This is a case study written by Personal and Business Coach Christine Young, to help those battling through loneliness or heartache and seem lost when searching for answers to questions like, "Why can't I find love?"
Last week I started working with a client, Jenny, who came to me with a complaint I hear very often:
“I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into dating and I’m so frustrated. I’m ready to get married and start a family, so why is it not happening?”
Jenny is attractive, intelligent and has a great job so naturally, she wonders why she hasn’t found her dream partner after putting in all this time and effort. Are all the good ones taken? Do I have to move to another city to find love? Does everyone single have commitment issues? Am I going to be lonely forever?
Happily, the answer to all three questions is... NO!
Why is it so hard to find someone who cares about you
More often than not, the person facing the relationship issue is where the problem is rooted. Taking a closer look, it could be past personal views or experiences that block them from moving forward and being open to finding a partner. If she is ready for commitment, to fall in love and start a family, then why would she choose to make wrong decisions like date someone who openly says they aren’t ready to commit, for example? Or, why is she waiting for him to change? This is when the power of denial takes residence in your mind. You may think like Jenny, "When he gets a job he likes or stops being so busy at work, things will change." Or, "After he heals from his last relationship or gets tired playing the field he will make more time for me and get serious."
There’s nothing wrong with being single. In this case, and it may ring a bell for you too, it’s Jenny doing the 'picking' and choosing to continue to date unavailable people. She’s not picking dates that have the same goals and desires in the relationship. In order to find a partner, you have to know your true self and what you really desire, to stop making excuses for others. Hard to hear and confronting, however this is what gives someone like Jenny the power to make different choices going forward and to stop feeling lonely.
Signs you should stop dating someone
We often think that if we just wait it out in a relationship, something will change. There’s a difference between taking time to let a healthy relationship develop and see where it goes versus waiting for a someone to change or fix something in their life – these are relationship mistakes.
Let's take a closer look at Jenny’s choices
Remember, she said she wanted to fall in love, get married and someday have a family. Fine, but then we reviewed the men she’s recently spent her precious time with and this is what happened:
Guy #1: Recently divorced with two children, openly tells her he’s not ready for a serious relationship but someday he wants to remarry and maybe would have another child if it was the right woman.
Guy #2: He’s fun, hot and the chemistry is great. He’s never married and says he’s looking for the right woman to settle down with and have a family. She hears from him once every week or so. He’s really busy with work and other commitments. They go out once a while, have a great time and then, poof! She doesn’t hear from him for days or sometimes weeks. This has been going on for 6 months.
Guy #3: What I call the “pop-up ex”. They dated last year. It didn’t work out for many reasons. Once in a while she gets bored or lonely (or drinks and dials) and wants some attention. It is fun in the moment but she’s left feeling sad and a little resentful. She says when she finds a new love it will stop but in the meantime it’s better than nothing.
Now, it's important to remember that there’s nothing wrong or bad about any of these men Jenny was involved with. They are where they are in life and are making the right choices for themselves. There's also nothing wrong with casual dating or revisiting someone who once had a connection with, BUT only if that’s in line with your relationship goals. You want to make choices about whom and how you date based on what you want now. Project the life you want.
Choosing the right partner for a lasting relationship
Then Jenny asked me, “But why not keep dating the “wrong” one until the “right” shows up?". There are two things to consider here in order to find love and a partner good for you:
1. “Something” is not better than “nothing” in the long term. Your time and space are all booked up with people who don’t want the same thing right now. There’s absolutely no room for true love to enter the picture.
2. If you are looking for a committed relationship leading to a marriage and a family, why date someone who is not looking for that too? It’s like saying you really want to lose weight and then eat donuts all day. It’s not going to happen.
Going forward Jenny needs to ask what he’s looking for before she invests too much time and energy. Do they have similar relationship goals right now? If he says he does, do his actions match his words?
She then looked at me aghast, “You mean tell him I’m looking for love, a partner and a family someday? What if I scare him off?"
I asked her if she had an issue asking about what his career goals were or where he sees himself living long term. “Of course not”, she said. So why not ask about what he’s looking for in a relationship? Your most important relationship at the end of the day is the one you have with yourself.
I’m not suggesting she go in with an inquisition on the first date, but it doesn’t take months to find out what someone is looking for and share what you want in a relationship. If he runs then she just saved herself some time and potential heartache.
So, if you wanted to travel to Paris would you take a flight to Miami hoping the plane might change course if you just hang in there? Would you accept a new job without even inquiring about the salary?
The lesson is: don’t approach your romantic relationships hoping and wondering. If you don’t know what your date wants, ask! Have an honest conversation and take responsibility for your choices. Don’t waste your time or sell out on yourself and your dreams. You deserve to have it all!
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