You don’t need a relationship to be happy, nor do you need to change who you are to be in a happy relationship. Still, there are certain habits you may have developed while rolling solo that could be keeping you from finding the love that you crave.
- Playing it cool When you’ve been single long enough, you learn how to play things cool because you assume that every dude wants that laid-back, chill girl who’s numb and never shows any emotion, right? The problem is that eventually, you play it too cool. When this happens, it’s as though you’ve built a wall around yourself and you won’t let anyone in. Or, if you do, they’re just getting a fraction of who you really are. You don’t have to put it all out there every first date you go on, but holding back too much can be just as bad as crying on the first date over an ex.
- Going for the emotionally unavailable Being single and going for emotionally unavailable guys goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Seriously. When you’re single, you don’t want the complication of feelings and commitment so that guy who’s completely wrong for you is ideal. When you realize you’re looking for love, this guy should be immediately forgotten. The emotionally unavailable people are great for a one-night stand, but you can forget about anything longer than that with them.
- Making plans and ditching them Oh, the thrill of canceling plans last minute! It’s like a drug, isn’t it? While that’s all well and good with your friends who get equally high off of taking a rain check, if you’re hoping to find love, you can’t keep canceling on your dates. You actually have to get your butt off the couch, put on some pants for a change, and haul your charming self out of your apartment and into the world.
- Preferring to sleep alone While no one enjoys sleeping with anyone else 100% (no matter what some newly in love fools might try to convince us of), if you want to find love, you need to make space in your bed. This isn’t to say that every single night needs to be a sleepover with your soon-to-be boyfriend, but you do need to spend time with him and make space for him not just in your bed but in your life too. That’s just how this whole finding love thing works.
- Trying to control all situations When we’re single, we’re in control of everything because there’s only one person to control. Once you start dating, you suddenly no longer have control over everything because it’s no longer just you. While this might feel terrifying at first, you need to just let go and go with the flow.
- Ignoring text messages Your friends and family may be cool with the fact that you want to ignore them and go down a rabbit hole of a weekend-long binge on French New Wave films, but a possible boyfriend is going to feel a little differently. In fact, not returning his text is going to make you look like you’re not interested. While being unavailable can be a good thing, there is such a thing as being too unavailable and it can drive someone away. No one wants to sit around waiting for you to pull yourself out of your Godard bubble.
- Comparing everyone to your ex Yikes! Even if you don’t say it out loud, if you’re constantly comparing every new person you date to your ex, it’s going to weigh heavily above every interaction you have. Even if your ex was a stellar human being and you’re no longer together because he moved away to help fight poverty and hunger in a country whose name you can’t pronounce, you can’t keep hanging on to that and hoping to try and find pieces of him in every person you meet. No two people are the same and if you try to impart aspects of your ex on someone new in your life, it’s inevitably going to backfire. No one can handle being themselves as well as the person you need them to be.
- Faking it We can only fake things for so long before it all falls apart and we’re stuck there with only the truth staring us back in the face. While it’s fun to pretend to be someone or something else with a one-night stand, if you’re trying to find love, you need to be you—like the actual you that exists when no one else is around. No one wants to date a made-up character and you certainly don’t want to have to fake it for the long run… if that’s where things end up going when you finally meet someone great.