Editorial By: Jocelyn Drawhorn
If you’re like millions of other singles in America, you spend most of your time working or going on endless dates wondering what you’re missing when it comes to understanding love. It seems like every week one of your old high school classmates is announcing an engagement or posting the clever hashtag to complement their recent outlandish wedding in the Bahamas – and you – you’re just trying to find someone who likes the same food as you.
So what’s the problem? Why is it that some of us can’t seem to get it right when it comes to finding love instead of heartbreak? Here are ten negative habits that can trap you in an unhappy cycle of failed relationships.
1. Expecting More Than You’re Willing To Give
It’s virtually impossible to escape heartbreak when you date from a selfish heart. You know…you refuse to work, you don’t know how to clean, and you’re jealous; yet want a mate who makes six-figures, knows karate, and is a 5-star chef! In love, you cannot take without giving.
You must remember, in the same way, you have qualities you look for in a mate, the person you’re dating has their own preferences! If you want quality, you need to give quality.
2. Forgiving Too Much and Not Forgetting Enough
We’ve heard it said a zillion times, “forgive and forget.” That saying is only half true when it comes to love. While forgiveness is vital to our emotional and spiritual health, we must be careful not to FORGET what we’ve been through. Too many times, people excuse toxic dating behavior in the name of “forgiveness” and place themselves back into volatile situations (ie/serial cheating, verbal abuse, domestic violence).
Forgiving someone does not mean you have to keep going back into a physically or emotionally dangerous relationship. True forgiveness is recognizing that a person is not good for you and being able to step away from them in good conscience. #nobaggage
3. Surrounding Yourself With “Yes” Friends
Friends are not your friends if they agree with EVERYTHING you say or do. Many of us find ourselves alone or in terrible relationships because our circle of friends is more like an “amen corner”. There are some friends who neglect to tell us “the truth” about ourselves because they don’t want to be mean.
If a woman tends to go for ‘bad guys’, but her friends don’t tell her about herself, she’s going to stay stuck in the cycle of heartbreak. If a man has an issue with remaining faithful or dating women who are only focused on money, his friends are not his friends if they don’t check him on it.
No one is perfect, so we need to surround ourselves with people who aren’t afraid to dish out tough love if we need it…our dating lives will be better for it in the end.
4. Pretending That You Don’t Have Feelings
Who has bragged on their “fallback game”?! Don’t everyone raise your proverbial hands at once. True love can only be cultivated if you are willing to INVEST your emotions. It’s a risk, but there is NO WAY on earth you will be able to stop failing at finding love if you constantly pretend that you don’t have feelings.
Numbing yourself to “getting too close” just in case the relationship falls apart will do nothing more than deepening commitment issues within yourself. It’s okay to feel.
It shows you’re human. It’s okay to fall a few times, as long as you learn from your bad experiences instead of allowing them to suppress your ability to give/receive love.
5. Being Too Available
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is such a thing as being “too” available. If every other Facebook status you post says something about how you wish you could find love (in hopes that someone will see it and find you dateable) you’re being too available. If you hit on everything with a pulse walking by, you’re being too available.
It is true that you want to make sure you’re visible in the dating world, but if making yourself available consumes almost every waking hour of life and dictates everything you say or do, you actually make yourself more unattractive.
Learn to adopt some balance. Give a little, then allow the other person to respond. If they want you, they’ll make it known without you having to throw yourself out in front of their car.
6. Entertaining Casual Sex and Whatever-ships
You’re kind of dating because you’re having sex, but not really dating because you don’t have a committed title. Whether we’ve been in one or merely witnessed one unfold online, we’re all pretty familiar with the classic whatever-ship.
It generally comes into existence when two people hook up and then awkwardly try to figure out what is and isn’t tolerable in a relationship where there is no real commitment. Casual sex is a great way to get your heartbroken.
When you start off your “relationship” with no solid boundaries and no real commitment, it’s easy to wiggle out of the commitments that normally come with love. You know like fidelity, quality time, public outings, meeting the parents, dating for marriage. Entertaining hook-ups is messy and complicates the dating process.
If you’re into casual sex or are currently involved in a few situation-ships and STILL wonder why your love life is in shambles … do yourself a favor and cut it out! Take some time to truly be single (without the casual hookups) and wait for a man/woman who is willing to commit and grow with you.
7. Ignoring Your “Conscience”
This is pretty much self-explanatory. We all have that urging feeling when something is “not right” or “off” about a person or situation. LISTEN TO IT! So many times, we allow outside forces to talk us out of our better judgment because we don’t want to appear paranoid, but if your gut is gnawing at you that something is off … chances are it’s off. Listen, act accordingly, and save yourself.
8. Overanalyzing Everything
Overthinking every detail only comes in handy when you’re planning a multi-million dollar corporate event. Other than that, it serves no real purpose other than depleting your confidence in your decision-making skills. When on the dating journey, you will always have one foot in the present and one foot in the realm of the unknown.
Overanalyzing everything, trying to calculate how to guess the future is futile and stressful. If a man tells you that you look nice – chances are you actually look nice. He’s not thirsty or coming at you with a secret “smash and dash” agenda.
If the woman you’re dating calls you to let you know she’s at a family function so she’ll have to call you tomorrow – chances are she’s not cheating on you, but actually, wants to spend quality time with her family.
The fact that she has less time for you today doesn’t mean you did something wrong. Overanalyzing a person’s every move or statement can lead to a state of unrealistic fear and actually cause you to mess up a good thing. No one wants to be picked apart every second of every minute. Breathe. Relax. Trust that everyone doesn’t have an agenda; some people say and do what they mean.
9. Fearing Commitment
The fear of commitment is one of the biggest reasons some people can’t find love. Love requires commitment – annoying quirks and all. A person who operates out of a fear of commitment will never allow themselves to get close enough to another in order to experience the emotional intimacy that comes with falling in love.
If you fear commitment and irrationally dread that there is “something better” out there for you, you may as well be single for life. NEWSFLASH: there will always be someone with more money and better looks walking around this planet, but true love happens when you are willing to accept someone with their flaws and all. Them and only them.
If you talk to any married couple who has been married longer than 10 years, you will find the common truth that loving someone is work. You won’t like everything they do or every outfit they wear, but if you’re willing to accept their quirks and refuse to risk their trust for what appears to be an “upgraded version”, you will find yourself happily fulfilled.
There will be no room for fear of commitment because you will learn, over time, that while love is risky business, the risk is so worth it in the end.