Wait...Where is My Happy Ending? (And not that kind).
An interesting poll recently came out, alluding to the notion that adults have given up on finding love. (You can read the about the poll and the article here.) While the survey was conducted in the UK, as a therapist and stress coach, it is not uncommon for someone to contact me with similar concerns here in Chicago where I am based. In fact, just the other day, someone said to me that she was afraid that her partner was going to get tired of her and leave her after a while, because that is what she has observed happening within other relationships around her. Talk about a stressful situation that not only breeds anxiety, it triggers some insecurity as well.
In exploring some of what this article talks about, including the notion of “giving up on love” as a self-defense mechanism, there is something to be said about that, especially when we are coping with the stress of a past filled with painful relationship interactions. When this person expressed to me that she was concerned that her partner was going to tire of her, I was rather surprised and expecting her to say this, given what I knew about her history. It also demonstrated some of what the survey from the article discovered: that there are factors that get in the way of finding love.
First, as a therapist and stress coach, I often explore what “love” in this sense means to people and what expectations the person has with it, as it is unrealistic to expect one person to fulfill all your needs and wants. When I wrote for a bridal magazine years ago, I often discussed and explored the “honeymoon” phase that occurs in relationships, a “normal” part of healthy relationships and how this wanes into the reality phase. (You know, “reality bites”.) Seriously, one aspect that tends to be overlooked is when individuals either don’t communicate, quit communicating, or don’t know how to communicate. These are three different contexts that have different outcomes and different ways to address them. Communication is a key factor in any relationship, including the one you have with yourself. If you are not honest with yourself about your own expectations, what you want in a relationship or what you are willing to tolerate, not tolerate, etc., it becomes challenging to “click” with what will be right. When you are lying to yourself, you will only get what you believe.
Second, one of the points the article mentions is about limitations. Take a look at the list. There is a limited social circle, there is a limited belief system (“It doesn’t feel like there is someone out there for me”; “people seem like they are not interested in me”, etc.) and a limited sense of self (age, looks, etc.). This is why tunnel vision is labeled tunnel vision. It’s limited. Vision is broader and spaceless. Tunnels are narrow, so they restrict what we can see and fit into. Go outside of this. Even a “happy ending” is limiting. What about a new beginning instead? Go out and meet that person at that party that perhaps before you may not have. Take a calculated risk. Venture into a new hobby or look. Try something you dreamed about. Color outside the box a little(or a lot). There is only your limiting belief that stops you.
Third, the thing about relationships, any relationship that is worth sustaining and maintaining will require time and effort. (Again, reality bites.) Yet, think about the things in your life that are of value to you. You take care of them. You invest your time and effort and money and troubles to ensure that they are taken care of properly, whether it be your car, home, electronics, or something else. A relationship goes beyond this and is more delicate because it IS another human being, with a different set of experiences, expectations, fantasies, hopes, dreams, fears, wants, etc. and you want to have a connection that is a very different experience and a very different feeling that what you experience with a “thing”.
So as you consider how these play a part in the stress of not finding love (or the stress in your love life), feel free to drop me a message about what you read or how you apply it. I am curious how these tips may assist you.