If you asked my friends one of my worst qualities, they would probably say it is the fact that I can be annoyingly analytical. I tend to overthink things. Sometimes that has worked well for me, but often it has the opposite effect especially when it related to my relationships. Then something strange happened.
I stopped overthinking, assuming what the other person in the relationship was thinking, or figuring out in my mind what their actions might mean. I had to do a complete juxtaposition. I almost gave up on love because I started to think that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
Yes, it’s probably odd to hear that from a relationship coach. But, by changing my mindset it has helped me to be a better coach to my clients. I share this with you because I don’t want you to have to suffer through what I went through or think you should give up on love.
I read a recent article in which Leslie Jones stated that dating was hard for her and she said: “I Just Feel Like I Might Die Alone.” Sadly, I understood her sentiments. Dating isn’t just hard for her. It’s tough for everyone. Limited dating pools, a dating environment focused on quantity over quality, and the lost art of courting has just about been eradicated.
It might be a little dramatic to say that courting is eradicated. But, let’s face it, even with all of the options which are supposed to make dating easier and more natural, it has had the opposite effect. In fact it can be more difficult to connect and find love.
The speed bumps along the way to finding something meaningful are full of speed bumps, and even with seemingly more options available to us, it’s still freaking hard to find someone compatible.
As a relationship coach, I see this happening to the best of the best. People who are attractive, funny, and successful don’t have added advantages in love. But, through my journey, I think I discovered some things that help make the road to love less difficult.
Here’s eight tips that might help you:
1. Stop doubting who you are as a person. I know it’s tough. When you have kissed a lot of frogs, and you still haven’t found your Prince metaphorically speaking, it’s easy to wonder if something is wrong with you.
Here’s my two cents about that thought. If you have had multiple relationships where people you have dated have made the same or similar complaints to you about specific issues then there is a common thread. You need to do some reassessing and figure out how you can become a better partner. But, if this isn’t the case, and you just have had bad luck or some bad dating experiences, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, focus on what qualities are important and non-negotiable to you. When you do so, it will cut your time in half of dealing with people with which you aren’t compatible.
2. Don’t assume. Remember that saying, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” Pardon my french, but an assumption is the worse thing anyone can make in a relationship. Yet, we do it a lot.
Here are some examples:
- “He didn’t call me. That means he doesn’t care about me.”
- “She didn’t figure out what would make me happy on my birthday. She doesn’t know me or care about what is important to me.”
- “The sex between us is subpar. He is just so selfish in bed.”
These assumptions are just that, assumptions. Want to get clear on who someone is and what they are feeling or thinking? Instead, ask them the question as to why they are doing a particular action. Their answers may surprise you. Often, we are in our heads too much. In doing so, we assume what the other person’s perspective but fail to note that everyone has their view.
3. What makes you successful in your career is different than what will make you successful in a relationship. Yes, you are rocking it at your company or in your entrepreneurial endeavors. And that is great! But, the skills that help you climb the corporate ladder or have success in your personal business aren’t the same skills that lead to a successful relationship.
Relationships thrive on teamwork, compromise, more compromise, and a constant balancing between two people. In a career, there are sacrifices you make as you move to the top of the ladder, but the progression is more ‘me centered.’
In a relationship, you are tested daily on your ability to balance your priorities with your partner. And the pendulum can swing any direction at any given moment, testing your tolerance, patient, and the strength of your relationship.
4. Enjoy being single and use it to learn more about yourself. Leslie Jones comment was likely overstated because she commented on her Twitter feed when she mentioned that she was working out hard to stay in shape.
However, she lamented as to why being that she had no one in her life who was going to benefit from the hard work. And this is where I would say the following, “Learn to do things for you and your benefit.” Love who you are and where you are whether you are single or not. Being single is a great time to grow, focus, and build yourself up. When you are in a relationship, things shift, and you have to make time and energy for your partner. When you are single, you have less distraction and more time for creativity. Take advantage of the time! Being in tune with you are makes you ten times more attractive and sexy and helps you to bring the right person into your life.
5. You want someone who is complimentary vs. someone who completes you. Remember the Tom Cruise movie, Jerry McGuire, with Renée Zellweger where she uttered the famous line to him, “You complete me.”
It was a love scene where her character figured out that she needed Tom Cruise aka Jerry McGuire in her life because she was better with him than without him. And this is my opinion on this topic. No one can complete you. But, they can compliment you. While having someone in your life can temporarily make you feel complete, the feeling is fleeting and short-lived.
Why? You have to feel complete within yourself first. Being complete with yourself is a permanent feeling. No one should or can take away this feeling from you. Refer to number 4 listed above and learn to enjoy who you are and embrace yourself fully. When you do, you will not seek completion from someone else, but instead, see out someone who is complimentary. And that is what makes a dynamic relationship.
6. Know what’s real versus fake. When you feel something real with someone, and the feelings are reciprocated for you, it’s an entirely different dynamic.
You are not afraid for them to see you at your worse. It isn’t a dealbreaker, but a relationship builder.
You don’t fear that they will leave you when things get rough because they are showing you by action, not words, that they are there and will be there through it all.
They support you, cheer for you, and want you to be successful. If they don’t do any of these things and you don’t have any of these feelings, you are wasting your time. Leave that relationship quickly.
7. Embrace vs. sabotage. Sometimes even though you may say you want love, you may do things that push love away instead of pulling it closer to you. Let me explain further. I was guilty many times out of protecting my heart. I would say things to guys that didn’t necessarily help build a loving relationship as a litmus test to see if they would stick around. I would challenge men needlessly because I didn’t want to appear vulnerable.
We’ll discuss that more about that topic in the next tip. The bottom line is that to experience love; you have to be willing to embrace or be open to being loved. You can’t sabotage your relationships out of fear before you give the relationship a fair chance.
I get it. Your feelings are tender and dear to your heart, so putting up a blocker, or protective mode is normal because it keeps you from being hurt. But, if someone is doing the right things, and trying to show you love you owe it to you and them to give them a fair shot. Now, on to our next lesson: vulnerability.
8. The power of vulnerability in a relationship. Vulnerability and love go hand in hand. One doesn’t exist without the other. Your willingness to show some level of vulnerability makes your relationship more transparent and real. Vulnerability is hard. Talk about wearing your feelings on your sleeve. This is the big ‘V.’ For more on vulnerability as it relates to relationships, read this article.
But, guess what, when you are vulnerable it shows you are real and have depth. Think about your friendships. When did those friendships become more solidified? If I had to take a guess, it was when you allowed yourself to share something vulnerable about yourself and your friend did the same. Those moments are what cement true friendships.
And they do the same in relationships. No relationship can move forward or be sustainable without your willingness to be honest with one another about your fears, concerns, and failures. These real moments create more solid and longer-standing relationships.
As I said, I almost gave up on love. But, it came when I least expected it. My partner compliments me. He isn’t who I thought he would be, and he came in my life when I least expected it and I was comfortable with being me. But, because I was open and we were real with each other up front, it has led to a relationship I didn’t realize I could ever have.
Love is available to you too. And I promise you if you change your mindset to accept that this is true, the roadmap to finding love will be part of your journey also.
Originally published on Thought Catalog.