7 Reasons You Are Struggling With Love
The world of dating, love, relationships, and marriage can be a bit overwhelming at times. Has it always been this difficult? Or does modern society have something to do with it?
As you take a look at the current status of your relationship, consider these 7 reasons that you may be making love more difficult than it should be.
1) You’ve Confused Dating With Shopping
Imagine you are shopping for a chair. (I’m not comparing your mate to a chair – just go along with me.) You’ve decided that you want a chair that reclines. The chair needs to be brown to go with your décor. You would like a chair with a microfiber fabric. Your chair has to be a certain size to work well in the room. You also want the chair to be comfortable and well reviewed. You can type these specifics into a search bar and have your dream chair being shipped to you within 10 minutes.
We have been programmed to find the exact things that we want through a quick internet search. With online dating we may have opened up Pandora’s box with unlimited options for mates. This becomes troublesome when we apply the same logic we use when shopping for objects to our search for a partner.
You may have been able to find your ideal chair, but it may spell disaster when you idealize your partner or potential mate in this way. This allows us to become overly critical, picky, and dismissive.
Aziz Ansari has written a great book called Modern Romance that addresses the topic of choice in relationships. I especially like the comparison of available partners to a jar of jam in chapter 4. Don’t worry! It’s based on research.
As you are scrolling through endless profiles, or considering potential mates offline, you may tend to look for something about the other person that will disqualify them – instead of recognizing the many ways in which you two may be good together. This leads us to the next reason that love may be eluding you.
2) You’re Too Quick To Dismiss
Imagine you are scoping out an interesting potential partner on facebook. You decide to go to their music interests. You see Nickelback listed and immediately click off their profile. What you don’t know is that they clicked “like” in 2005 because of that Rockstar song, forgot about it, and do not consider themselves a Nickelback fan anymore. If you wouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss and stayed on their profile a little longer, you may have discovered your mutual love for the movie Forrest Gump, your mutual obsession with tacos, and your mutual interest in rock climbing.
This may be an overly dramatic representation of what really happens, but you may be surprised. If you’ve ever watched Seinfeld, you are well aware of the little things that have disqualified a potential mate.
3) You Have A Soulmate Mentality
Don’t get me wrong, I actually do believe in soulmates. Just not in the way that most people do, which is the idea that a soulmate is this ONE person (out of the 7+ billion people on the planet!) that you are meant to be with.
To me, a soulmate is someone who is important to the growth of your soul and is in your life to teach you valuable lessons on what it is to be human. And, yes, this can be more than one person.
You may have encountered 3 or 7 or 10 soulmates throughout your lifetime. They may have been in your life for moments or for years – but each one taught you a valuable lesson about yourself and you are forever changed as a result.
And the lesson here is that there is not this one and only special person, just meant for you to be with for your entire life, and if you don’t find them in this lifetime you are forever destined to be alone. That’s not how it works.
There’s one more point I want to make here. Just because you are with a soulmate does not mean that your relationship is going to be a walk in the park. Many people with a soulmate mentality give up on their relationships way too early thinking, “We argue too much, this must not be the person I am meant to be with.”
If you are interested in this topic, I recommend that you listen in on Tony and Michelle’s #staymarried Podcast as they discuss the topic of soulmates. Check it out here:
4) You Expect Your Partner To Be Your Everything
Do you sometimes feel that you are not getting what you need from your partner? Have you ever considered that it is not your partner’s responsibility to give you all that you are expecting?
This is not to say that we shouldn’t hold our partners to a certain standard in our relationships. We should feel loved, respected, and wanted in our partnership. We should not feel criticized, unsupported, or otherwise dismissed.
Esther Perel explains this phenomenon best in her TED Talk titled The Secret To Desire In a Long-Term Relationship. If you’re pressed for time, minutes 2:00 – 4:00 explain the main idea.
5) You Are Still Fooled By The Media
Our relationships do not look like movies, print ads, television shows, or magazine covers. They don’t even look like the facebook feeds of our closest coupled friends.
We don’t see perfume ads of the couple arguing on the beach as they roll around in the waves. We don’t see movies of couples grocery shopping or sitting down to budget their money.
And we sure don’t see facebook posts of couples promoting their arguments like they do their new engagement photos. Okay, maybe we do see that last one, but that’s another post on its own. All I have to say about this topic is that happy couples are posting less about their relationships on social media.
Don’t expect your relationship to be like the idealized versions of relationships plastered throughout the media. Make it your own. Work with your partner and find a way to create your own unique, yet ideal, relationship.
6) You Have The “Grass Is Greener” Syndrome
Oftentimes, when your relationship begins to have problems you may think that you would be better off with someone else. This is a very common, although harmful, thought in most ailing partnerships.
“I should have stayed with Matt. He would appreciate me”, barked Rachel. Dave says, “If I would have married Sarah instead, I wouldn’t be having these problems.” I hate to burst your bubble, but you would probably be having the same concerns with Sarah and Matt.
Each subsequent marriage increases the rate of divorce by an average of 10%, supporting the notion that the grass is not always greener.
I talk more about the “Grass is Greener” Syndrome, and how to begin to save your marriage, in a blog post titled Divorce May Not Solve As Many Problems As You Think.
7) You’ve Become Accustomed To A Throw Away Society
This last reason is closely related to the grass is greener syndrome. We could probably come up with a catchy name for it, such as “Shiny Object Syndrome”, in that our attention is so easily drawn to something new, that we become distracted and forget about our primary goal or purpose.
Are you always searching for something better? When something is not in great condition do you take the time to repair it or do you replace it with something newer and better?
It is sometimes easy to let the current practices of society spill over into our romantic relationships (reason #1 is an example of this too). Treating your relationship as something that can be easily thrown away and replaced never allows for the closeness, vulnerability, and intimacy needed to form a deep and lasting bond with our partner.
If you are feeling unlucky in love consider the seven reasons above and determine if any are playing a part in your struggle. If you are having a difficult time navigating this area, whether single or partnered, enlist the help of a qualified relationship therapist to provide you with the support needed to get your love life back on track.
I'm Here For Your Relationship
I'm on a mission to reduce the stigma of couples therapy. We are not always taught how to be part of a couple, how to have healthy relationships, and how to make love last. So there's no shame in getting support for your most important relationship. The services I offer could be compared to relationship school.
School is in session and I'm here to help you and your partner increase friendship and intimacy, improve communication, manage conflict, and enrich your relationship.