1. You’re trying too hard
Trying too hard can manifest itself in lots of ways, shapes, and forms—from being too eager, to working too hard to impress someone, or to simply over-texting. But a good way to tell if you’re trying too hard is to take stock of your anxiety levels as you’re seeing someone new. People who are overly nervous about the success of a relationship tend to act in overeager ways, which can put a lot of unintentional pressure on your counterpart and cause them to take a step back.
2. You care more about having a “one” than finding the one.
If you’ve romanticized the idea of having that special someone to the degree that you lose sight of what a quality relationship looks like, this could be your problem. Settling for anyone that is interested in you just so you’ve got a hand to hold doesn’t make for a lasting relationship. Make a list of your non-negotiables when it comes to a partner, and adhere to it religiously.
3. You’re wounded.
Self-preservation can be sneaky in that sometimes, you don’t even realize you’re doing it. If you’ve gotten out of a rocky relationship and find that you’re afraid you’ll get hurt again or repeat past mistakes, you may be sabotaging your own dating efforts by chasing unavailable options or going after someone you know you’re not compatible with. Being ready for a relationship after a bad break up can take a while, and if you find you’re not quite ready, that’s totally fine, regardless of pressures that friends or family may be putting on you. Work on taking care of yourself!
4. Your expectations are too high.
While you should never settle for less than you deserve, it’s important to concede that everyone is human, and mistakes and missteps are unavoidable, especially as two people are starting to get to know each other. If you find yourself lusting after Nicholas Sparks characters, but are perpetually disappointed in your real life dating options because they don’t know how to ride a horse, or paint, or have Ryan Gosling’s face, you may just need a reality check.
5. Your expectations are too low.
Just like having too-high expectations can cause you to pull the plug prematurely, having too-low expectations can cause you not to try at all. If you write off everyone you meet as a heartbreaker, you may be afraid to put yourself out there. If you find yourself saying, “They’re great, but they’ll never be interested in me,” then you need to find ways to boost your self-esteem. Either way, working up the bravery to try and maybe fail is much easier said than done, but it’s totally necessary.
6. You’re relying too much on kismet.
Serendipitous meet-cutes are the stuff of rom coms, and of course they happen. But if you’re convinced that the one for you will fall into your lap when you least expect it, and then spend all your weekends eating cheese and watching Netflix at home, the likelihood that the universe will deliver is really thin. You’ve gotta meet the cosmos halfway. Take a shower, get out there, and let the love of your life bump into you in a place where they won’t have to know your address first.
7. You’re looking in the wrong places.
If you’re only attracted to beefy hunks, pick up all your dates at the gym, and then get disappointed when all they care about are protein and gains, you need to broaden your horizons. If you only ever go out at a certain bar, and the clientele there tends to be high rollers and you can only afford to hang with them for a week, Yelp a place that’s under three dollar signs and explore. Mixing it up isn’t guaranteed to be fruitful, but if you’re in a rut when it comes to your usual dating habits, break them!
8. You fall too hard too fast.
Controlling lovesick emotions is near impossible, but if this tends to be the reason people slowly back away from you, examine any patterns you see and ask yourself why. What is making you fall so hard? Is it a certain personality trait? Are you a sucker for someone who’s hard to get? If you can catch the traits that shove you over the cliff early, you may be able to manage them. If you can never resist a dog lover, and his dating profile lists that he has two, brace yourself for the possibility that you may let this fact cloud your judgment and do your best to police your reactions.
9. You’re unavailable.
When it comes down to it, dating takes time and effort. If you’re focused on your career, love traveling as much as you can, prefer to spend your free time on your hobbies, or let your friends monopolize your social life, connecting with someone new could be difficult. It may be as simple as finding someone who already exists where the components of your life intersect. But if you have trouble meeting people in your day-to-day life and you wonder why the few dates you’ve been on fall to the wayside, it may be worth asking yourself how much attention you’re actually investing in the dating game, and whether you can step it up a notch.
10. You want to be.
The good news about this one is it doesn’t require a solution at all. There are times in everyone’s life where being independent feels great! It allows for personal growth, exploration, and a little bit of selfishness, which, especially as a single person, can be incredibly healthy. There are all kinds of social pressures to couple up, but if you’ve paused, and after being completely honest with yourself just really LOVE being single, GO FOR IT. Even if you do want to find someone and can’t, it’s important to remind yourself of the benefits of flying solo for a little while. And just remember, the right person will show up when, and how they’re supposed to.