Finding love can be difficult enough without the expectations of family, friends, and social media chiming in, “Are you dating anyone?” or “When are you planning to settle down?” And if outside input isn’t enough, you’re likely to be thinking. “Will I ever meet someone? Or Am I just not cut out for a relationship? And Why is it taking so long?”
The famous psychologist Erik Erikson maintained that one’s personality develops through eight predictable stages, each involving a psychosocial crisis. Successful completion of each stage leads to the development of a healthy personality and basic virtues.
Why is this relevant to the search for love, especially for marriage-minded people?
When you start asking yourself (and the universe), “Will I ever meet someone?” you’re already in a state of doubt. More importantly, you’re placing your destiny outside yourself. “Meeting someone” becomes a function of chance, luck, or even what the universe decides to hand out only to “the chosen.”
Instead of despairing that you may never meet someone, perhaps try to think instead about self-fulfillment. And by self-fulfillment I don’t mean getting and doing everything you want. I mean becoming who and what you are meant to be.
If you use Erikson’s stages as a point of reference, for example, where do you see room for improvement? Were there any stages in your early development that you didn’t complete successfully? What “virtues” — as he calls the strengths developed with each stage — did you miss out on? And what strengths would make you more prepared for love and intimacy going forward?
Stage 5, for example, is “Identity and Role Confusion,” and occurs during adolescence. It’s during this time that questions of “Who am I? And what is my purpose?” arise. Sexual identity and body image are important parts of this stage. This focus on personal identity — “What do I believe and stand for? How do I feel about myself?” — is essential to the development of fidelity.
In the next stage, “Intimacy vs. Isolation,” relationship development becomes the focus. And this is where you may find yourself if you’re marriage-minded and wondering, “Will I ever meet someone?” This is the time during which you develop the ability to truly love.
It’s important to remind yourself that it’s never too late for love. You’re not “too old,” regardless of what you see your friends doing with their lives. No matter your age, there’s always an opportunity to grow in wisdom and clarity. And I recommend that this be your focus as you work toward finding lasting love.
Too often people rush into the guise of love out of a yearning to feel completed. “You complete me” may work as a movie line (from “Jerry McGuire”), and yet, see this as a warning sign if this is what motivates your search for love.
Think about it. If you are trying to find someone else to complete you, chances are that same person is trying to find someone else to complete him/her too. And that’s a lot of unspoken, unfair expectations placed upon people who didn’t sign up to finish the jobs that other people started.
Instead of going on a mad search for your “soulmate,” turn your search inward to your own soul. Instead of asking, “Will I ever meet someone,” ask, “Who do I need to be in order to meet the person meant for me?” And go searching for yourself first, before looking for your life partner.
I know that can sound scary — as if you’re signing up for a life alone. To the contrary, this is the best and only authentic way to prepare for true love and intimacy.
Love isn’t a magic potion. It doesn’t swoop in and “fix” what’s broken, no matter how good it makes you feel in the beginning. Your relationship will be only as whole, and strong, as each of you is going into the relationship.
Chances are that you don’t want to have to fill all the voids in another person’s life. Sure, it can seem romantic to be wanted and needed all the time. But that feeling will quickly wane when you realize that you’re really being asked to do someone else’s work. And if you don’t want to have to “complete” your partner, you can’t expect your partner to “complete” you.
So attend to those parts of yourself you’ve ignored or left unhealed. Heal your past wounds, develop those skills that make for a good partner, and make sure you genuinely all parts accept all parts of yourself.
Love your body, mind, spirit, gifts, what you value, and purpose in life. Become so committed to your self-awareness and self-fulfillment that you almost forget you’re searching for love. Believe it or not, this will make you radiate a confidence that is incredibly attractive to others who have a similar commitment.
When Deborah, a mid-30’s pretty, yet introverted woman, sought coaching, she lacked the confidence and felt, “Who would want me?”. Through the coaching process, I steeped her in what she had to offer to a relationship and her unique gifts. Within 3 months of the coaching, she met her now-husband at a social event that I encouraged her to attend. It was love at first sight! They became an exclusive couple a month later and got engaged within the year!
Communication is another thing you should always be thinking about if you’re wondering, “Will I ever meet someone.” In one way or another, everything in a relationship comes down to communication.
Too many relationships break up or never get off the ground because the people in them have poor communication skills. They don’t know how to voice their needs and wants, or are afraid to do so, or they make their partner responsible for their feelings. And often they have no idea how to resolve conflict in a healthy way.
As a dating and relationship coach, I work with my clients to develop the whole person, not just his/her dating life. It’s not enough to simply “find dates” for a person, especially if that person is marriage-minded. My goal is to help each person recognize, acknowledge and develop his/her best self. That way I can lead that client to the best possible matches…and ultimately the best possible relationship.
Instead of wondering, “Will I ever meet someone?” think about what you need to do to live your most authentic life. Be true to yourself. Live your life as you want to live it, embracing all the wonderful parts of yourself that desire to be loved and accepted.
You hear it all the time, I know…but you really do need to love yourself before anyone else can love you.