self-awareness. This is what most people think of when they hear “find your purpose”. They refer to the art of figuring out what you want to do with your life.
But you can also create purpose for your life, by finding a way to be fulfilled with what you’re already doing. If you love your job, or your volunteer work, or even your blog full of cat pictures (hey – my Instagram is full of journal pages, no judgment here), find a way to use that part of your life to fulfill other parts of your life. Find a way to love your life with everything you have – and you’ll attract someone who loves their life just as much.
3. You don’t know what you’re looking for.
Many of us, in an effort to prevent limiting our options (or to prevent hurting other people’s feelings) neglect to evaluate the type of person they hope to see themselves with. They may believe that it’s bad to have a type, because aren’t we trying to break away from these limiting labels?
Well, yes – but having a type is helpful in deciding what you want. Your type shouldn’t be limited by things that are bound to change, such as her outer appearance, her clothing style, or her social status. But, you should have an idea of the things you want and don’t want, in terms of her personality and mannerisms. Of course there’s no such thing as a perfect fit – but you won’t know what you’re willing to look past until you know what you want.
4. You’re not trying.
It’s beautiful thinking that you’re going to run into Mrs. Right someday, right when you’re ready for love, and everything’s going to work out perfect. Maybe you order the same macchiato at the local café and when your eyes lock, it’s just heaven. I’m not going to say this never happens, but… The odds aren’t exactly in your favor.
I understand why this fantasy is so prevalent, though. No one wants to go outside of their routine. That’s part of the “creatures of habit” thing I was talking about earlier. For people who are particularly busy, it can seem next to impossible to make time to date. But if you truly don’t have the time to date, you’ll need to evaluate whether dating is worth dropping some other commitment – maybe watch less television or agree to less overtime.
We all get the same 24 hours in a day. We make time for the things that are important to us. It’s up to you to decide what that means for you.
5. You’re looking in the wrong places.
Back when I was single, I had tons of single friends pushing me to go look for a date at the bar. “Come on, most girls are there to find someone nice.” I wasn’t buying it, though. If you’re not interested in the bar scene, it wouldn’t make sense for you to try and find a date there – you’d have nothing (automatically) in common. At best, it’d be a shot in the dark.
The same is true for any place you could look. If you don’t enjoy the things you’re doing to try to attract a partner, they’re not going to become a part of who you are, and you won’t be able to keep up the appearances. Compare the things you enjoy to the things you now know about your ideal future partner (from #3, above). Where would she be, and where can you find her? It’ll still be a shot in the dark, but at least this time you’ll have a candle.
6. You don’t network.
Personally, big crowds of people are not my thing. I work much better one-on-one than I ever could dream of doing in a group. When I go out in public, I keep to myself, until a person comes up to me and talks to me. It’s not that I’m antisocial – it’s that I’m conditioned to not make the first contact. Once engaged in conversation, I’m one of the most vocal you’ll find – as long as it’s just me and you. I know there are some people who are great at chatting up a whole group, or starting the conversation with the most alluring person in the room, without any hesitation. I am not one of those people, and I don’t think I ever will be.
But, with practice, you can learn how to break out of the cycle of “wait until approached” that may be ingrained in your personality. The more introverted you are, the more difficult it’s going to be at the start, but the more rewarding it’s going to be once you’re able to network at your own command. After all, what are you going to do if you and your soul mate are both waiting for the other to act? A failure to communicate can easily wreck a relationship at any stage, even if it hasn’t begun yet.
7. You try to be someone you’re not.
This is one of the biggest offenders in cases where a person has a few successful dates, and then things go awry without any notice. (Although, usually there are signs, you just didn’t see them until after the fact.) If either of you is pretending to be the person you think will attract the person you want, without actually committing to making the changes happen, it’s going to end badly.
The person who’s pretending may completely lose their ability to maintain the image, resulting in the other partner being completely heartbroken at the revelation that it was all a lie (well-intentioned or not). In other cases, the guilt of being untrue to oneself will consume, and the person pretending won’t be able to handle it anymore. Yet another situation exists when the person resents who they’ve become for the other person, and may transfer the blame to their partner – whether their partner asked for these changes or not. (These usually happen a little further into a relationship, but not always).
It’s human nature to give someone the benefit of the doubt the first few times things don’t quite add up, especially if you’re very attracted to them – but eventually, the truth will come out. Either be the person you want to be, or don’t. Don’t dwell in the in-between.
8. You’re not flexible.
One of the most damaging things with any of these situations is when you’re not willing to adapt to things not going your way – and, in terms of a relationship (or would-be relationship), they can be devastating. After all, there is another human being involved with all decisions that face the relationship between the two of you – and for those who are used to being in control of their own ships, this can be tough to adjust to. Sometimes, things just don’t work out like they’re supposed to. But that doesn’t always mean they’re doomed. In fact, most of the time, it’s a test of your flexibility – can you adapt and survive, or will you get left behind?
Plans change, and people do, too. This means that anything you set out in life now may not be the same in ten years. How can you adequately predict what will be important to you ten or twenty years from now? Passion and perseverance go hand in hand, but it’s not always black and white as to which is in charge. You can learn to love anyone, and anything – if you give yourself enough time. Just make sure you’re not setting yourself up for unhappiness in order to achieve it.