“I’m finding it hard to find love. I have plenty of options for dates, but I never feel like I’ll find ‘the one.’ Is this just me holding myself back or not leaving enough time for a stronger bond to develop?”
This post is part of the ‘Ask Ell’ Agony Aunt Series. Simply write in with your questions or dilemmas here & Ell will get back to you with personal advice.
Dear Mr Lost & Searching,
Ohhhh, the quest for LOVE! It’s hard to find love. In fact, at times it can feel like a goddam battle. So rest assured that this isn’t something you’ll be facing alone! The fact that you want to find it, and are assessing where things are potentially going ‘wrong’ for you, is a good thing. It means you’re not just leaving things down to chance and are going to be more proactive in your search.
So what do you do? Well, first off, I want to very quickly address the question of whether you’re holding yourself back. To do this, we can look at this post to understand your limiting beliefs about love. That’s always a good place to start.
Become Aware Of Your Thoughts And Feelings…
When following this exercise, also ask yourself WHY you think it’s hard to find love and establish your limiting beliefs specifically around that. Are your insecurities getting in the way – thinking you’re not worthy? Or perhaps you’re setting your standards ridiculously high when it comes to finding love, as a way to protect yourself… because really, you’re scared of getting hurt?
If you’ve been burnt badly in the past, it’s going to make you wary, but if you want to know whether it’s unconsciously holding you back as you try to move forward now, start by determining HOW you feel about it all. Then tackle that specific issue and belief that has come as a result of it. We can explore these further together once you’ve done the exercise if you like.
What else comes into it? What else should you do to make the process of finding love easier? Well…
Get Clear On What You Want
If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you’re going to find it far more difficult to find it. You’ll float around from match to match, date to date, feeling kind of unfulfilled, feeling like something’s missing. Yet you don’t even know WHAT’S missing.
So take a little time to assess what you want in a partner. Start with a brainstorm – write down all the things that would make up your dream woman. If you’re not sure, just write the things you do know. (You don’t have to have everything figured out straight away!) Once you’ve dumped a load of things, look at your list, assess it, tweak it, then the last step is to circle the things that are ‘dealbreakers’, and separate these from the ‘desirables.’
I’ll pull together a new post for how to figure out what you want in a partner (just subscribe below to be notified of it) – but that’s the essence of the process. The starting base.
Once you have your list, you may find that it changes as you meet different people – and that’s great, it’s not set in stone! But what it means is by having this, you’ll go into your dates with more clarity and purpose. You’re being more strategic about it which is going to save you a lot of time.
Better Qualify Your Matches
Once you have your list, you know what you’re looking for, and you know the most important things you want in a partner, you can better qualify your potential dates before they happen. This Guidebook helps you to do that – click here to see.
Try to get to know people on a deeper level before you arrange to meet. Don’t just keep the conversation safe and one-dimensional, really dig deeper to get to know them, but make the chat flow naturally. If you struggle on messages, arrange a quick call. This speeds up the process and builds on the initial bond you may be forming. If you’re still interested and engaged after a week, then arrange a date. Because that’s also something that’s probably making it hard to find love…
I get the impression that you have all these options for dates, but how many do you actually go on? Don’t let things fizzle out before you’ve given things a proper chance. Dating can be a bit of a numbers game. It is hard to find love and it will take time to find love. But you’ll make it happen by putting yourself out there more.
On the flip side, you don’t want to overdate (which is why we do want to do a little qualifying before deciding who to go on a date with) but if you can tighten up your qualifying process and then progress things with those that actually have potential – you’ll find yourself getting far further with it all.
You also want to gain momentum with it, like I said above, to avoid things fizzling out and you ending up missing opportunities. It should go like this:
- You match on a dating app.
- Spend the time to genuinely get to know the person.
- Organise a little call.
- Plan a date on that call.
- Set the date and ATTEND the date.
- Let it flow. Have fun with it.
- Assess afterwards how you feel.
- If there’s still potential there, arrange a second date. If not and you know for sure that you’re not feeling it with this person or they’re not what you want- you can still keep in touch, you don’t need to cut them out completely. Great friendships can actually come from dating too you know. You just won’t be investing as much into that person as you shift your focus onto other people in your quest to find love!
You see? You’re not just chatting with countless people, you’re actually giving each person a fair shot and are pushing things through to the next stage to find out if there’s something there. One thing I would say however is…
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On It
I know you want to find the right person, but when you do go on these dates, don’t put pressure on it. If you’re so conscious of your search for “the one”, you’re going to suck the fun out of it! You’re also probably going to overanalyse or end up putting yourself off a person just if things don’t go exactly how you envisioned it, straight from the first ‘meeting.’
So relax, make your date feel relaxed, have the sole purpose on that date of simply HAVING FUN and getting to know that person, looking to connect with them and seeing them for them. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. You’re not wife shopping just yet!
Focus On Yourself More
Aside from all of this, I want you to also shift your focus onto YOU… which may seem kinda funny right? If you want to find someone else, shouldn’t the focus be on THEM? Well actually, no. There’s a quote I love and it goes a little like this.
“Love isn’t about finding the right person. Love is about becoming the right person – because that’s what you’ll attract. Stop looking for someone to spend your life with and instead, become the person you want to spend your life with.”
Powerful, huh? We can do all the right things, have all the processes in the world, but fundamentally, you won’t meet the right person until you become the right person so I honestly can’t stress enough how invaluable it is to spend this time now, working on yourself.
Look at your list of what you want in a partner – an ideal partner – and ask yourself:
- Am I the kind of person who they would be attracted to?
- Am I being the best version of myself?
- What areas can I work on?
- What areas do I WANT to work on?
Give yourself this time now to build yourself up and become everything that you can be, because I promise you, it will start to attract far better people back.
You WILL find someone who excites you, who jumps out to you, who you click with on a whole new level. But only when you are the person who’s the right fit for them.
Maybe you’ve not found that person yet, because you’re not that person yet. And that’s okay. There’s no rush. This is your journey. A chapter of your life. But you choose how you write the next one… so make it everything that you want it to be!
Hope this helps. Good luck, take care, and keep in touch! All the best.