Why Does Finding True Love Seem So Difficult?

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We come into this world with a predisposition to love and be loved. But then, why is finding true love so difficult when we're adults?

Do we lose our understanding of love along the way? Do the experiences of life gradually jade us to the possibility of authentic love?

Finding true love and a committed relationship that can stand tests of time is rare.

A lasting loving relationship must be grounded in respect, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, fidelity, and safety. These are sustaining qualities of relationships, but rarely are we taught to look for them.

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So, why does finding love seem so difficult?

We are taught, in general, to look for the superficial and fleeting qualities that foster attraction: Good looks, sex, money, and our desired lifestyle.

How can a person seek and find true love when the roadmap leads to these unsustainable quests?

Perhaps, the question isn’t so much, "Why is finding true love so difficult?" but, "Am I really seeking true love?"

If you're setting off on a road trip, it makes sense that you have a destination in mind. Even if you’re open to wandering a bit and taking in unexpected points of interest, your journey is dictated by your intended destination.

And so it is with the journey to love.

What is your definition of true love?

You can’t go looking for something that you wouldn’t recognize if it were standing right in front of you. So ask yourself, "What is my definition of true love?"

I know I almost missed connecting with my husband. And many of my clients almost missed recognizing their true-love partner.

However, through coaching, they were encouraged to look deeper.

Is what your seeking internal or external to yourself?

Second, ask yourself if what you're seeking is defined outside yourself or if it already exists within you.

In other words, do you embody the qualities you seek? Or are you looking for someone else to live up to a standard that you have not met yourself?

As you grow in your own integrity and understanding of sustainable and selfless love, you will attract a mate with similar qualities. That’s the whole deal behind "like attracts like."

Relationships are really an engagement of mirrors.

We reflect each other in both positive and negative ways. If we are wise, we nurture the positive and learn from the negative.

It’s important to remember that another person can reflect you, but can never fulfill you.

Finding true love is, in large part, about finding a mate who will embrace the reflection that comes from you, and make it safe for you to do the same.

A relationship won’t fix your issues — it will expose them.

If either party is unwilling to change or grow, however, the relationship will essentially be in "arrested development."

Deal with emotional baggage first.

True love will remain evasive if you don’t get rid of your emotional baggage, first.

Thinking that the end of one relationship is a green light to hop into another is only a setup for further disappointment. And doing so will only dampen your confidence and convince your heart that relationships are a greater source of pain than happiness.

Besides, dragging all that unfinished business into a potentially wonderful relationship isn’t healthy for either party.

Get comfortable being alone.

It’s imperative that you’re comfortable and confident being alone before expecting true love to show up.

We've all known people who bounce from one relationship to the next and are bewildered that finding true love is so difficult.

Many don’t even wait to give healthy closure to a relationship before looking for the next one. All in an effort not to be alone.

It takes time to cultivate the qualities that you need to bring to a relationship, not just find in a relationship. If you’re afraid to be alone, you’ll have essentially no identity in a new relationship.

It may sound cliché, but knowing and loving yourself is essential to authentically knowing and loving another person.

If you’re lingering in a victim mentality, convinced that you were the one wronged in your previous relationship, you’re likely to repeat the cycle.

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True love starts with you!

You’re probably seeing by now that true love starts with who you are, not who someone else was or who you want someone else to be.

That means being accountable for all of your own "stuff." When you own it, you can decide what to do with it.

Keep it? Toss it? Change it? Share it?

Owning up to your contributions — both positive and negative — will lay the groundwork for honesty and trust going forward. Besides, being a victim is a powerless and exhausting position!

There's not just one "right" person for you.

One of the biggest setups for failure in finding true love is thinking that there’s only one right person for you.

Thinking this way can lead you on a lifetime search for perfection that doesn’t exist. You’ll also approach every potential candidate with the built-in assumption that you're "settling for less."

Remember, you're seeking the sustainable qualities of true love, not a misguided notion of perfection.

Enjoy dating and don't lose hope.

Finally, there’s another consideration. Operant conditioning teaches that the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment.

In the context of finding true love, it speaks to the effect of past relationship experiences on a person’s confidence in seeking love.

If a person has experienced negative consequences to efforts made in dating or marriage, it’s unlikely that person will seek a relationship using the same methods.

And if everything tried thus far hasn’t worked, the person can lose confidence and simply give up trying.

When you’re motivated to marry, the idea of dating and building a relationship is seen in a hopeful, even exciting light. You’re steeped in who you are and what you have to offer to a relationship, instead of what you’re not! This is a huge confidence booster!

However, for some people, dating can be perceived as time-consuming and a source of anxiety.

That hesitation doesn’t necessarily mean the person doesn’t want a healthy, committed relationship. It simply means that the active pursuit of love — even for the right reasons — isn’t easy and enjoyable for them.

Finding true love may seem daunting in this technology-driven, impersonal world. But, I assure you, it’s possible.

I did it and I’ve helped hundreds of other people find true love too both through maximizing online dating and face-to-face opportunities.

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Amy Schoen is a nationally recognized expert in dating and relationship coaching who is passionate about helping marriage-minded singles find their true love and create fulfilling, life-long relationships. Check out her free Online Dating Checklist and visit her website for more information.

This article was originally published at Coach Amy's Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.