Are you fed up with a dull love life that’s seriously lacking in long-term relationship potential? I think we’ve all had that phase in our lives where it seems like finding someone to settle down with is the most important thing – or, at least those of us who consider ourselves deeply romantic have. But if you’re making one of these 7 dating scene disasters, you’re probably setting yourself up to fail.
1. You’re looking too hard.
It’s been said thousands upon thousands of times, but it still rings as true as the first time it was said: You can’t find love if you’re desperate for it. When you focus your life around finding your perfect soul mate, you’re missing the chance to be the best version of yourself. In order for someone else to truly accept you for yourself, you need to lead by example.
Discovering the things you love about yourself will help you clarify the things you want your partner to like about you. Likewise, discovering the things you don’t like about yourself tells you the things you need your partner to love about you. Being a good partner isn’t about doing everything right in the relationship – it’s about being the right person for the person you find.
More than just ignoring the rest of your life, though, focusing too hard on finding the perfect girlfriend, you’re completely looking over all the great ones. It’s nice to find your soul mate, but true love has to be crafted by hand, with care – you’re not going to just happen upon the person who’s exactly what you want. That type of perfection takes years of working toward mutual goals.
2. You’re not looking hard enough.
While focusing your life around finding a girlfriend isn’t a good way to go, it’s also possible that you’re not actually looking for a girlfriend enough. Well, that is to say that you could be unconsciously avoiding all the places your dream woman spends her time. It’s been said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting a different result – are you still going to the same places you’ve never met someone before?
Human growth and development requires us to break out of our comfort zones from time to time. Whether this is something simple, like going out to the bar all by yourself, or something totally new, like hiking through the Grand Canyon with a spirit guide, you need to have some excitement in your life!
Be careful, though – if you’re going out of your way to do things you know you don’t like, just to meet someone, you’re not going to like the women you meet. The whole point of trying new things to meet someone is so that you’ll meet someone you have shared interests with. Do the things you love, and you’ll find the person you love later.
3. You’re looking in the wrong places.
We started to get into this one already, but there’s a little more to the “wrong places” than just sticking to things you enjoy. It’s also important to remember that the world is not just one big dating site, and there are people out there who aren’t looking for love or romance. If the general atmosphere of the venue doesn’t give off a “looking to mingle” sort of vibe, play it safe and stick to polite conversation.
Even if the scene is set for romantic connections, remember to be respectful of the people you talk to. It’s easy to forget that no one really owes us anything, so just because someone agrees to talk to you doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to go home with you. Remember that you have a responsibility to be the best version of yourself that you possibly can – so start making some better first impressions!
4. Your expectations are too high (or too specific).
My absolute favorite romantic movies are the ones where the couple starts off being unable to stand each other and then, over the course of the film, they start to realize that they’re madly in love with each other. The romances where they hit it off right away and get married on the third date? No, thanks – that doesn’t sound like anything that’s sustainable long-term. I want a romance that builds over the years, not just a wildfire that’s out in a few weeks.
If you expect that you’re going to find love at first sight, you’re hoping for a psychological impossibility. Although we use the word “love” to refer to the feelings we have for a person, it’s actually a description of the things we do for a person, and the specific reasons we have feelings for them. Love is so much more than just those butterflies you get when you see someone attractive.
Trust, love, and respect are all interconnected, and all three take time to develop. (There’s also a bit of chemistry and biology in play, too, but that’s another subject for another day.) If you’re dismissing the people who are truly good to you, just because they don’t sweep you off your feet, you might be throwing away your one true love. Isn’t it more important to focus on the things you need, instead of the things you want?
5. You don’t know what you’re looking for.
Obviously, too specific of goals makes it really difficult to find what you’re looking for. However, too general of goals are also bad, because you won’t have the right framework to judge your potential future partners against. Remember, this isn’t about how they compare to your ex – it’s about how they compare to your strengths and weaknesses.
All too often, we think we want someone just like us, because we figure we’ll get along pretty well. But when we talk to people who are like us, we don’t really find them attractive, or they annoy us to an unreasonable extent. Then, we get frustrated because we end up falling for someone who’s our total opposite – and then we can’t stand actually being with them.
Instead, we should focus on someone who complements us without trying to change us. Your perfect match is the person whose strengths make up for your weaknesses, and whose interests complement yours. When someone says that they’re looking for someone to complete them, what they probably don’t realize they mean is that they need someone who helps fill in their loose edges. For example, I tend to be more analytical, but I’m most drawn to people who are spontaneous. It’s about finding the person who will bring balance into your life.
6. You don’t care about your appearance.
Everyone wants to think that they’re not so shallow that they form opinions based on external appearances. While most people can look past a bad first impression and get to know someone before they decide anything, that doesn’t change the fact that first impressions are usually very shallow. We all make subconscious judgments about people based on the way they look or act, even if we don’t use these judgments for any specific purpose.
If you’re trying to give yourself the best chance of finding love, you’ll need to actually pay attention to the way you present yourself. We’re not necessarily talking about being fashionable – although that certainly is an option – but do take care that your clothes are presentable and comfortable to you. Wearing clothes that aren’t really your style will make you appear less confident and possibly even insecure – not really a great combo for picking up a date!
Thankfully, you can look good without making it your sole purpose in life. Take some time to get comfortable with the things you wear, and get rid of anything that’s in bad shape or that doesn’t make you feel confident. If you wear makeup to impress others, even though you don’t really enjoy it, stop! Your appearance is more about doing the right things for your personal satisfaction, and finding a partner who embraces your unique style.
7. You don’t pay enough attention to your personal hygiene.
Believe it or not, as important as your appearance and presentation are, the way you smell is probably more important. We know that we should shower regularly, wash our clothes, and brush our teeth – but is that really all you should be doing? Unless you’re paying attention to the finer details of your self-care routine, too, you’re probably still not making the best first impressions. You want to smell good, without being overpowering – and it’s a very fine line, trust me.
Some women like to choose a “signature product line” that they think complements them well. This could be something as simple as a consistent shampoo, conditioner, and body wash combination, or it could be as complicated as 42 carefully-chosen products that work together to turn you from a self-proclaimed 7 to an absolute knockout. Other women prefer to collect a number of products and use them as they feel appropriate. (Personally, I have perfumes that are dedicated to go with certain outfits – don’t judge me.)
Whatever your personal product choices might be, you should take care to be clean and good-smelling, while avoiding any strong scents that can aggravate allergies. As someone who is allergic to a lot of smells, I’m acutely aware of how much of an impact smells can have. While you can’t really anticipate sensitivities, try to make sure your scents are subtle enough that you can give her air if she needs it – and, if you get a date, try not to wear that scent around her again.