Fed up of being single or having shit dates? Already dreading Christmas dinner this year when all your relatives will ask, head to one side sympathetically or grimacing, “So…er…how’s your love life?”
Yeah, I know the feeling.
I suffered four horrendous breakups, endless numbers of dates and short-lived relationships in my 20s before I finally found a guy who was genuinely worth my time.
I felt like I was playing “rejection text bingo” (extra points for one you haven’t heard before!!) and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong.
Not only that, but even admitting that I didn’t want one-night-stands, and I didn’t want to do the “young, free and
lonely single” bullshit, felt super-embarrassing. I felt needy; like there might be something wrong with me.
But when I finally decided enough was enough, shit got real. I sidestepped all the BS and found my seriously-awesome, current partner after just three Tinder dates. Now, I’m a certified lifecoach and help other women do the same: figure out where they’re going wrong.
Here are some of the biggies.
You won’t admit what you really want
So many women get squirmy and weird when I ask them what they really want in relationships. They say they’re “not looking for anything long-term right now” (even when they are), or they say they prefer being unattached and are just “not really sure”. I get it. It’s cool to be nonchalant.
Except, if you really DO want a partner, that’s not going to cut it. The first step to getting an awesome mate is unapologetically deciding that you WANT it. Be loud, be proud, be honest; if you’d prefer not to be single, there’s no shame in that. So say it. Put it on your profile. Tell the guy that’s what you’re after, and if he runs away, well, that’s proof your time-wasters filtering system is working. Next!
You think you’re “too independent”
What’s more, you see it as part of your identity. Maybe you’ve had bad break-ups, and decided that you’re too busy, too professional, too stubborn, too – whatever – to fit another person into your life. But the reality is, that independent streak makes you YOU, and it will be as fundamental IN a relationship as outside of one.
After all, no guy you want to be with will be interested in a woman who forgets herself as soon as love blossoms. So, OWN your independence. Nurture it, follow it. Let’s face it: the bestrelationships are not about losing yourself in them; they’re about two people helping each other be their most brilliant selves.
You think love is just for other people
So many women I talk to know plenty of others – friends, family, colleagues – who have great love lives. Even these friends – the ones who post their smug AF #blessed shots on social media – might even express disbelief at how it “finally happened for them”. That’s BECAUSE barely ANYONE thinks it’s going to happen for them, until it DOES. But, if you’re seeing all this evidence of successful relationships all around you, and still telling yourself that love isn’t “for people like you”, then in the nicest possible way, WTAF?
What makes you so uniquely weird or unlovable? Nothing. No matter your past, I truly believe that if you really want it, you can work through your shit and find someone out there who is right for you. The key is to see it as something that’s ACTUALLY possible, and working from there.
You expect a guy to read your mind
Relationships equal communication. About your needs, your desires, your dreams, and even the weird stuff about why you need your man to text you whenever he goes out, or why he gets stressed if you never spend ANY nights apart. It’s about being open with your raw bits as well as your sexy ones. Relationships get so caught up in “the rules” that we end up playing this passive-aggressive bullshit game, expecting them to know what we want and need, even though we may have never articulated it.
Before you get pissed off at someone’s behaviour – or lack thereof – double check that you’ve actually opened your mouth and talked about it first. Yes, some people are just crap, but even the kindest, most considerate, feminist, awesome person isn’t a total mind-reader.
You never chill the fuck out and be nice to yourself
Having nice things, including a great relationship, is all about making a habit of it. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not good enough for anything – least of all someone else being kind and loving towards you – then you’re unlikely to let even the most perfect partner in. “Self-care” isn’t just a wanky term people use to sell scented candles.
It’s a genuinely-necessary part of accepting yourself, treating yourself with some actual compassion for a change, and recognising that you deserve to be just as kind and loving towards yourself as the next woman. Not when you get promoted or lose a stone, NOW.
The right man – not that I believe there is “only one” – will love you for who you are, not when you’re richer or cleverer or thinner. Teaching yourself to be vulnerable, letting someone in, and giving yourself time and space to be, and accept that, is a practice.
Meditation, yoga, eating cream cakes, saying no to that boring drinks party, doing things you love for no other reason than you love them, all count. Try treating yourself right first, and it’ll be a fuck load easier to find someone else who treats you right, too.
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