Posted By: Kelly Seal Date: 10-09-2017 Comments: 0
We all want to find love and be happy in a relationship, right? So why does it sometimes feel so hard to accomplish? We might be thinking: I’m not meeting any good prospects, or I don’t know if this person I’m dating is right for me.
But in reality, what if we hold ourselves back from love, or at least the possibility of it?
It’s possible to find love, whether you’re cynical or not. But first, you have to identify some roadblocks getting in the way of relationship success. In honor of Halloween, I’m breaking it down into three scary ways we self-sabotage.
Mind tricks, not treats
Our minds can trick us when it comes to love. We like to second-guess our decisions, and question what could potentially go wrong based on a few observations. Unfortunately, we can talk ourselves out of a fulfilling relationship because we’re scared of what might happen, of getting our hearts broken.
It’s true there are no guarantees in life, and to fall in love means taking a chance on someone knowing it could fail. But as the old saying goes, “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Unfortunately this is easier said than done – we like guarantees that things will work out, especially when we invest our hearts!
But here’s the truth: risk is a good thing, and every relationship (no matter how it ends) teaches us something valuable about ourselves and others. These painful experiences make us stronger, and allow us to see what we truly want in the next relationship.
As author and speaker Brene Brown says, “Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
It’s time to give love a chance, and take some risks. No mind tricks, just an open heart.
Skeletons in the closet
Most of us have experienced heartbreak. But we’ve likely also inflicted pain upon others (whether we want to admit it or not). Everyone has a few skeletons in the closet, right?
Our past shapes who we are. If you have been cheated on, likely you’re not going to trust people. The same goes if you are the one doing the cheating. But successful relationships require a clean slate, trust, and vulnerability. It’s difficult to cultivate these things when you have a pattern of pushing people away because you’re scared of being betrayed. You don’t want to be vulnerable.
I have a friend who is very independent, has a successful and fulfilling career, is attractive and dates a lot. But she keeps falling for men who are needy, co-dependent, or have cheated, and is heartbroken when these relationships fail. But the problem isn’t that she’s attracting the wrong men, or that she has somehow “failed” at dating – the real problem is that she is afraid of losing her hard-won independence, and goes for men who aren’t ready for a long-term relationship.
If you suffer because you’re hiding the skeletons in the closet – whether it’s cheating, having a string of failed relationships, or whatever – I ask that you be honest with yourself. Do you want to move forward and make changes? What does a healthy relationship look like to you? I’m asking you to start fresh, and to stop repeating the same patterns.
Creative vision helps here – make a vision board, imagine what you want your life in your new relationship to look like. Write down words, cut out pictures. Think about day-to-day interactions and how you want to feel with a partner, rather than how you have felt in the past. Begin to see your life in a new way. This can help you move past your skeletons to embrace a new way of thinking.
Ghosting and being ghosted
Have you ever ghosted one of your online dates, ignoring messages and letting him/ her disappear? Or maybe you’ve been ghosted too many times to remember, and a certain amount of resentment has crept in.
Ghosting is a difficult behavior to deal with in online dating, but it’s pervasive. The key to moving past it is asking yourself: how do I want to be treated? Instead of focusing on how things have been, focus on what you can do to change.
And then take action! So many daters fall into bad habits (like ghosting) because it’s been done to them and they get cynical, so they do it to someone else without much thought. But if you start treating your dates with more respect – messaging, showing up on time, and letting them know if you’re not interested – then you will find that over time you’ll have dates that treat you in kind. The saying “you reap what you sow” is especially true in dating. So remember the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated.
There’s no reason to hold yourself back from love, not when you have tools to move forward. We are all deserving of giving and receiving love. We just have to believe that for ourselves.