by Andrea M. Darcy
Do you want to fall in love, but struggle to let yourself?
Or perhaps you feel you never even meet anyone you can connect to? Or nobody ever wants to be in a relationship with you?
What can you do if you want to fall in love but it seems so hard?
[Know there’s a problem, and ready to talk to someone? Our new sister site harleytherapy.com means you can book with one of our online or phone therapists wherever you are.]
How to prepare yourself for love and partnership
1. Learn what love really is.
Are you waiting to fall in love just like the movies? You might be waiting a long time.
Films, TV shows, and books are businesses that want to sell and make money. And to do so they sell us a fantasy of love. Often what you are being shown is just lust and obsession, or even romantic addiction, and not love at all.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realise this, and spend their lives waiting for some big, epic, all consuming ‘love’ to fall out of the sky.
This means they overlook people around them who could make a good long-term partner leading to actual love. Or, worse, throw themselves into addictive, destructive liaisons that fizzle out and leave them depressed and anxious.
Real love is a calm connection of trust between two people where you are appreciated and supported for fully being yourself, and that means all sides of yourself.
Read more in our Guide to Relationships and in our article on “Authentic Relationships“.
2. Figure out who you really are.
How can other people fall in love with you if you are so confusing that they are not sure who you really are?
The more you know yourself, the more you can allow others to know you and love you.
Learn how to hear your thoughts and feelings with tools like journalling and mindfulness (read our easy-to-follow “Guide to Mindfulness“).
3. Nail down your personal values.
We are all of course a work-in-progress. We learn and grow, and we do change things like our interests and hobbies.
But beneath all this change we have personal values that remain consistent throughout our lives (learn how to recognise yours by reading our article on the “Power of Personal Values“).
A secret to finding love is to search for someone who shares personal values with you, not shares surface things like dress sense and taste in music. Sharing personal values mean you will approach life the same way and agree on what really matters.
4. Do a life declutter.
Do you hang around with ‘friends’ you secretly don’t like or trust? Go out to social events you don’t enjoy, but feel you ‘should’ go to as they make you look good?
It’s a perfect way to meet partners you don’t really share things with and end up in one shallow short-term relationship after another, or never get into any relationships at all.
Be brave and let go of what does not align with your values. Start to do things that truly bring you joy, no matter what others think. You’ll start to meet people you can connect with far more easily, without having to change yourself!
5. Get goals.
Many people get so obsessed on finding a partner they let the rest of their life slide by. They lose site entirely of what excites them in life. Then, if they do get into a relationship, they expect the other person to make them feel happy which they no long do for themselves by having activities and interests. And they wonder why it all goes wrong!
Setting goals and working to reach life goals means you provide your own sense of purpose and self-esteem instead of relying on others for it. And goals again put you in situations to meet people who share your interests.
6. Meet your new best friend.
Yes, you knew this was coming. The old ‘you have to love yourself first’ talk.
Except loving ourselves all the time is a really big ask for most of us, and could even be seen as unrealistic.
Try self-compassion instead. It’s proven by research to boost self-esteem.
Each time you are being hard on yourself, imagine that you are not talking to yourself, but to a good friend instead. What would you say to him or her? Does your tone soften and change? Could you give at least that much support and empathy to yourself?
7. Face your intentions.
Why is it that you want to fall in love? Is it that you are bored with your life and need excitement? That you don’t like yourself and feel that if you had a good looking partner you’d be more likeable? Or that everyone else around you has a partner and you want to fit in?
A relationship does not solve your problems for you. If anything it just amplifies your problems. For example, those with low self-esteem often attract those who are critical and looking to feel better about themselves by putting someone down.
If your intention isn’t just to share your life and grow as a person with someone, then time to start working on yourself. Buy some good self development books, join a course or support group, or hire a coach or counsellor if needed.
8. Sort out your past.
Sometimes we can’t fall in love because we can’t be in the present moment. A part of us is still obsessed with an ex. Or we have experienced a past trauma that means we are afraid that letting ourselves love someone will hurt too much. These are issues that need to be worked through, often with a therapist.
Still can’t fall in love?
A good therapist can help you identify the core beliefs and childhood patterning that is behind your inability to love.
And they can also diagnose any personality disorder that might be blocking your ability to connect and relate.
Personality disorders mean we see and experience the world in a totally different way than most people. Examples include borderline personality disorder, where your emotions are so intense you end up in endless short-term relationships, or avoidant personality disorder, where you just find relating to others just too much work.
Want to work with a warm, friendly, and highly experienced therapist about your issues with love? Harley Therapy connects you with top therapists in central London. Somewhere else in the UK, or a different country entirely? Try our new sister site where you can book online and phone therapy wherever you are.
Andrea M. Darcy is a lifestyle and wellbeing writer as well as a coach who often writes about relationships. Find her on Instagram @am_darcy