You’ve got lots of reasons why you’re not dating or meeting anyone new. And they all begin with the assumptions you make about yourself, other people, and the future. All of which are incorrect. Here are the three things you’re sure you’re right about, that you’re not:
1. You assume something’s wrong with you. There’s actually nothing wrong with or uncommon about being single. A 2010 census shows that 51.6 percent of households are headed up by unmarried adults, up from around 44% in 1990. (Source: unmarriedamerica.org). You assume one flaw is holding you back: hips, hair, age. Guess what. There is no height, age, or weight requirement in the world of love and dating. You’re not auditioning to be a Rockette; you’re looking to connect with another human being. Big difference.
>>DO IT: Look around. Open your eyes. Survey the subway, the restaurant, the sidewalk. How many truly gorgeous couples do you see? Since when is there a looks requirement for love? There isn’t.
2. You assume that everyone in a couple is happier than you. For every woman or man who believes finding a partner is the end-all be-all, there’s someone inside of a relationship dying to get out. Trust me on this one. Not saying it can’t be great, but life is hardly perfect on the other side. You simply trade one set of problems for another.
>>DO IT: Get a reality check. Talk to some of your coupled friends who’ve been together for 5, 10, 20 years. Talk to some divorced folks. Find out if your illusions hold up to reality. Recognize that your own happiness is what you bring to a relationship, and the idea that someone will come along and complete you or fix your life sets you up for disappointment now–and later.
3. You assume the worst. You’ve been hurt. So has everyone else. Past hurt does not predict future hurt. But one thing’s for sure–if you don’t open yourself up and practice trusting new people, that hurt will squeeze the life out of any potential connection. People can smell bitterness and distrust a mile away. And it does not become you.
>>DO IT: Open up. Your fear of hurt has you thinking you’ll be “smarter” this time, or better, or tougher. But none of these things makes you better at loving, and in fact can make things harder. Rather than run from this risk, embrace it. Counter that instinct to stay guarded, and open up more. When you go on a date, head in knowing that this person has had his share of pain too. You’re not opponents. You’re in this together.