You say you want a relationship, but are you sure? I ask because I don’t think a lot of us actually do.
Trust me, I’m guilty of making this mistake, too. On a conscious level, we may think we’re ready—we want a meaningful connection, we want to share adventures with someone, we want a travel partner, we want all the feels of a relationship but with a singles-oriented mentality. And that's a problem.
What does a single-oriented mentality look like? It's noncommittal, it doesn't communicate clearly, it doesn’t risk being vulnerable, and it's unwilling to sacrifice habits and ways of life. And the results speak for itself. We attract (and are attracted) to other unavailable people, also unwilling to commit. Sound familiar?
This isn’t necessarily your fault. It's difficult to identify those unconscious things we do that keep us from commitment. But until we have awareness of what's causing our behavior, we will continue running on the relationship hamster wheel going nowhere.
So, look at your patterns.
If you’re not getting the results you want, there might be a reason for that. Look at your romantic history, and consider the following:
- Do you date people who are unavailable—emotionally or physically?
- Are you attracted to people who need "saving"?
- Do you give more than you receive?
- Do you take more than you give?
- Do you only feel chemistry with people who are inconsistent, have intimacy issues, or are emotionally unstable?
Reflect on your past, and see if you can find a pattern. Try to be objective: this is all data for you to grow from. Then ask yourself: Why are you drawn to these types of people? Why do you choose them? Why do you stay in it? Why does the same ending keep repeating just with different people?
If you have a history of unhealthy relationships or being treated poorly—there may be a wound that you have not dealt with. And, as Harville Hendrix, PhD, and author of NYTimes Bestseller Getting the Love You Want explains, this wound may be the reason you seek out the same unhealthy relationship dynamic over and over again.
Harville's theory is that our adult selves, without consciously doing so, often recreate familiar scenarios that mirror how we were wounded as children, and we do this as an attempt to finally heal that wound. Our adult selves can do this over, and over again; and if we're not aware of it, it can create really unhealthy patterns.
I know this theory played out in my own life. I felt abandoned and unsafe due to the dynamic with my father. I felt anxiety, fear and resentment, and this kept being reinforced as a child. Growing up, the relationships I kept attracting would leave me feeling exactly the same way. The emotions that I felt at 5 years old, were the exact emotions I would repeatedly battle in my dynamics with men 20, 30 years later. But, as I’ve become aware of these patterns, I’ve been making different choices and sitting in the discomfort of those choices to intentionally rewire.
Don’t let the elusive spark blind you to lack of commitment.
The prevailing romantic narrative trains us to be a slave to chemistry—"the spark". But chemistry can really mess with you. Your connection, no matter how intense, won't mean anything without follow-through and action.
Commitment goes beyond the romantic girlfriend/boyfriend title. Rather, it’s a way of being. It's about how you show up, consistently for everyone in your life. You don't act committed only when you meet “the one”. Showing up as a kind, consistent, reliable, honest, intentional, loving person with everyone, is a true sign that someone is ready for more than just a fleeting romance. Does that sound like you?
I challenge you to not just look at how he is behaving, but consider how you might behaving, too. Sit back and observe through time how you show up. It’s the consistency, your default way of being that reveals how ready you really are to meet the right person.
If you are serious about wanting a romantic partnership and you’re not getting what you want—over and over—there may be something going on within yourself that is waiting to be unveiled. Once you are aware of your wounds and your patterns, only then can you start to address them and start taking action for growth.