If you’ve been meeting the wrong people — or not meeting anyone at all — that could be down to you. Here are a few signs that you’ve been sabotaging your dating life. Maybe you haven’t been quite as open to love as you might have thought.
You’re suspicious of happy couples. Finding someone is tough – so tough that when you see a couple that seems genuinely happy, you immediately suspect a ruse. He’s probably gay or she’s probably a cheating on him, because you just cannot imagine love actually working out between anybody.
You’ve become cynical about romance. Not only are you suspicious of happy couples, but you roll your eyes at rapid fire speed whenever someone mentions Valentine’s Day (money making scheme invented by big business!) or when your best friend starts posting love poems or quotes about her man on Facebook.
You hate going on dates. A blind date would be your absolute worst nightmare because you can barely stomach going on a regular date. You have to get super dressed up and be all coquettish and it’s just annoying. Why spend a night having an awkward dinner with a stranger when you could just go have some sushi with your friends?
You haven’t learned from past relationships. You truly believe in your heart of hearts that your past relationships would’ve worked out if your boyfriends weren’t such nutbags who were full of issues. Of course, you did nothing wrong at all. It was all his fault!
You have ‘single’ celeb heroes. It pains you to see serial daters George Clooney and Cameron Diaz abandon their single life to get married. They were your single heroes! They were your light of hope that single people can be just as happy and fulfilled as people in relationships. Even Taylor Swift has settled down into a happy long-term relationship. What is going on here?!
You can’t stop talking about your ex. He’s the bad guy and you have issues to work out so you’re constantly rehashing the relationship and nitpicking everything he did wrong with your friends or (gasp) new guys you go out with. You wonder what could have been and you daydream of an alternate universe where you stayed together and lived happily ever after.
You don’t notice guys who really like you. You’re at a stoplight and a song comes on that reminds you of your ex-boyfriend. You get lost in thought and you fail to notice that the Jake Gyllenhaal lookalike in the next lane has been smiling at you, hoping to catch your eye before the green light.
Your dealbreaker list is extensive. If only you could find a shy but wild guy, who’s kind and smart and funny and sensitive… but not too sensitive because you don’t want to go out with a sissy. But he can’t be too macho, either, because you don’t want to date a knuckle-dragging caveman. And sure, he can be funny, but he’d better know how to get serious in the bedroom. But not too serious, because it’s fun to be silly in bed.
You’re overly critical of yourself. Your automatic response when someone compliments you is to come back with a rebuttal as to why he’s way off. It feels like a lie when someone tells you that you’re pretty or nice because, ew, have they seen your flat nose? And he only thinks you’re nice because he’s never seen you when you ‘hangry’ before. If you don’t believe nice things about yourself, how will you ever accept that a guy you’re dating believes them?
You don’t like getting personal. A big reason you sometimes dread going on a date is because whenever someone tries to get to know you, you think he’s being nosy and invasive. You’d prefer it if your dates could just talk about weather, current events and why Kim Kardashian should respect artistry and admit that the blue/black-white/gold dress debacle is what really broke the internet.
You like people until they reciprocate. You lose interest in your crushes when they start crushing back because it makes things a little too real. When you’re open to love, you want to receive as much as you give out. When you shy away from that, you’re shutting yourself off.
You have a specific type that you won’t veer from. Knowing what you want is a good thing, but creating a single mold that someone must fit is just closing off other options you hadn’t considered yet. You can’t be so rigid that you end up missing out on someone amazing. Being open to love means being open to all kinds and from all sources.
You’re not open to compromise. You see your world in one way only, and you’re not kind about or interested in the opinions that other people have. You can’t be open to love if the only idea you have of it is so myopic.
You had the chance with someone great and blew it. Feeling a little self-destructive, are we? If you can’t figure out why you kissed their best friend, it might be because you’re scared of what would have happened if you didn’t. We all make mistakes. However, if you continue to make the ones, maybe you’re doing it purposely (even if sub-consciously).
You’ve ghosted instead of talking things out. Save for truly destructive or dangerous people who should be avoided at all costs, ghosting is the least mature way to exit a relationship. Real love requires the ability to have painful and sometimes awkward conversations.
You judge people really quickly. A friend wants to set you up with someone and you cut her off by the time she shows you the first snapshot of him. You can’t be open to love if no one is on your level in your own mind.
You date total trainwrecks. You date terrible guys because you know deep down that you could never get serious with them… thereby ensuring that there won’t be any true love in the picture.
You’re anti-online dating. Maybe it’s not the ideal story to tell, but real love matches do happen online whether you like it or not. Online dating is a great tool for meeting people you might not come across in your everyday life. It’s not the only way, but it is an important one. You just have to figure out what dating app is right for you.
You fantasize about dating people you can’t have. Celebrity crushes and married people are most intriguing to you, because they’re not reality.
You’re still generalizing types. Generalizations like “finance guys are boring” are straight up narrow-minded thinking. Imagine all the false generalizations people could have about you.
You have extremely specific deal breakers. Wearing the same cologne as your ex boyfriend shouldn’t be one of them.
You don’t like to make mistakes. Well, no one does, but most successful people in life and in relationships don’t let the fear stop them from trying.
You don’t like guys who disagree with you. Because you’re failing to see that he might be showing you another way of thinking because he respects you.
You haven’t let your ex go. He’s gone, but is he gone from your head? Comparison between him and the new guys and secret dreams of ending up together do not help a girl move on.
You don’t want your life to change. If the mere thought of changing up your dinner routine sets your nerves on edge, you might not be ready for a whole other person to get involved.
You obsess about finding love. The truth is, when people are ready for real love they’re happy doing whatever is happening in the meantime. Obsessing about it assumes that there’s something wrong with you or your life, which is not the perspective that aligns magical introductions.
It’s hard to stay open to love when you’ve been hurt, but it’s ultimately worth it
If you’ve been hurt before, you know the feeling. You know how it goes—you’re deeply in love with butterflies, giggles, the works. You feel like you’re floating… and then something happens. You find your lover cheating, you start fighting, or some other catastrophe strikes and suddenly you’re alone on your living room floor sobbing and wondering what went wrong. I’ve been there and chances are, you have too.
It can be tempting to close yourself off from love. For a lot of us, the first reaction is to run as far from this whole love thing as possible. Why the hell would you want to go through that kind of heartbreak again? So you close yourself off to the very thought of falling in love. You put up a wall around your heart and vow to never even think about opening up to another person. Flings? Sure. Casual sex? No problem. Sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings? No way.
It seems easier to run away than face pain. The impulse to shut down emotionally is the easy way out. Not that it feels easy, but the alternative seems impossible. You’d rather remain a spinster, doomed to become an old spinster than ever risk that kind of pain again. What you’re doing, though, is delaying your healing. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and marry the next guy you meet (in fact, definitely don’t do that), but if you plan on being single forever for fear of getting hurt again, you’re only avoiding the pain, not dealing with it.
You’re only guaranteeing loneliness. The paradox with this kind of thinking is that it guarantees you’ll end up with exactly what it is you’re running from. You were hurt once before because the person you loved somehow didn’t return that gift. You’re afraid of rejection, of being left behind, of being alone. At first glance, it might seem like closing yourself off will protect you from those things, but what it’s actually doing is isolating you. You’re creating exactly the kind of loneliness you’re afraid of.
The thought of being truly known can be terrifying. The other side of this is the fear of being known. In relationships, my greatest fear is that I’ll be found to be unlovable, and I know I’m not the only one. Exposing yourself to another human being may be the single scariest and most liberating thing you can do. Because what if he sees me and doesn’t love me? What if I give him all my love and he doesn’t want it? What if this means I’m unlovable? As far as emotional risks go, this one’s a doozy.
Love is always worth the risk. Not because you have the guarantee of being loved in return—there are no guarantees. Do it to experience love. Even the unrequited variety is a powerful and beautiful thing. Allowing yourself to care for another human being, when done genuinely, is life-giving. Being brave enough to expose your true self, even if it’s to someone who doesn’t appreciate you, is an act of bravery. Who doesn’t want to be braver and more loving? Love because you are loving, not because you’re guaranteed something in return.
Don’t lose your chance at love because of fear. I’ve met women who lived their entire lives without knowing uninhibited love. They always held back a part of themselves so that no matter what happened, they could walk out of a relationship unscathed. Because of this, they never let go, never allowed themselves to feel fully. Don’t let this be you. Love like it’s going out of fashion. Don’t come to the end of your life regretting that you never opened up.
Check your self-love balance. The best way out of this fear is by allowing yourself to feel loved by yourself. No matter what’s happened to you before, you’re a strong, beautiful, amazing woman, totally worthy of love, and totally capable of giving it! So start by giving that love to yourself! Take yourself out on dates, recite affirmations in the mirror, read a good book, take up a hobby, masturbate—whatever makes you feel loved!
Trust is the only way. At the end of it all, the only way forward is to trust. There’s no guarantee that you won’t get hurt again. In fact, in some way, you probably will. That’s not the important part. The important part is that you’re open to giving and receiving love. Plus, even if you’re afraid, you’re brave enough to open your heart and stay open to love anyway. It’s always worth it.