Does your love life read more like a Stephen King novel than a Nicholas Sparks novel? If so, it might be time to employ some strategies anyone can do to have a better love life. Not because having a great love life is the only thing in the world that matters, but because if and when you do decide to be with someone, you want it to be an exciting, romantic, fun time, not something you cringe over when you're talking to your therapist.
As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I've seen my share of people who just seem to have the worst luck imaginable when it came to their love lives. And for most of these people, the common denominator was that they had some changes they needed to make within themselves. That's right. The string of crappy dates and loser exes wasn't the problem. The problem was the self-esteem that let crappy relationships go on too long, or the lack of communication skills that meant neither partner got everything they needed from each other.
Try: Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem , $12, Amazon
Relationships are hard work, that's for sure. And you can't do that hard work successfully until you've done the hard work of having the best possible relationship with yourself. Like RuPaul says, "If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?"
Check out these things anyone can do to have a better love life. They'll help you be your best self so you can have your best life, including your best love life.
1. Get To Know Yourself
Your first love should always be yourself. If you don't have a firm grasp of who you are, then you won't have a firm grasp of what you want, what you deserve, and what's not right for you. Sometimes you just have to be single, and do you for awhile, until you figure out your life. Then you'll be in a good place to find someone who adds to your life, rather than someone who fills a void.
Try: Know Yourself: A Woman's Guide to Wholeness, Radiance, and Supreme Confidence , $9.99, Amazon
2. Exterminate Your Ghosts
If you want to be in a healthy, fulfilling relationship with someone, you need to unpack your baggage. Hurtful exes, painful childhoods... all that kind of stuff will come back to haunt you the second you're happy with your new boo. Sometimes this just takes time. Sometimes it takes soul searching and releasing the past. And sometimes it takes therapy. Whatever you need to do, do it.
3. Be Open And Honest
Sometimes we get tired of being single, and we meet someone we really like, and for some odd reason, we're not totally ourselves. Why is that? If you're open and honest in all things, including your love life, you might meet a few people who aren't right for you, but in the end, you'll end up with someone who is way better for you than you could have imagined. Do you, and let anyone who doesn't appreciate that walk away.
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4. Meet Better People
If your love life sucks, maybe it's because you're working the same old circles of people who suck. You need something new. Some fresh fish for your proverbial tank. If you do new things and make new friends, you could stumble upon a crop of future lovers that are much better than the ones in your past. If nothing else, you could make some killer new friends and have much more interesting weekends. That's always a plus.
5. Become More Interesting
Maybe you're one of the same boring people in the same boring circle of friends. If you improve yourself, take on some new hobbies, learn some new skills, or travel, you'll be the kind of interesting person you'd want to meet. No one can resist something new, and if you're the something new, you'll be the irresistible one. This could be as complex as taking a vacation to India, or as simple as getting drinks one town over.
6. Explore How You Communicate
A lackluster love life may be the crop you've sown because you didn't know any better. If you have poor communication skills, don't deal with conflict, don't set boundaries, and don't have healthy self-esteem, you probably aren't getting with the best partners, and you're probably not having the healthiest relationships. Some good self-help books and a kick butt therapist could be the thing that turns your love life around.
Try: How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving , $10, Amazon
7. Never Settle
Maybe you don't have the best track record because you haven't demanded the best from your partners. Settling for someone who isn't everything you want, who doesn't treat you well, who is boring, or who you just don't feel much chemistry with, then doing it all over again when things fail, is a common recipe for a crappy love life. If you want things to improve, you have to expect better from the people you love, and let go of the ones who can't rise to the challenge. You deserve it.
Finding out that many of the changes start with you might not be what you were hoping to hear about how to improve your love life, but it's the truthiest truth there is.
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