Can’t Find A Lover

This post is one of a series that will show you how to start fixing a particular love-life problem. The love-life problem we’ll focus on is your difficulty finding a lover. 

Having difficulty finding a lover indicates that you’ve been out there looking around for one. Congratulations, looking for love is always a noble activity.

Chances are you’ve been getting frustrated, or you’ve already passed that point, and are now pretty much convinced that there’s nothing out there for you and you’ve stopped looking. Whatever point you’re at in this process, in this post I would like to give you something new to consider that might help you think, feel or act in different ways that may result in a different outcomes. It’s worth a try.

There are two things to pay attention to when you’re having chronic difficulty finding a lover. The first is how you feel about yourself. The second is to review who and what you are looking for. Let’s talk briefly about both of these. How you feel about yourself is extremely important when you’re looking for a lover.

The problem or advantage is, depending how you look at it, how you feel about yourself gets communicated to everyone you meet on subliminal levels beyond your control. Sorry, this is how we’re built. If you don’t feel good about you, other people who are interested in you will encounter that fact right away.

This is one of the most common ways of unknowingly pushing people away. What it comes down to is simply, if you do not love yourself in a real and practical sense, a person capable of loving you will find it difficult or impossible to love you.

How you feel about you, once you’ve focused on it, will be easy to determine. For example, think about how you treat yourself, as if you’ve been asked to evaluate how a stranger is treating you. Are you being well taken care of?

Are you doing anything destructive to yourself? Do you supervise yourself well? Keep yourself out of trouble? How do you feel about who you are and what you’ve become? It’s questions like this that will give you the information you’ll need to figure out whether or not your feeling about yourself is good enough to find a healthy lover.

If it’s not, you have to make it better. This will naturally increase your chances of finding a lover who is good for you.

The second item you should pay close attention to is, what you are looking for when you’re out there in the world looking for a lover. Most people never sit down and seriously review just who it is that they’re looking for.

We all tend to look for whomever and whatever is already in our expectations about finding a lover. Now here’s the problem. Your expectations about a lover may have been shaped by certain love-life experiences going all the way back to childhood.

If the experiences that shaped your expectations were disappointments, hurts, or traumas, chances are you’re looking for the wrong people, at the wrong times, and at the wrong places.

I’ve treated a lot of people over the years for the aftereffects of painful love-life experiences earlier in their lives. These men and women were now experiencing the limiting effects of these earlier experiences on their current love-lives. For example, people who were mistreated or abused by the people who were supposed to love them earlier in their lives, will often end up with abusive or mistreating lovers in their adult love relationships.

If these earlier love-life disappointments are allowed to negatively influence current efforts to find love, there’ll probably be additional disappointments now in adulthood. People afflicted with this problem often unwittingly find lovers who end up recreating the same kind of hurtful disappointment experienced earlier. The way out of this repetitive cycle of disappointment starts when a person lets himself or herself become aware that this problem is actually occurring.

Treatment for your difficulty finding a lover involves: 

1. Developing and improving how you feel about yourself as a person. The most practical way to begin doing this is to figure out how you can take better care of yourself. This ‘project’ will naturally increase your self-esteem and ‘lovability quotient.’ Be prepared to put some time and effort into it and be realistic. Sometimes change involves accepting certain things about ourselves instead being able to actually change them. 

2. Reviewing who and what you are looking for. Your expectations in your love-life should be reviewed and updated from time to time. As you grow older and mature they are bound to change, or at least they should. Part of this review is to figure out if who and what you are looking for is realistic, good for you, and whether or not who you are looking for is what you really want and not just what someone else wants for you.

Remember, past disappointments in love if unresolved will negatively affect your love-life in the form of looking for people and situations that will keep on hurting you. Taking time to identify the after-effects of earlier hurtful love-life experience can be a life saver.

A number of years ago I conducted a group of singe middle-aged men and women who would come together on a weekly basis to talk about love and their problems with it. One of the things I remember the most about that experience is the phrase “looking for love closed.”

People in the group would refer to “looking for love closed” to identify what a frustrated single person would commonly do out there in the singles world. “Looking for love closed” essentially means that you’re looking for love with a heart that is defensively self-protecting itself against any further hurt.

This state of ‘heart’ only guarantees further disappointment. You can’t find love without an open heart willing to risk vulnerability and potential hurt. Hopefully hurt will not occur, but you must be willing to risk it.

It helps to remember that you can always heal a heart that breaks, alone or with the help of a professional helper. If this unfortunately happens to you as a result of finding love, learning from what happened to improve the chances of success the next time around is the great gift you can give to yourself.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan


Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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