Why Can't I Let Love In? 8 Signs You May Not Be Open To Connection, According To Experts
Whether you're in a committed relationship or are still looking for the special person you want to share your life with, it can sometimes be hard to know if you're fully open to receiving love. Maybe you find yourself consistently pushing away potential partners, or can't quite seem to accept the fact that your long-term partner genuinely loves you. Whatever your case, a few subtle signs can help show you whether you're really open, or if you have a little bit of work to do to get to that place, according to experts.
If you do realize that you aren't as open to love as you'd like to be, take some time to do some self-reflection. "Figure out what you want and what you need in a relationship," Dr. Candice Cooper-Lovett, PhD, LMFT, a sex therapist, lead therapist, and owner of A New Creation Psychotherapy Services, tells Bustle. "Most of us do not know what our wants and needs are, and find ourselves in situations where we are not getting what we need nor deserve," she says. "We must teach people how to treat us." This might mean that you can help guide your partner to specific ways of showing love that really resonate with you, like sweet notes, cuddle sessions, or spending quality time together.
Here are some signs that you aren't fully open to receiving love, according to experts.
1. You Aren't Willing To Compromise
It's definitely not unusual to have certain dealbreakers when it comes to finding a partner. Maybe you don't feel comfortable dating someone with a specific political stance or someone with certain relationship values. But if you aren't willing to compromise when it comes to smaller issues, that might be a sign that you aren't fully open to receiving love, Cooper-Lovett says. In a healthy partnership, you should still be able to make your own choices, but being in a committed relationship might mean that you have to let a partner's whistling habit slide or agree not to keep peanut products in the house if they have a serious allergy.
2. You Only Date Casually
If you find yourself being attracted to people who just want to hookup and don't want anything serious, you probably aren't fully open to receiving romantic love, Cooper-Lovett says. Of course, it's totally fine if you don't want a committed relationship, but if you do, dating people who want to keep things very low-key probably won't give you the love you want. "This may be a conscious or unconscious process," she says. If this sounds familiar to you, take a moment to ask yourself whether you're hoping to find love from people who are clear that this is not what they're looking for. If so, consider being more upfront with future partners about what you want so that you aren't disappointed.
3. You Are Scared Of Things Not Working Out
You might think of romantic love as something your partner gives you. But even if they're trying to love you fully and deeply, if you are constantly worried that the relationship will eventually end, you probably won't receive that love. "It is difficult to receive romantic love if you're not in a good space within yourself," Cooper-Lovett says. "You would often reject things that could potentially make you happy due to the assumption that love would make things worse as if it would not work out," she says. It's always a possibility that your relationship won't last forever, but that doesn't mean that you should let that keep you from accepting love while you are partners.
4. You Don't Prioritize Self-Love
Self-love and romantic love might seem like totally different issues to you, but they're really more connected than you might think. "If you do not love yourself, how can you receive love from someone else," Cooper-Lovett says. "You have to be on the quest for loving yourself and having a relationship with yourself before allowing someone else to show and give you love." Take some time to reflect on how you feel about yourself if you don't feel open to love from a partner. Are you struggling with self-doubt? Are you dedicating time each week to taking care of yourself? Maybe for you this means taking the time to bake your favorite pastry recipe from scratch, or working on a creative project that really makes you feel fulfilled.
5. You Expect Your Partner To Be Perfect
"Perfectionism in the dating search process can be a tipoff that you’re not fully open to receiving romantic love," Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a family and relationship psychotherapist, relationship columnist, and author of The Self-Aware Parent, tells Bustle. If you've had more than one relationship, you're probably pretty aware that there is no such thing as a perfect partner. You'll have to be OK with little quirks that you don't necessarily like if you want to be open to receiving love. Try taking the time to reflect on the qualities that are crucial for you when it comes to a partner. This can help you refocus on what is really important to you in a relationship and let go some of the things that don't matter in the long run.
6. You Don't Let Yourself Process Breakups
If you're just casually dating, it can be pretty seamless to move from one partner to another. But if you're having committed relationships with people, not letting yourself process one relationship before you move on to the next can keep you from fully accepting love, Walfish says. It's important to give yourself the time to feel your own emotions of loss and grief, even if you were the one who chose to end the relationship, she says. This can keep you from muting your painful emotions, which might also result in muting positive emotions like love from future partners.
7. You Haven't Gotten Over Your Ex
Speaking of previous breakups, having lingering feelings for your ex can really keep you from fully opening yourself up to receiving love from your current partner. Even in situations where you were the one who chose to end a relationship, it can be difficult to let go of someone you were so deeply connected with. "Some [people] are afraid of getting out there again so they keep their former relationship alive as a way of staying involved and not feeling single again," Walfish says. But if you truly want to be able to accept your current partner's love, you have to resolve any strong feelings you have about a past partner. That doesn't mean completely forgetting them, but it does mean remembering that they are someone in your past, rather than someone who should take up a good deal of space in your heart now.
8. You Have A Hard Time Accepting Compliments
If you're having trouble fully accepting love, one surprising sign of that is that you have a hard time accepting compliments. Maybe your gut reaction is to disagree with your partner each time they try to tell you how smart or kind you are instead of simply telling them "thank you." "To do this means you need to connect positively to someone and open yourself up to something you aren't comfortable with," John Kenny, an interpersonal relationship coach with specialization in toxic relationships, tells Bustle. The next time your partner tells you that they love your passion for an issue or your amazing joke telling skills, thank them and try to genuinely internalize the compliment instead of instantly dismissing it.
No matter what is keeping you from fully accepting love, remember that you are worthy of being cherished by a partner. Love yourself first, and receiving romantic love will come more naturally to you.