Remember the Beatles’ song All You Need Is Love? While it was written as a message of global love, it also speaks to the yearning of so many searching for romantic love. When you can’t find true love, the one thing that sounds so simple can seem so difficult.
Even though the median age for first marriages has steadily crept toward 30, the longing for love hasn’t hit pause.
Yes, young singles are prioritizing careers and travel in their 20’s. And statistically, millennials are more willing to put a hold on relationships — or even end them — in deference to advancing their careers or income.
And yet, for those already in long-term relationships, the reverse is true — statistically, anyway. They are more willing to turn down an opportunity if taking it would cost them their relationship.
I mention this to highlight only one of many reasons that singles believe they can’t find true love.
In the bigger picture, the focus on career — or travel or any other interest — is simply a statement of priorities and timing.
It’s easy to “want it all” — to step out of college, for example, and envision life’s banquet there for your indulgence.
But it doesn’t take long to realize that there are only so many hours in the day. And rewards and costs go hand-in-hand.
So the first thing to ask yourself if you believe you drew the short straw on finding true love is “What are my priorities?”
Sometimes even marriage-minded people have a timeline for living out their priorities.
Are you preoccupied with paying off student loans or building a financial foundation for your future? Does success in your career demand a lot of travel or overtime?
You may enjoy dating and hope to connect with “the one.” But, if you instinctively refrain from commitment because of job demands, you may not be ready for true love.
Not sure if you are really motivated to marry? Take this easy quiz to find out.
Let’s turn the tables and assume that finding true love is your priority.
Why is it so difficult? Why does it seem like everyone else finds it, but I can’t? you may ask yourself.
First, let’s take the word can’t out of the equation and focus on how you can find true love.
When I coach with clients, the first thing we look at is who they are and what they want from life and love.
You would be amazed at how much wishy-washiness there is out there! So many people don’t really know themselves, let alone what their vision is for life and relationships.
How can you draw someone to yourself for a lifelong commitment if they can’t be sure what they’re being drawn to?
The most important responsibility you have in the quest for love is knowing, loving, and believing in yourself.
What are your deepest values? What are your dreams for the future?
How do you “talk to” and care for yourself?
Do you have healthy confidence and self-esteem? Or do you shrink behind an inner voice that keeps telling you that you can’t find true love?
These are questions we tackle right away because they determine your entire approach to finding a partner.
If you don’t love yourself, for example, how can you expect someone else to love you? Would you want to be stuck with the responsibility of making sure someone with no self-love feels loved?
It’s important that you’re OK with being alone. Do you enjoy doing things on your own? Do you take yourself on “dates,” or do you sit around and wait for someone to invite you out?
Confidence is a very attractive quality. It resonates a self-assuredness that makes you stand out as a great potential partner.
I know who I am, and yet, I still strive to learn and grow. Because I know my strengths, I’m strong enough to admit and work on my weaknesses.
I have a lot to offer the world and a partner. And I am excited about sharing those gifts with someone equally confident.
The ability to be alone doesn’t mean you’re going to spend your life alone. It simply means you like spending time “with” yourself. And introverts tend to be more okay with being alone than extroverts.
It’s also important that you be completely honest with yourself about your expectations of a partner.
It’s far too easy to get lost in the fantasy of “forever” — to daydream about a $10K wedding dress or a $1M house.
Thinking that true love or marriage can be a rescue plan for what you don’t like about your life is a set-up for failure.
No partner can be “all things,” let alone “perfectly all things.”
So ask yourself — and be honest — are you approaching the dating scene with a long checklist of rigid must-haves in a partner?
Believe me, people can “feel” when nothing will ever be good enough for someone.
Likewise, they can also feel when someone is open, accepting, curious, patient, forgiving.
As you work on your own stuff — your self-awareness, confidence, values — you will naturally let go of unrealistic expectations.
After all, you already know you have what it takes right there within yourself. Having someone to share it all with just makes it more amazing.
Finally, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to the search for love. But there is one powerful tool I want to leave you with.
Delving back into old relationships may sound like the last thing you need to be doing when searching for love.
But if you’re stuck in the belief that you can’t find true love, you need to remember one sometimes-hard-to-face fact:
You are the common denominator in all of your relationships.
While that may make you cringe or become defensive, I encourage you to look at that reality positively.
The fact that there is one common factor in all of your relationships (you) means you have access to a wealth of helpful information.
This is often a sensitive area of exploration with clients, as there are inevitably a lot of emotions involved.
It’s also easier for people to blame an ex than to take personal responsibility for their own contribution to the relationship.
But I can tell you one thing for certain. The person who is willing to examine his/her role in relationships is far closer to finding true love than the one who refuses to look within.
Do you have a pattern of partners you choose? Do you always go for a certain “type” — “bad boy,” “good girl,” super good-looking, rich, sex-driven, partier, co-dependent, etc.?
Did you fight a lot? Avoid the hard stuff? Get too attached too quickly? Try to manipulate in order to get what you wanted?
Was there any abuse — physical, emotional, sexual, financial?
Do you have a pattern of jumping into bed and becoming intimate too early in a relationship and then feeling let down or regretful?
Do you have a pattern of sabotaging relationships when things start to get serious? Are you avoiding the very thing you say you most want?
If so, why? Did you lose your faith in “forever” because your parents divorced or an ex cheated on you?
Are you afraid of rejection, so it’s easier to just “make” the relationship fall apart?
Did you struggle with communication in your past relationships? Do you feel limited in your ability to resolve conflict or discuss difficult topics?
These are tough and vulnerable questions. I know that.
I also know that relationships — all relationships — exist to teach us important life (and self) lessons.
So, if you’re stuck believing that you can’t find true love, get ready to journey within.
As a coach, I can guide you through that journey and all the right questions to ask.
The process isn’t one of changing you into something you’re not. It’s a process of discovering who you are and what needs to happen to acknowledge your gifts and talents. Then to share your fine points in an authentic way both online and in face-to-face social situations.
…because only the most authentic version of you is going to attract the right person for true love.