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Ask the Loveologist – Am I Too Young to Find Love?

Ask the Loveologist – Am I Too Young to Find Love?

 

I am confused. A lot of my peers say that you should stay single in your twenties but yet they are all preoccupied with finding “the one.” How can you tell if the love relationship you are in is the one that is meant for you? Are there signs to look for? What should I keep in mind as I move through different relationships? It seems like things have changed so much but also still are the same in many ways – what do you think has changed for the better or worse since you were in your twenties?

You have good reason to be confused. Love relationships for young people are more challenging than ever, in part because so many young people have witnessed the dissolution of  intimate relationships in their family at a rate which has far outpaced the majority of preceding generations… Watching older generations go through painful separations and experiencing instability during important developmental phases while growing up can make you doubt the viability and meaning of committed relationships.

Consequently, many young people are reinventing how they connect and interact both romantically and sexually. It has become relatively uncommon to formally date on college campuses now that hook-ups and “friends with benefits” arrangements dominate and offer socially acceptable mechanisms to avoid emotional commitments in relationships. This combination of forces makes it hard to even get to know potential partners well enough to consider a long-term relationship. Reversing the order of emotional and sexual intimacy has become more routine and makes the “getting to know you” phase more challenging and, in many cases, non-existent.

Yet, the preoccupation of finding “the one” remains in tact because it is one of the most deeply entrenched fairy tales we grow up with and is, in fact, a central part of our human code to pair and reproduce. Our deepest longing in life is to be witnessed and loved as we are. It is easy to become jaded about these deep internal drives which have probably never been less supported culturally than they are now.

Good and strong relationships grow over time. They are a critical and primary mechanism of human development. Most of us are not well trained in the basic skills of relating, like: developing a positive thinking mechanism about self and relationship; learning to listen and express clearly; and defining what each partner needs to feel secure. All of these elements work to enable people to understand and explore their erotic selves with another. All relationships start out weak in one or more of these areas.

A bad sign is when one or both partners is not interested in working at the relationship in these ways. For instance, someone who uses sarcasm as a way to shut you down more often than not, might not be a good bet if s/he is not willing to listen to how that behavior is hurtful or embarrassing. You usually know, if you listen to yourself, what isn’t working for you in a relationship. Being able to listen, trust yourself  and ask for what you need or don’t need is the mechanism of learning to love someone. This process can be messy, but conflict of these kinds are essential to holding onto yourself while loving someone else.

Many people, regardless of age, confuse the biologically driven experience of falling in love with the deep heart-growing work of learning to love someone over time. The latter doesn’t have the passionate fire of the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have incredibly powerful intimacy here. Rather, it comes as a product of all the other work you put into your relationship, not just the urge to mate.

Learning to love someone else or be loved by someone else can never take the place of developing the skills of loving yourself. No one can love you enough if you are empty of yourself. Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to love. Functional and healthy relating is a product of two whole people who are willing to invest their time and energy into building a positive container for them both.

Thinking about a relationship in terms of being a container that is spacious enough to allow you to be yourself, even if it is a dramatically changing one in your twenties and that of your partner is something that can become “the one” through your effort. I am not convinced that there is one right person out there for everyone… Rather, I think that finding someone who values your unique perspective and honors your needs is a rare and special gem that deserves the effort and sacrifice that long term relationships require. When you find this, no matter how old you are, consider yourself blessed and on a course for a love filled life.

More from Ask the Loveologist:
Our Sex Life Keeps Getting Smaller
Where Did My Libido Go?
What Makes Love Significant?

Read more: Ask the Loveologist, Blogs, Guidance, Health, Love, Relationships, Sex, Spirit

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

22 comments

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4:19AM PST on Nov 8, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:37PM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Wendy Strgar, Maybe you should write a report or whatever about finding love when you are old, older or in your twilight years rather than when youre young.
Youngies can find or usually find someone when they are young up to a certain age then after that it goes all pear shaped.
I am still looking. Cant find a soul or more importantly I do but its not returned which is depressingly sad. :o)I know someone who is not Australian but lives here and who is in her late I think, 60's or early 70's and has her eyes on this man who is in his early 50's. Most would say..well thats okay but its not. She is more than obsessed with this man whatever that is. I worry that she will get a law suit slapped on her b/c of all the dumb things she does to try and attract him. HE RUNS when he sees her.full blast. From writing passionate notes and leaving them in his letter box to walking up & down his street to getting dressed to the nines when she goes to her work at the same place where he works and cooks him meals..is this obsessed or what?
If she was speaking about someone other than herself I would have called it puppy teenage love but she is a grown woman and might even be a grannie..not that matters. But we all are bracing ourselves in the hope that she isnt sued for stalking. That is outta line and she does have a huge problem. Its kinda sick and sad isnt it? No matter what people who are 'kind' say to her, her ears are full of cotton wool and wont listen b/c she believes he love

2:47PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

I stayed single through the first half of my twenties but was in a relationship from 25 that I am still in.I have found as I have aged that it is easier to communicate with my partner without getting into an arguement.

10:25AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

Treii and I agree. Thanks for the Green Star, Treii.

4:59AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

i guess you're never too young or too old to find love :)

1:08PM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

nice

10:36AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

The saddest thing of all to me are the "hook ups" and "friends with benefits" situations now. I'm in my 40s and single and I'm finding that many men my age only want this too. And if you don't give it to them, they will just go out and find someone who will as the dating world is rampant with "hos." Men now feel entitled to get sex from women right off the bat...as they have in the past... and if you don't want to give in to someone right away you are looked at as a freak and there must be something wrong with you. I'm truly truly sick of it and why I don't even try anymore. If someone comes along who wants to give me the respect I deserve and wants to get to know ME and not five other women at the same time then great. But sadly I haven't found anyone who I'm attracted to physically, intellectually and emotionally who wants this with me. In my 20s though...I did. But it was a different world back in the 80s..at least for me. Times have changed and promiscuity just is not the answer. It never has been and has gotten mankind in trouble over and over from unwanted prgenancies to STDs to hurt feelings as it works out very well for men...but women are always getting hurt by it pretending they're ok with no strings attached when they're not. We're just NOT wired that way.

10:25AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

You have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else.

8:42AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

Youth is not an issue for me, nor is finding "the one", which I think is a bit of Hollywood myth. Live your life to find and honor your purpose and let the relationships develop as they may. There's nothing sadder to me than someone making it their life's purpose looking for 'the one'...what a waste of youth's time of discovery.

7:26AM PDT on Oct 13, 2011

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thank you for the article.

Nelson Baker Nelson Baker
on Why Do Cats Purr?
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Interesting,thanks :)

Thanks for sharing.

thank you for sharing

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