When you're looking for love and having trouble finding it, it's easy to look at yourself in a harsh light, or to think you're somehow unlovable. The truth is, there are reasons you're still single (if you would like to be in a relationship) that have nothing to do with you. And even the reasons that are about you have nothing to do with your worth. I can tell you without having ever met you that you're a beautiful mermaid who any person would be lucky to lock down. I mean, you're really great, and you have to know that. Facts.
As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I've seen the ways people settle for bad relationships because they're worried they'll never find anyone else. So if you're single, and wondering why, you can feel empowered about not settling for something that isn't right for you. And while you're waiting for your perfect person to come around, you can work on any of the following issues that you might have in your life and find ways to love yourself on a whole new level. From my experience, there's a lid for every pot.
1. Your Circle Is Too Small
Everywhere you go and everything you do involves the same people, and you can't or wouldn't (or already have) date any of them. That can be a real problem. You need to meet new people and go to new places from time to time. You'd be surprised how much making just one new friend can open up a whole new world. And maybe that new world is where your true love is waiting for you.
2. You're All Goals, All The Time
Get it! No, seriously. Sometimes being a fierce, goals-oriented boss means you make sacrifices in your personal life. You might be in a place where you can re-think your priorities and make more time for relationships. But if you're not, you will be at some point. And that's totally OK. Because when you're ready, or when you have more time, you'll be an independent person who knows what they want. And that's hot.
3. You're Confidence Isn't On Point
This is a clear example of why confidence, self-esteem, and body positivity are so much more than just fodder for memes and inspirational Instagram posts. When you lack confidence and self-esteem, it literally negatively impacts every aspect of you life. You're less likely to go after the things you want, and you're more likely to think you don't deserve the things that you do get. This goes for relationships, too. Plus, people can tell when you're confident, and when you're not. And trust me, confidence is totally sexy.
4. You're In A Geographic Dead Zone
Small towns suck sometimes for this very reason. There comes a point when you've dated your way through everyone in town that you would even think about considering. Or maybe there's no one in your tiny corner of the world who stands a chance. You can go online, get some dating apps, and visit hot spots in neighboring towns, but the bottom line is that you're going to have to put in some miles.
5. You're Scared Of Dating Apps
Maybe it's just me, because I'm in that weird place where I'm too old to be a true millennial and too young to be a true Generation X member. But dating apps scare me. And what about those less formal, more hookup-oriented apps? Aren't you worried about serial killers? Me too. So that could be part of your problem. Because that's how a lot of dating happens these days. Maybe start out slow, with an older, more basic dating site, then wade carefully toward the newer apps? Ease into things, and it might not seem so terrifying.
6. You Covet The Unattainable
Do you only ever crush on people you have no chance of being with? Married people? Your boss? Emotionally unavailable types who don't want to be tied down? Your bestie's most recent ex? That person from four cubes over who doesn't know you're alive? Take a good hard look at the people you crush on and see if it's less that you have real feelings and more of a defense mechanism to protect you from getting into something serious. Fear can play all kinds of tricks on the heart.
7. All Your Exes Are Fictional Characters
I'm not trying to rain on anyone's fandom here, but I can say that I have seen a decent number of people who like their personal connections to be with fictional characters. And duh. Who wouldn't? But like all things, you must find balance. If you fandoms are your whole life, you might be setting up some unrealistic expectations for people you could potentially date. Or you could be protecting yourself from getting hurt by being in a real relationship. Again, balance.
8. You're Oblivious To Flirting
Everywhere we go, at least one person is checking out my wife, and she never, ever notices it. Maybe you're the same. Maybe you're not paying attention, maybe you're not confident enough to think people are flirting with you, or maybe you're just genuinely clueless. This is a good time to tap into your squad and ask them to clue you in when someone's winking at you, but you're pretty sure they're just having contact problems. Also, do people really wink at each other? Seems creepy now that I type it. But you get the idea.
9. You're Cut Off
Headphones everywhere you go? Deep in your phone when you have a half second to yourself? Hoodie up like a force field? I get it. I'm an introvert for days, and if there's a way to prevent strangers from talking to me, I'm all over it. The downside to that, of course, is that strangers are probable not going to talk to you. Interacting with people in the real world is often the key to those random, serendipitous connections that lead to love.
10. It's Just Not Your Time Yet
I don't know if you believe in fate and destiny and all that, but maybe you're destined to meet the person of your dreams later on. Maybe there's a grand plan that just hasn't emerged yet. Maybe you need to be healthier, or more stable, or more independent, and the Universe actually has your back by not giving you your person too soon. For many of us, life is long, and each decade is like a totally new world of experiences. And sometimes what feels terrible now, you one day realize, was the best thing for you.
All you can do is keep striving to be your best self, putting yourself out there, and trusting that love will find you. And I'm pretty sure it will.
Images: Pixabay (12)