Many people seek out counseling to help them answer the nagging question: “Why can’t I find the right person for me?” Being single can be a real drag, especially as you get older and watch your friends date, marry, and build families. If this is your situation, let me first recognize your pain and frustration. It’s not easy. It’s lonely. Your parents keep dropping obnoxious hints. I know. I’m sorry you’re in this boat and I wish I had the magic answer. Which I don’t. But I do believe I can help.
The first step towards finding your way out of this stage is to get a good read on yourself. Self-knowledge is a critical element of successful relationships. There are many guides to successful dating – but even the best map can’t help you if you don’t know where you are! So if you’ve never spent any time defining who you are, that’s a good place to start. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What set of character traits makes you uniquely you? What are your likes and dislikes? If you don’t have answers to these questions, it’s hard to find someone who is a good match!
The next step is to think about what you’re looking for in a mate. Some introverted people prefer to connect with other introverts; others are looking for someone more outgoing and gregarious to counterbalance them. Some people want a partner who can join them in their particular interests (such as dancing, outdoorsy activities, or healthy living); others are content to pursue those interests on their own and enjoy their relationship on other terms. There’s no right or wrong here; you just have to know what works for you.
Only after you have clear answers to these questions does it make sense to seriously search for a romantic partner. However, there is probably one more question worth asking yourself, namely: imagine the person you want to marry, and consider what s/he is looking for in a mate – are you that person? Often people will put on their wish list attributes like kind, caring, and sensitive, but they themselves are known to be somewhat abrasive or short-tempered. Does your ideal partner want to live with someone like you? If the answer is no, you probably have some personal work to do before you’re ready to find someone you can truly settle down with.
A final practical point: make sure you’re looking in the right places. A bar, for example, is a place where the main factor shared by everyone there is that they all want alcohol (and possibly a hookup). While you may find a great guy or girl there, the odds are not in your favor of finding someone compatible with your particular needs. Instead, look for venues that correlate with your interests and values. If you’re an intellectual, check out groups and events at the local library. If you’re a crunchy/granola person, try a yoga class. Meetup groups and similar cohorts are also great options for finding people with similar interests.
If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, I wish for you that it should be your last. If you need our help in making it so, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can help you figure out what hasn’t been working until now and why; we can help you to define yourself and your ideal partner; we can help you troubleshoot your current dating pattern. Call us up to turn things around for yourself today – things CAN be different!