So you say you want a relationship but you're still single despite all the potential people you meet, flirt with, have sex with, and even like. Even when you have a connection, something always goes wrong. What gives? Now, I'm not a fan of blaming the victim and I can see where these articles may come off as blaming the victim, but I have to point out the common denominator in all the scenarios I mentioned above is you. Deep down you know it too.
You've been doing all this work on yourself — you can spend hours alone, take spiritual vacations alone, meditate, feel connected with everything you do, be present and mindful but then why then are these relationships constantly alluding you?
Why, even when you find yourself deeply attracted to someone or recognize they are also very much into you, are you still moving with much trepidation. And that is quite likely the reason. Whether you realize it or not, you may not be completely letting go because old patterns die hard. You may just be holding back an integral part of you so as to maintain these health boundaries you have upheld. But these so-called healthy boundaries can often turn into brick walls you may have created as a way to stay true to yourself.
You may have lost yourself in the past — lost your identity, became a "we" too fast and then ended up misunderstood, judged, and heart broken. Or maybe you never gave enough of yourself. But then you worked on yourself to become a better you and this too has become a problem.
Now you're trying so hard to go with your heart, you're actually not taking the risk needed to get into a relationship. Or maybe you've perfected the art of taking care of yourself so well, it’s just too scary to let go. The unfortunate newsflash is that unless you are looking for a platonic business partner, you will need to re-integrate some of those "unhealthy" patterns you shed years ago, especially if you want to get back into a relationship. The idea that we can merge without truly merging will leave you exactly in the same place — unfully merged with a bunch of other unwilling-to-fully-merge people.
Take a moment here to read some of the things I'd like you to try do to get that love, intimacy and/or relationship you're so ready for but keep avoiding.
1. Stop trying so hard to be healthy all the time.
Jump in and dive in! Be needy, be vulnerable, and let your guard down. Call them even when you think you shouldn't at 2 am. Do everything you think you shouldn't do, and don't even think too much about it. If it feels good, do it. The element I am referring to is taking risks and throwing caution to the wind. Say, f&&k it and love with all your heart. Be impulsive.
2. Talk a lot.
Have a million conversations with yourself, your journal, your therapist, your best friend, your mom and especially your lover. If you can, talk about what you are doing "wrong". This is not what you want the relationship to look like so talk about why this is scary. Talk until you're blue in the face.
3. Backpedal if you need to.
I know this sounds like advice that could go terribly wrong but you are human and you are allowed to make mistakes. So yes, taking risks may mean jumping in impulsively and then quite likely at some point you will need to stand up, shake your head and ask yourself what you really want.
4. Set boundaries.
Now you can establish healthy boundaries. Keep talking with your lover, therapist, etc. You've already taken some giant leaps and thrown caution to the wind. You’ve let the other person know you are truly, deeply interested but that you have some boundaries you'd like to maintain. Sometimes it's easier to establish boundaries after you've had a taste of danger. A supportive lover will be receptive to your needs.
If you're doing the work, then you already know what is and isn't good for your heart and what is and isn't good for your sanity. You probably also know that the two don't always align. That's okay, sometimes you need to do a little of both, to get to where you want in life. Go ahead, it's okay. Jump in. Do the “unhealthy” thing, just this once. See what happens. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You're human and I give you permission.
Moushumi Ghose is a Sex Positive Therapist based in Los Angeles. She is the co-host of queer-centric web series The Sex Talk. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.