Falling in love with someone can be one of the most wonderful and miraculous feelings that you can experience in your entire life. It's a truly magical feeling, and it's not surprising that there are countless songs, poems, and renowned pieces of literature that all try to capture the elation and thrill of falling head over heels. In fact, it often seems like the entire world revolves around the idea of falling in love. But it’s not always as easy as they make it seem in the movies, even when online dating is literally at our fingertips. But sometimes it feels like the harder you try, the further you are from finding a lasting connection, and you keep asking yourself, “Why can’t I find love?”
"The first step in changing any dating pattern is getting to the root from which the issue stems," says Roxy Zarrabi, a clinical psychologist who specializes in relationships. The truth is that there can be many different reasons why love hasn’t come your way yet, but the good news is that it can, and more importantly, it will.
Read on to learn about the top five reasons you may be struggling to find love, and what you can do to break free from the pattern.
You’re Picking Unavailable People
If you were to look back at your dating history, how would you characterize the people you’ve been with? "If you consciously want a lasting relationship but keep getting a different result, you may be subconsciously drawn to unavailable partners," says Zarrabi. In other words, the reason you haven’t found love yet could be that you’re choosing to be with people who can’t really give you what you need and deserve.
If you consciously want a lasting relationship but keep getting a different result, you may be subconsciously drawn to unavailable partners.
For instance, you may find yourself drawn to men who don’t want to be tied down or to women who are only interested in a fling or being friends with benefits. And rather than being able to enjoy a deep, meaningful, and committed relationship with someone, you’re selecting to be with people who aren’t looking to be with someone for the long-term—a classic form of self-sabotage.
If finding love is truly a priority for you, Zarrabi recommends making a list of red flags that previous partners exhibited that tipped you off that they were emotionally unavailable. Review the list often, especially when dating someone new, and keep an eye out for the signs. She also suggests evaluating your own attachment style and the attachment style of partners you're typically drawn to in order to gain insight into how and why you might be repeating the same mistakes over again. Self-awareness can help you choose to be with someone who wants the same things you do and increase your chances of falling in love.
You’re Afraid of Getting Hurt
Breakups can be devastating, and if you’ve been hurt or betrayed by someone in the past, it can be quite challenging to press the restart button and open up to someone new. "Perhaps you consciously want commitment, but deep down you fear true intimacy, losing your sense of self in the relationship, or getting hurt," says Zarrabi.
But in order to find true love, you have to let yourself be vulnerable again, as it’s the only way for this deep and personal connection to take place. When you put up walls, keep your partner at arm’s length, and refuse to let them get close to you, this means you’ll never be able to find love because your connection will never move beyond a shallow and superficial level. The reality is that you have to risk getting hurt in order to find love, and even if it seems difficult to trust someone with your heart again, it's worth taking this leap of faith.
If you're struggling to move past these feelings, make sure you're looking forward instead of back. "When you are healing from a prior failed relationship or even from a series of them, keep in mind there is no such thing as false hope when going forward," says psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. "But to help your hope along, it is important to realize that you are STILL the one in control of your relationship destiny going forward."
You Don’t Think You Deserve It
Confidence and self-esteem play a vital role when it comes to love. However, many people are unable to find love because they don’t think they’re worthy of having it. These types of beliefs often have roots reaching as far back as early childhood and can have a huge impact on our lives.
If you’re someone who struggles with low self-esteem and intense feelings of self-doubt, it’s time to recognize that this lack of confidence is affecting your behavior and keeping others at bay. "Bringing these beliefs and associated feelings into conscious awareness and practicing affirmations that counteract these beliefs can be a key step in deprogramming these beliefs," recommends Zarrabi. Repeat after me: You are worth it. It can also be beneficial to explore these feelings with the help of a therapist or counselor.
Bringing these beliefs and associated feelings into conscious awareness and practicing affirmations that counteract these beliefs can be a key step in deprogramming these beliefs
Though it isn't easy, by changing your outlook and choosing to focus on the positives in your life rather than the negatives, you’ll be better able to see that you’re a special and amazing person who deserves true happiness and love. Put another way: "Know your value!" says Bernstein. "If you do then that alone will help you find a healthy partner because you will stay determined to find someone who accepts and treasures you for who you are." When you’re able to see and believe that you’re worth it, others will be drawn to your upbeat energy and positive vibes, and love is more likely to come your way as well.
When it comes to finding love, it’s important to set high standards for yourself. Rather than being with someone because you’re afraid of living alone or because you’ve been together for a prolonged period of time, you should choose to be with someone because he or she makes you happy, as this is the only way to find true love. If you’re choosing to be with your partner for the wrong reasons, whether it’s based on money, convenience, or a lack of other options, love will not come your way because your connection isn’t based on anything meaningful or substantial. In order for true love to enter your life, it’s imperative that you place a priority on finding someone who has the qualities that are actually important in a relationship, such as shared morals, values, and life goals.
Nor should you expect someone to change for you. Bernstein says to remember that while people can sometimes surprise us, generally what you see is what you get. "Don't make the mistake of unfairly expecting someone you like to be more like the way you want them to be." Sticking around in the hopes that someone will change for the better will likely only lead to disappointment.
None of this is to say that you should have an exhaustive list of must-haves in a potential mate. In fact, being open to people you might not consider "your type" could lead to more success than not, especially if you have a history of choosing the wrong partners. Zarrabi warns against discounting someone if you don't feel an immediate spark—especially if that spark has led you down the wrong road in the past. "Try to keep an open mind and go out with this person on a few dates to see if there is potential for a genuine connection to grow between the two of you," she suggests. Sometimes the best match might be the one you least expect.
You’re Not Putting Yourself Out There
From a young age, we're taught by movies, books, and the likes that love will find us—it will just fall out of the sky and we'll know when it's right. And as lovely as that sounds, it's not true for most of us. Finding love takes real work. Remind yourself that it's a numbers game. The more you put yourself out there, the more people you meet and get to know, and the more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more likely you are to find love. However, if you go to the same bars every weekend, resist joining a dating app, and don’t actively take more opportunities to try to meet others, you’re hurting your chances of finding someone of interest.
By spicing up your routine and putting yourself in the dating world in new ways, this can help put the odds in your favor and enable you to find someone with whom you truly connect. When you prioritize dating and say “yes” to new activities, pastimes, and pursuits, you’re one step closer to finding love.