Looking for love? These 5 roadblocks could be in the way
More of us are single than ever before - in fact, in the UK, 51% of people are single (1). But why are we failing to find love; surely it's easier in modern society where we have so many choices and different methods of communication? Not necessarily. If you're struggling to find 'the one' or even dreading dipping your toe into the dating pool to find someone you're remotely compatible with, it could be that one of these 5 roadblocks is standing in the path of true love.
#1. You're confusing the fundamental with the superficial
Hmm, what do we mean by this? Well, common values are what holds a relationship together, not what colour your partner's eyes are. Shared goals like a desire to have a family or travel the world will help you to grow as a couple. Find a partner who shares your values and goals and the superficial qualities that many of us look for in a partner, like hair colour and height will seem trivial. Don't spend so much time focusing on outward appearance, as you could be turning away Mr or Mrs Right!
#2. You're sticking to your checklist
If you've ever read a relationship self-help book - and there are some good ones out there - you've probably noticed that many advise you to make a 'must have qualities' checklist when looking for an ideal partner. This is all well and good, but most people in happy, long-term relationships admit that their partner is rarely who they imagined they would end up with. Forget about your must-haves that relate to superficial things like your ideal partner's job, hair colour or race and instead focus on the important things like their sense of humour and shared values and interests.
#3. You're worried about keeping everyone happy
As the saying goes, "You can't please all of the people, all of the time." Unless you're a jar of Nutella. Seriously though, we're all brought up to believe that there is a 'correct' type of person out there for us to love and we want to keep our friends, family and society happy. Even amongst the most liberal families it may not be acceptable for you to date certain types of people - perhaps your mum hates tattoos or your dad wouldn't be happy if you dated somebody in the armed forces. But because nobody really understands what causes us to fall in love with one person and not another, taking this formulaic approach to love is dangerous. As an adult, you need to live your own life. For the sake of your mental and emotional health, you need to put your own values and opinions about who you should be with above those of others and of society.
#4. You believe being different is bad
We are all different, and it's okay to be with a partner who doesn't finish your sentences (that can be so annoying!) Getting to know a wide range of people from different walks of life and cultures can help you to recognise the similarities that we all share. You could fall in love with a local whilst backpacking in India or meet your ideal partner holidaying on a beach in Spain. Differences are trivial, so long as you agree on the things that matter. And there's nothing wrong with a little confrontation from time to time; arguments and a little anger can be healthy for any relationship.
#5. You stick with what's familiar
We've heard it so many times before, the belief that what is comfortable must be right for you. You could apply this to almost any area of your life - fitness, diet, social life, love - "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But what if it is broken, it's just that you're in denial because you've become too comfortable and afraid to break out of your comfort zone? Many people are stuck in a rut and unable to move forwards with their lives after choosing a partner who's too similar to them - then they get bored. Or maybe you're stuck with your long-term partner because you're getting older and you feel so comfortable together (even though you're secretly unhappy) and are scared to strike out on your own. You should never let fear dictate your actions; after all, who knows what exciting things are around the corner in your life!
Broadening your horizons helps you to see that differences between partners can be a positive thing as it makes you both continually grow and learn about each other. Take a look back at your past relationships and see if you can see any similarities - maybe there's a specific type of person you go for. If that hasn't worked for you so far, it might be time to move away from what's familiar and try something new!
Being single can be just as much fun as being coupled up, and it's the time to really enjoy your social life and those late-night gym workouts without anyone asking where you are! But most of us are constantly on the lookout for love, either consciously or sub-consciously, and it could be that one of these roadblocks is standing in the path of you meeting your perfect partner!
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