1. You’re waiting until you’re perfect.
In an attempt to avoid potentially becoming heartbroken, you have developed the unique coping mechanism that is “waiting until you are as perfect as possible so nobody can reject you.” Of course, this is insane and doesn’t work, but a lot of people do it – they take the concept of “love yourself first” and abuse it. Rather than earnestly working on themselves, they use the idea that they aren’t “good enough yet” as a reason not to try.
The reality is that you’re not going to be perfect when you meet the love of your life – no matter how many years of painstaking work you’ve put into yourself. There will always be the potential that you will be rejected for an altogether subjective reason, and this is just a fact you have to accept at some point. Putting off love until you’re good enough is not “self-love.” It’s self-preservation masked as self-love.
2. You’re looking for a super specific type of person.
There is science behind having “a type,” and there’s no doubt at all that some people are more attracted to certain traits and features than others.
That said, it’s extremely common for people to fall in love with someone “totally not their type,” and nothing like what they expected to end up with. That’s because “type” determines attraction, not compatibility. And even if you are aware of some things that you know you dislike in a significant other, nobody is completely self-aware enough to be able to identify exactly what type of person they would be best with.
That’s why there’s a process of trial and error. That’s why it’s so common to hear that someone just broke up with someone who “looked right on paper,” but didn’t click in reality.
Open your mind and your heart. Your soulmate might not look the way you imagined they would, or be the way you assumed they’d be. That doesn’t mean it’s not them, it means you were sustaining illusions about something you couldn’t know and wouldn’t know. Let go of those ideas. They were fiction to begin with.
3. You’ve put your joy on hold.
Does your life consist of more dead time or alive time? Are you putting your joy on hold until you’ve met someone who makes you feel happy again?
If you’re waiting to be happy, you’re waiting to live. And if you’re waiting to live – standing by the sidelines, being a hermit, disengaging with the world around you – you’re inching farther and farther away from finding the person you want to come along and magically make you happy.
Here’s something a lot of people will never tell you: love will change your life, but only to a certain degree. If you’re unhappy before you meet someone, you’ll be unhappy with them. The main way that you need to have your shit together before you can thrive in a relationship is your own sense of presence and happiness. That is the one thing that most people assume their partner is supposed to give them, and the one thing that partners are least capable of helping with if there’s none there to begin with.
4. You’re thinking through the eyes of other people.
When you’re dating someone, do you focus on how you feel when you are with that person, or do you focus on how your relationship looks to other people? Do you find your joy in being present with them, or in how you imagine other people see you together?
That, right there, is one of the biggest reasons people choose the wrong life partners, or even more commonly, fail to see and then address the real issues in their relationships until it’s too late. When you’re placating your feelings with illusions you have about other people’s opinions, you’re not letting your discomfort show you what you need to heal.
Remember: the more happy you are with something, the less you need other people to be.
5. You’re hanging out with the wrong people.
Oh, you’re spending every Saturday with a group of people who pride themselves on being “f*#kboys” and dream of being single until well into their 40s? And you’re surprised that you’re still single, too?
Your life is the summation of the things you do every day, and the people you spend your time with. You’re not going to put yourself in the right place to find the love you want if your peer group is subconsciously encouraging you to stay single, or retain destructive habits. Finding your soulmate is as much about putting yourself in the right place as much as you can, and you’re probably not increasing your chances of that happening if you spend every Saturday night with a bunch of friends who aren’t encouraging your growth and happiness.
6. You’re getting too caught up on shallow crap.
If your “deal-breaker” list consists of things like “tall,” or “makes a lot of money,” or “works in [this very specific field]” or “has this color hair,” you need to sit down with yourself and seriously think about what you’re saying.
This is not a love map, this is a twisted ego map. Your soulmate is not going to be exactly as you imagined, and maybe the only problem is that you’re not open to the fact that they are human, and maybe aren’t great with money or aren’t tall dark and handsome or work in the field that you always thought you’d marry someone from. Who freaking cares? None of these things translate to love. None of these things are pre-determinants of whether or not you will have a happy and fulfilled life.
But do you know what is? Whether or not you chose someone for shallow reasons, like appearances or cash. That does determine whether or not you’re going to be miserable down the line. Be mindful of what it is you think you’re looking for.
Are you seeking a partner, or are you seeking a solution to something you think you can’t fix in your own life?
7. You aren’t really putting yourself out there.
It’s truly incredible how many people complain about not having love, while at the same time, not being willing to go out on blind dates, check out new venues they’ve never been to before, or have their go at online dating.
Beyond that, it’s amazing how many people won’t follow up with dates, or write people off too soon, or refuse to give someone a try for some stupid, subjective reason.
If you want this, ask yourself what you’re really doing to find it. Chances are, the answer is not as much as you could be.
8. You’re assuming that you know best.
Maybe you don’t know when the best moment for your soulmate to show up will be. Maybe you don’t know what type of person you’d be most compatible with, or what they should look like or do professionally. Maybe you aren’t aware of the bigger picture and have to learn to trust in the timing of things a little more.
Stop being indignant that things aren’t going on your (limited) idea of what is and isn’t supposed to be. There’s a greater, grander picture that you will be able to see in retrospect, just like how you can see the purpose of everything you went through prior to this moment, and how it brought you here. Stop assuming you know best. It’s not serving you.