‘I’m going to be single forever!’ and other lies that sabotage your love life
Navigating the single scene can be tough; but when you believe lies about yourself they can sabotage your love life. Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell, author of Single is the New Black: Don’t Wear White ‘Til It’s Right, explains
Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy – especially when it comes to dating. Years on the singles scene and countless heartbreaks can take their toll. We get demoralised and discouraged – will we ever find love? In these weaker moments we become vulnerable to dating lies – inaccurate, bogus messages we hear from myriad, but unreliable sources, and once we buy into these notions, our love life can speedily career towards an unproductive (and often destructive) direction.
Lie One: I’m going to be single forever
Let’s start with one of the worst offenders – the lie that, because you’re currently single, you’re destined to be single forever. Succumbing to this falsehood allows fear to take hold and that’s where the problems set in.
Because when we’re afraid, we relinquish an enormous amount of agency and power. Cowering to anxiety, we let panic cloud our decision-making. We reason it’s better to be in a relationship – any relationship – than to be alone. Even if said relationship crushes your spirit and robs you of you. We deny our true desires and lose sense of our authentic selves. In essence, we live phony lives.
And then we do some really stupid stuff.
We date people we know aren’t good for us – or ones we don’t even like that much. We remain in dysfunctional and abusive relationships. We take back cheaters. We pretend to be in love. We marry the wrong person. We stay married to the wrong person. We have affairs. We get divorced but rush into another marriage with the same screwed up dynamics.
We create colossal chaos, leaving a dysfunctional legacy to our children, if we have any, just to keep from being alone – because we deem it so utterly intolerable.
Lie Two: I must be too picky
If you’ve been single for any length of time, then you’ve invariably heard this one. And if you’ve started to believe it, you’ve probably thought about ‘settling’ for someone who’s ‘good enough.’
Why? Because settling never works. No one is happy with anything they’ve settled for – especially a spouse.
If we go with the mindset that all partners are about the same and just take any old one, we’ll probably find ourselves in lacklustre marriages. Aiming the bar so low may cause us to feel superior to our spouses, introducing a dynamic of inequity into the relationship. That’s always good for marriages, right? Best-case scenario; we pity our spouse. Worse-case scenario? We despite them and despite ourselves for settling.
Furthermore, it’s pretty cruel to ‘settle’ for someone. How would you feel if you knew your partner believed that he/she was ‘settling’ for you?
Lie Three: There must be something wrong with me
After a slew of bad dates and failed romances, it’s tempting to conclude that we must be at fault. Apparently we’re doing something horribly wrong – something that’s keeping us single – otherwise, we’d have met someone already. If we could only identify this tragic flaw and fix it, then love would finally come our way, wouldn’t it?
But our love life isn’t 100% in our control.
That’s not to say we take no ownership for our single status. Of course we need to learn from our dating history and recognise any patterns that may have contributed to the demise of past relationships.
But frankly, there’s an element of true love that can’t be orchestrated or cajoled. And here’s the reality that’s both maddening and freeing at the same time; it’s very possible that you’re single for one simple reason – you haven’t met each other yet. Simple as that. The love of your life may live in another neighbourhood and has yet to move to yours. Or you may meet The One at a professional convention you’ll attend next spring. Or perhaps you’ll both renew your membership to eHarmony at the same time and connect in that way.
Don’t believe the lies! You’re not going to be single forever. You’re not too picky. And there’s nothing wrong with you. Forget such nonsense and you’ll maintain a happy, hopeful, positive outlook towards dating and life in general!
Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell’s book Single is the New Black: Don’t Wear White ‘Til It’s Right is out now.