Love is challenging enough to find without self-defeating behaviors. As such, many people can't find a successful relationship, and they become their own worst enemy. After discussing the issues with 500+ men and women, many were awakened to their own behaviors and how they were subconsciously destroying their chances for love.
Here are the top three ways men and women stop themselves from finding the love they deserve:
1. They put their ex on a pedestal
After a breakup, some people look at their ex as perfect. They look past the challenges/issues that caused the break-up and remember only the good parts of the relationship. Even worse, they don't see their own contributions to how the relationship failed. This rose-colored glasses viewpoint can have a detrimental effect on future relationships for a number of reasons:
- "No one will ever be like [ex's name here]." Some people compare future romantic interests to the good parts of her past (now defunct) relationship(s). As a result, they search for—and find—all the flaws/missing things in the new partner, and the talk themselves out of discovering someone new—and potentially a good match.
- No self-reflection or transition past the relationship. By mentally staying in a past relationship, they will limit themselves for the future. They subconsciously stay stagnant in the hopes that the ex might return and meet them where they were... and then they will finally be together.
- "Nothing like my first love." Even established relationships can be affected by an ex long-past. If they are still holding a candle for a first love—instead of investing in their present with their current partner—they can sabotage their relationship or marriage—creating unnecessary arguments, tension and disconnection, and keeping their spouse emotionally at arm's length.
Bottom line: Take your ex down off the pedestal. If the relationship were so great—and they so perfect—you would still be with them.
2. They try to make the relationship work... all by themselves.
Many people get stuck in thinking that the relationship needs them to "make it work". In many cases, these people get treated well, but their partners aren't actively investing; they are just doing the bare minimum to keep the relationship going. This causes them to wonder what they are doing wrong and why their partner won't put in. Most often, this situation is the result of having their self-esteem locked up in that relationship. They end up [falsely] thinking that if they do even MORE, their partner will wake up and love them... and then they will finally be worthy and worth something to them. This is a self-esteem trap, and it leads to clinginess, insecurity, and, in extreme cases, love addiction.
Bottom line: A relationship takes TWO people to put in and invest. If one is gun-shy—or not on the same page emotionally—there will be a disconnection, which can lead to this kind of cat-and-mouse game. To combat this, you need to have a firm grasp on your value, and your identity... as a person. If you don't know how to be happy with YOU, you won't know how to be happy in a relationship—nor will you recognize the inequity, if it happens.
3. They falsely believe all men/women "are the same" (meaning: bad).
With the anger that can accompany some break-ups—or if they've had a number of bad relationships in a row—they might try to convince themselves that all men/women are bad. It's definitely safer that way; meaning with that mentality, they won't need to invest, trust, or develop an intimate relationship with anyone again. But it's not healthy, and it doesn't acknowledge that relationships are made up of two people. Even if they were the worst partner possible, they had their own contributions to what failed—even if their only "contributions" were that they ignored red flags, stayed too long, and/or allowed themselves to be in a disconnected relationship.
For those people who have been in multiple bad relationships: You haven't had "five bad relationships in a row". In reality, you've had ONE bad relationship FIVE TIMES. My advice: Get out of the pattern. Get into you. Change your environment, and you'll change your selection process.
Other people fool themselves and embrace bitterness with statements like, "There's no such thing as love. I just want to be single." But what they are truly saying is, "I've been hurt and I'm not willing to put myself out there to be hurt again." What they need to realize: Not everyone is the same. All relationships are different. The Lesson: Love is great, but they have to love and trust THEMSELVES before someone else can.
Bottom Line: Moving past a bad relationship takes a concerted effort to: accept (what happened and your part in things), forgive (yourself and/others), and change (course, behavior, location). In the end, it becomes a simple choice: Either you choose to live back where you WERE... or you choose to live where you ARE.
And to those women who think "all men are the same", I offer you some straight-up thoughts...