Everybody has their fair share of dating disasters, whether or not we’d like to admit it. Sometimes we come on too strong or act too cold. We might want different things or have incompatible views that make it hard for us to stay together. The point is, certain relationships are meant to fall apart – whether it’s because of change, bad timing, or incompatibility. But other times? Other times it might be our fault, and we don’t even know it.
Relationships are a very well-studied topic of psychology, but even after decades of research, there’s still so much we don’t know about love. Romantic relationships can be hard to navigate, and we’re often guilty of complicating things even more with our drama and overthinking. Do you think you might be hurting your chances at true love? Have you had a long list of failed relationships but can’t seem to figure out where it all went wrong?
Here are 10 things that might be keeping you from finding relationships that work:
1. Cynical Views About Love
It’s common for people who have been stung by love before to stop believing in the magic of romance, but you need to learn to open yourself up again over time. It won’t do you any good to stay stuck in your negative ways and keep dwelling on your pain, resentment and regret, because doing so will only bring you more misery.
2. Unrealistically High Standards
Nowadays, you see so many pictures and posts online about couples who are #RelationshipGoals that it may start to cloud your judgment and give you unrealistically high standards. You might turn down great dating prospects or throw away a special connection you had with someone just because it wasn’t everything you hoped it would be. But the truth is, sometimes relationships are more about being the right person than finding the right person.
3. Too Many Deal Breakers
While it’s certainly good to have standards and know what you want in a partner, you have to be careful not to overdo it. Similar to the last point, expecting too much of your potential partners too fast only serves to set them up for failure. You’re not giving them a fair chance because you’re so quick to call it quits and run away at the first sign of trouble. Nobody’s perfect, but it’s in the complete acceptance of an imperfect person that we find the kind of love that’s meant to last.
4. Unresolved Past Trauma
Whether it’s a messy breakup, a toxic relationship, or an unhappy childhood, our past can leave us with a lot of painful memories and emotional scars that we often never really get over. For the rest of our lives, we carry that trauma with us and unknowingly let it ruin our relationships. So until you resolve your personal problems and stop being haunted by your past, your relationships won’t be able to stand the test of time.
5. Low Self-Esteem
People are absolutely right when they say, “You can’t love someone else until you learn to love yourself first.” When you suffer from low self-esteem, you tend to lose yourself in your partner and make them all the best parts of you. You feel like you’re not deserving of their love and you constantly worry that they will realize it, too. Over time, they might grow tired of always having to deal with your insecurities and attend to your emotional needs that they leave.
6. A Fear of Happiness
Having a fear of happiness is another common reason why so many people have a hard time making their relationships last. You’re so afraid of what would happen if you ever did find “the one” that it leads you to sabotaging your own relationships. You push people away before they can get too close to you because having an honest, emotional connection with someone scares you. You try not to get too attached, try not to let yourself want it too much, that others may misunderstand and think you’re inconsiderate, inconsistent, and not at all interested.
7. Trust Issues
Do you feel jealous about your partner being close with other people? Does it make you uncomfortable to think of them going out without you? Do you need to read their messages and know where they are all the time just to feel secure? Sad to say, nothing dooms a relationship faster than a lack of mutual trust. If you make your partner feel like they can’t be trusted, they will grow to resent you over time because of how controlling and suspicious you can be.
8. Losing Your Independence
It’s wrong to believe that you have to give up who you are whenever you’re in a relationship. After all, the hallmark of every strong, enduring relationship is learning to maintain your independence while still being happily committed to someone. Don’t make all their interest your interests; don’t stop seeing your friends and family because of them; and don’t spend all your time and attention solely on your relationship.
9. Wanting Someone You Can’t Have
Most of us are guilty of liking somebody against our better judgment, probably even more than once. Whether it’s because they’re already taken, age inappropriate, or emotionally unavailable, it’s easy to fall in love with the wrong people. But in wanting someone you can’t have, you are closing yourself off from those who are actually more compatible and better suited for you – all so you can pursue a fantasy that can never come true, or relationship that’s never going to go anywhere.
10. Not Learning From Your Mistakes
Finally, if you never learn from the mistakes you’ve made in your past, you’re doomed to keep repeating them and have your relationships fall apart over and over for all the same reasons. You need to understand what went wrong the first time so you don’t fall into that trap again. Acknowledge your shortcomings, aspire to do better, and let go of the negative habits and destructive patterns you once held. Otherwise, you’ll rob yourself of opportunities to be in a loving, serious, and stable relationship.
If you want to get serious about finding a love that lasts, you need to take a step back and take a good, honest look at yourself. What are you doing that pushes people away? Why have your relationships ended badly in the past? Once you know the answers, it will be easier to figure out where to go from there.
It’s hard to change when we’ve become so set in our ways. No matter how maladaptive or destructive they might be, sometimes we can’t help but fall back into our same old patterns. Fortunately, with perseverance, patience, and hard work, we have the power to change ourselves for the better.