I have been in several relationships over the last couple of years but nothing that has any sticking power. All of my friends have found a mate but I can’t seem to find a guy who wants to be in a long term committed relationship. They seem like a dying breed. Most guys that I date all seem to only want one thing and then they are gone. How can I find someone to love?
This is the age old question that has plagued single women from the beginning of time. In some ways it is more complicated than ever, as more and more people spend less and less time in social situations where they interact face to face with other people. In addition many of the women I meet who say they want to be involved in a relationship have not really looked at why they aren’t in one right now. Finding love begins with the work we do on the inside.
I always remember the line from this movie, The Wedding Date: “Every woman has the exact love life she wants.” When I talk with women about what they want in their love life, whether it is recognizing the patterns and similarities in our previous relationships or the acknowledging the fear and mistrust that keeps us from opening to seeing the love around us, the search for finding a partner usually takes us through some internal landscape where the journey teaches us to see the forest from the trees. The reasons that we often make the choices that work or don’t work for us in relationships are usually complicated, often generational and habitual. But they are always also within our control to change.
The question that I ask everyone to consider when they say that they are wanting to be in a new relationship is this one: What two or three qualities would you hope that a new relationship would bring to your life. Notice that I am not asking for a list of traits that the new mate must have. This is a much deeper question about how you imagine having a relationship fulfills your life. Notice also that I mention only 2 or 3 qualities because the truth is that we are lucky when our relationships can meet even those few needs consistently.
Nothing comes for free. This part of the conversation sometimes will turn the listener off. But the truth is that whatever qualities that your relationship will provide for you, they will also demand a price. Most people in good long term relationships would tell you that they give up a lot of what they think they want or must have in a relationship that works. Knowing what really matters for you and thinking about what you might have to give up to maintain it will give you a good shot at both finding and making something last.
All of this said, there are significant and important differences between the genders about how they think about and commit to relationships. Raising both teen sons and daughters and listening to how they each describe what interests them and befuddles them about the other sex makes me wonder how men and women ever find each other. And yet they do, time and time again, even after painful endings and unsatisfying beginnings, people continue to open themselves to the game of love.
I truly believe that there is someone for everyone, in fact probably many someones. Wanting to love and be loved is the beginning of the process. Looking at how we keep ourselves from having this is the step most of us want to ignore. Being able to articulate what is most meaningful in a relationship is a sound beginning to attracting it.