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I Can’t Find Love; What am I doing wrong?

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It’s impossible! No matter what I do, I can’t find love! If it weren’t for my plants not having legs, they’d up and run away on me, too! What am I doing wrong?! Sound familiar? Despite being possibly a bit over-dramatic (my cactus thinks so), it is a question brought up more often than not when we are feeling lonely or out of sorts. This desire to long for another to call our partner, to run to and find comfort in because life, yea, is hard and facing it alone feels hopeless. But what if I told you that the solution isn’t so much about what you’re doing wrong, but what your thinking has formulated. Yes, thank your brain for this one!

Sweet! Let’s meet the first contestant!

People don’t accept me for me!

Ladies and gentlemen, first up is this fine piece of dating thinking; nobody accepts me for me!

We humans are judgmental! Don’t act like you’re above this; seriously, stop it. It’s okay, deep breaths. Better? Good.

It’s innate in our instincts to assess situations, environments, people, emotions and all sorts of inbetweens. It’s how we survived and is very basic; it’s not about positive or negative, just a part of our response system in any given situation.

Another deep breath annnnd…sometimes we ourselves are the problem. I know, how could this perfect specimen that is ourselves possibly ever be an issue? Despite this overall perfection, self-reflection is important; would you want a relationship with you? I don’t say that to diminish who you are, I say that to remind you that you yourself may not be ready for a relationship.

The issue isn’t accepting you for you; it’s the issue of what comes with accepting you for you. If you haven’t taken time to heal, the pain will carry over and sabotage most efforts at a healthy relationship; issues like jealousy, distrust, and general paranoia work against you. The healthiest relationship you need to have before venturing into the lives of others is one with yourself; if you can’t say you do then you have to begin here.

On the other side of the spectrum is the physical element; just because you chase something doesn’t mean you are entitled to it. Attraction is important and everyone has their own unique view of what they deem desirable. It’s not about fair; it’s about respecting a person’s right to be satisfied in their own choices, the same way you should be respected for yours. Someone can love you and not find you sexually attractive; why is this so often interpreted as some act of villainy rather than someone simply feeling the way they do?

For the most part, if you can accept you for you, the rest will follow. Understanding what makes you happy, what upsets you, what you need and what gives you satisfaction in life weeds out those not on the same agenda. If you want children, make this a topic and keep your interest in those who feel the same; if you feel that being with someone gives you more happiness than having children, then commit to that and them. That is you accepting another human being, as they accept you; it is sincere and honest. Plotting to change a person’s point of view or expecting them to compromise on major life choices is unfair, and will inevitably lead to conflict.

Whatever this “me for me,” is, it’s a standard and expectation; you owe it to yourself to be happy and enjoy a healthy relationship. And maybe that will take a bit of time to find that person that is the right fit for you, but quality is more important than quantity and you owe it to yourself to be as celebrated in love as the person you shower with your affection.

Everybody is the same!

Next up is this wonderful specimen, and while it feels so real — it’s highly unlikely.

Billions of people walk the earth and they are all the same! How absurd does that sound in retrospect? What doesn’t sound absurd is our ability to cycle in the choices we make despite all that experience in knowing the results. We are habitual creatures and have to be active participants in our lives if we’re to begin addressing it.

You have a type, it may be broader than others, but it still is a type. Have you ever asked yourself if that type works for you? For example, I love highly confident (downright cocky) men; they are best suited for my personality type which can be more blunt, sarcastic, and defiant. To be with me requires a backbone, even my humor could be misconstrued as hurtful despite no intention to do so — I find humor in everything, it’s also my nervous coping mechanism. Someone highly sensitive with a more serious personality would require me to not be me or find myself constantly apologizing, two conditions I refuse to live by. I also love tattoos and mediterranean features, but if the person can’t vibe with me then there’s no point in going forward simply because I’m physically attracted. We would both find ourselves unhappy unless we were willing to change who we are and adjust to each other, which is a possibility but not always guaranteed.

Your type has to mesh with you, bottom line. And by type, emotional aspects need to come first. You may love the wild and free type, but if you want to “secure and dependable,” then you need that condition to come first. There are wild and free types who also seek out a secure and dependable base; they want to be wild and free, but not alone. Maybe you are incredibly attracted to someone, but their actions are a bit flaky and confusing; if you continue to pursue them, you are bringing that condition with you.

Think of it this way; you can love peanut butter, like me who may or may not spend twenty some bucks on Reeces ultimate peanut butter lovers in bulk as well as covet my jars of peanut butter, but if someone saturated them in urine — no amount of washing it all off will appeal to my desire to eat said items. Yet when it comes to relationships, this is often what we do — we attempt to rinse things in an effort to make something good enough rather than wait for something that takes less effort to feel confident in digesting.

Knowing what you need is more important than knowing what you want, and knowing what you want and are willing to sacrifice for that want is an equally distributed weight in the formula of a happy relationship. If you feel everyone you meet is coming up with the same results, you’ve just been looking at the same wall over and over again and expecting different results.

I’m always friend zoned or ghosted!

Naturally on the list is our dear old friend, wheredyago!

You go on a few dates, exchange texts for a period of time and everything seems great until it comes to a complete halt. It happens and without any feedback, you can’t really seem to understand the why in the matter.

There are multiple reasons here, but most of the time it simply falls back on the person losing interest. Go on, rip the bandaid off right now as it makes life easier to simply accept the current situation and focus instead on how to better improve our choices so this happens less often.

The line between what we want and are willing to conditionally sacrifice can get blurry, oftentimes we mistrusted our instincts and took a chance. Don’t beat yourself up about the results that happened, it just did and it is what it is. It’s easy to get caught up in our own feelings and assume the other feels the same way, often missing out on the signs not because they weren’t there but because we were blinded by our own doing.

A good rule of thumb is paying attention and challenging yourself to recognize the difference between your feelings and the actual situation. Someone who is interested in you will invest in you based on your expectations. Someone looking for a long term partner will find actions responsive to it; daily messaging, openness to sharing their life and feelings, making plans, etc. There will be consistency. Whereas if you’re seeking something less serious, you’d expect more space and there would be equally less attention and investment involved.

If you’re seeking a long term relationship and the other person isn’t making an effort to reach out to you, it’s a good sign already their interest is elsewhere. That’s not to say the same person wouldn’t involve themselves sexually with you or go on a date with you, but it doesn’t change their investment to you overall. Their intentions are written clearly in their actions, you either accept the situation or move on to someone who is seeking the same as you. You have to be honest with yourself as not everyone will be honest with us, but their actions are always telling.

This can also redirect back to that “me for me,” situation; perhaps, you have been overly attentive or demanding which could be seen as a deal breaker for some. On the same note, maybe you’ve been the one distant and less engaged. We have our own personal comfort zones and styles of expressing them, so easily we are able to autopilot and forget not everyone relates the same.

Being able to identify another’s feelings may feel impossible for some, but it’s not too complicated once you remove yourself from the equation. If a friend ran a scenario by you where they said they’ve been talking to this person and they are great, but don’t message often or attempt to make/commit to plans. You would naturally tell that friend to step back as the person doesn’t seem interested, or in the very least dependable. In situations you find confusing, hypothetically remove yourself from the scenario and review it the same way you would for someone you care about. Using logic doesn’t make the answer any easier, but it is more telling.

I don’t know what I want

Last up on the agenda is the I don’t knowers; be it you or them.

Not knowing what you want while jumping in head first will be conflicting for all parties involved; it’s a bit like knowing what works for you, but adding your intent into the whole. Flexibility is good as our wants and needs change with us, but ultimately you should have a general idea.

If you’re dedicated to your career and want this to be your main focus, a relationship will fall behind that and any other priorities you place in front of it. You have to apply what is realistic for your situation with time and ability to cater to another’s needs while still serving your own, and be honest about it. It’s not fair to engage someone, giving them false hopes or leading them in one direction while you have no intent of following.

On the same note. If you’re dealing with someone who states they are not ready for a relationship then you need to believe them. You could be waiting around for a long time, passing up on people who would be great matches for you or even worse find that after all that time, they end up finding someone else that changes their mind.

Some people may manipulate this situation to their benefit, stringing you along with promises and affirmations that make you feel secure; travel back to your standards and expectations, remember if you accept something then you have to accept whatever outcome it may produce. Is that person’s behavior justified? No, but I don’t chase rattlesnakes attempting to hug them, as much as I’d love to hug them, because I realize they will most likely attack me. My intentions were good, but I won’t argue or demand it understand those intentions; it’s a rattlesnake, not Sigmund the all understanding snake of empathy and telepathy. Some people are just who they are and the sooner we learn to accept that, the sooner we are able to accept that we are responsible for the results of our actions — not theirs.

What’s next?

While relationships and finding love is certainly more complex than our few lucky contestants on stage today, they are fundamental building blocks to the why and how we find ourselves confused or unable to connect with others in a meaningful way.

I always find that the more we understand ourselves, the more that self is able to move forward no matter the goal or agenda; the best relationship is with yourself first, the rest follows. Wherever you are on your journey, I’m positive there will be many great experiences ahead of you and the more you practice knowing and loving yourself, the more you’ll come to find you know exactly what you’re doing.

Originally posted on Medium 3/2021

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