Some people are still single because that’s their choice. For example, maybe they’re not interested in a serious commitment. Others are single because of life circumstances. For example, they may be newly single from a previous relationship and aren’t ready to move on to another. Or, maybe they’ve dated several people over time and are still searching for that one person with whom they’re genuinely compatible.
When it comes to relationships, it’s challenging to feel like you aren’t the victim. It’s true, people can be cruel, and you’ll get hurt, and no, it isn’t your fault every time. However, the reality is that we hold more control over our relationship destiny than we believe. Therefore, we must focus on the positive rather than seeing ourselves as victims. Take power over your life and become aware of what is controllable and what is out of your hands.
So, if you’re single but looking to get involved in a relationship, search within to find out why you have yet to find your true love.
1). You Choose to Stay Single
Not everyone wants a relationship. Often, people have waded through the dating pool just enough to see that it’s not what they want. For instance, if you’ve been cheated on or been in a domestic abuse relationship, you pull back and refrain from dating for your personal health.
2). Unhealthy Attraction
Sometimes you choose the wrong relationship partners when you act on your defenses. When this happens, you can establish an unhealthy relationship by choosing someone who isn’t available emotionally.
You fail to recognize you’re even doing it, so you often blame your partner for the relationship’s failures. You become devasted by the numerous rejections without understanding that you are seeking that pattern.
We do this for complex reasons, often based on fears of intimacy. Some people have an unconscious need to search for relationships that “reinforce critical thoughts they have had toward themselves,” according to PsychAlive.
3). Standards Are Way Too High
The person with extra high standards expects their prince to ride in on a white horse and save them from a mundane life. Or, it’s the person looking for someone akin to Malibu Barbie (or Ken), and anything less won’t do.
Typically, these are people that serial date, never settling on one person. They complain that if they could take one person’s personality and switch it with one that looks like their preference, they’d have the perfect partner. Plus, if they don’t always feel butterflies when they’re with them, then they aren’t The One. If this is you, your standards are too high.
Unfortunately, Hollywood Romcoms always end with the boy-and-girl-getting together perfect ending. However, they need to show the relationship after the credits have rolled. (When Jill smacks Jack, pissed off at him for leaving the toilet seat up for the millionth time.) Believing in a fairytale relationship standard has detrimental results for people searching for this type of connection.
I mean, c’mon, is it really true love if your boyfriend doesn’t stand underneath your bedroom window holding up a boombox and blaring out a song that declares his undying love for you? If you expect this type of behavior from your partner, good luck!
Start setting realistic expectations in your relationship. Why? Because it’s healthy and an absolute necessity if you want to find a long-term relationship. You’ll never be satisfied if you fault someone for not being the perfect Romcom movie version of themselves.
3 Must-Haves When Setting Standards for a Relationship
Must Be Independent
I once dated a guy that lived at home with his mother, had a child, and didn’t have a car. So when I came into the picture, he was ecstatic because here I was; I had a steady job, no kids, my own car, and an apartment.
As the relationship progressed, he spent more time at my place because it made it easier to drive him around in my car all the time. But, in the end, I was tired of being a chauffeur for him and his kid, and the relationship ended after several months.
Being independent shows you what type of person they are and whether or not they settle or have ambition. Are they stable? Can they pay their bills, or do they have to rely on you to help them out? Of course, it’s OK to ask for help here and there, but consistently depending on you is a turnoff.
Must Have Core Values Similar to Yours
If you are a career-driven person who highly values monetary gains and status, you need someone who feels the same. On the other hand, if you are a person that enjoys hanging out with the family and wishes to start your own, the individual you choose should have the same desires.
What do you expect out of the relationship? For example, if you are looking for a monogamous partner, they should be searching for the same, or else the relationship won’t work.
By the same token, if you meet someone who expects you to cook and clean up after them, and you prefer someone more independent, the relationship will ultimately fail.
Similar values determine whether you get along in your relationship or bump heads. Having a few differences won’t necessarily kill the relationship. It’s when those minor differences cross over into daily life that causes the issues.
Must Be Respectful and Treat You Well
If this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve dated a few people, you know what you like and don’t like regarding how they treat you.
For instance, My first boyfriend I dated for several years. We fought a lot, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was emotionally abusive. I learned how disrespectful my ex was when we broke up, and I got into another relationship.
As I progressed in relationships, I recognized what I wanted and didn’t want. I knew how I expected him to treat me; if he took issue with that, I would move on.
Often, people feel wounded by previous relationships. After some time, dealing with painful experiences may create varying degrees of hurt and bitterness, which leads to becoming defensive.
This process begins long before we start dating–usually in childhood when bitter interactions cause us to put up walls. So often, we see the world through a negative filter that impacts us as we get older.
As adults, we become more self-protective and closed off to others. As a result, we avoid being too vulnerable in adult relationships and quickly write off others.
For example, if you were raised by adults (parents or guardians) who were cold or negligent toward you, you can grow up feeling abandoned and distrustful of those who demonstrate too much affection. When this happens, you may choose a partner that recreates the dynamics from your history. You choose people who are distant and cold, just as your parents or guardians were.
As a result, you figure the reason why you’re single is because of external factors. But, in actuality, you fail to see that you aren’t as open as you think.
5). You Had a Broken Heart
A broken heart is a common theme amongst singles. Maybe you were cheated on or unceremoniously dumped, so rather than risk going through that again, you’d much rather stay single. Sometimes, it feels much safer to guard your heart than to risk falling in love again.
This may seem like a short-term solution, but it could leave you bitter and lonely later in life. While having your heart broken hurts, eventually, you will want to have a long-term partner again. Trust that there are better people out there for you who are ready to love and respect you the way they should.
It’s always rough after a bad breakup. So, take time to heal properly. Every relationship is a learning experience, so take that knowledge into a future connection.
5 Tips to Mend a Broken Heart
1). Take Time to Mourn the Loss
Consider the breakup as a grieving process. Take your time before attempting to find someone new. The best thing to do is to honor and not judge how you feel.
2). Make a List of Your Positive Aspects
People can sometimes blame themselves, thinking they aren’t pretty enough or independent enough. Stop judging yourself and start listing your positive qualities during your relationship. For instance, write down things like:
- I made him breakfast every morning
- I picked up her dry cleaning every Tuesday
- I gave him massages when he came home tired
- I constantly reminded her about her family’s birthdays so she wouldn’t forget
If it hurts to think about the relationship, use affirmations like:
- I am enough
- I am not my mistakes
- There are no wrong decisions or regrets
3). Find Another Source of Joy
Your partner may have been a big part of your happiness, and now they’re gone. Or the things that used to bring you peace were put on hold during your old relationship. It’s time for self-discovery to do what you used to love or find other sources of joy.
Now that you’re single, you may be more open to trying new things, like joining groups and doing new activities. It’s time to experience all that you never have before.
If that’s too much, just do something. Anything. Even if it’s simply meeting your friend for lunch. You’ll feel much better getting out than if you had stayed home.
4). It’s OK to Think About Your Ex
Don’t force yourself to stop thinking about your ex and then beat yourself up when you can’t. Thoughts about your ex will arise, and when they do, take a breath and acknowledge them. Then, instead of holding them back, experience them and let them go.
This does not mean obsessing over your ex and wondering what they’re doing right now. This also doesn’t include sorting through old photos and tormenting yourself, remembering how much fun you used to have.
Instead, acknowledge the fleeting thoughts you have as you ride your bike. For example, “This is the trail Ian and I used to ride on.” Once you recognize and accept the thought, keep it moving down the trail and in your mind.
5). Use Movement and Exercise as a Relief
Research indicates that exercise can help reduce stress because it can be used as a healthy way to manage sadness and anxiety. For example, a bike ride or walk are ways to incorporate exercise into a daily routine, especially when you feel stressed out about a breakup.
However, avoid activities that are reminders of your ex. For example, if you and your ex used to bike ride through the park, this activity isn’t the best idea. Instead, try something new, like a yoga or aerobics class.
6). You Choose the Wrong Partners
We all have a type. For example, I have a friend who has been single for years and can’t figure out why. But every time we go out, she makes a beeline for the same type of guy she’s attracted to. By mid-conversation, she realizes she’s talking to a carbon copy of her ex.
She knows her type is wrong for her, but she does it anyway. Research says that people gravitate to others who look like their exes because they are so pained by the breakup that choosing a replica of the past will make that pain disappear.
It may at first, but they eventually realize their error. Then, they find themselves right back at square one and searching for someone new.
In most cases, you’re not still in love with your ex. But you had a certain comfort when you dated him, and that’s what you’re looking for again. It’s common. To stop doing this, try two things:
- Ask your friends to set you up. This way, they’ll choose someone who isn’t your usual type and may be a better fit for you.
- Try a dating site. Instead of going for the person whom you’d typically date, try someone outside the box for a different, and possibly better, experience.
The Universe isn’t out to get you. You are single because of some of the choices you make, consciously and subconsciously. Sure, some things happen that are out of your control. But if you have chronically recurring issues in your dating life, it may be time to start evaluating why.
So, before jumping into your next dating experience, figure out who you are and what you’re searching for in a relationship. Eventually, you will find the right one.