Love eluding you? Patricia Flokis asks the experts to help lead you to romantic bliss.
If you're searching for love, ask yourself: are you really ready for a successful relationship? Of course, you scoff. You're not relying on a man to complete you, just someone to share your life with.
But, the truth is, despite our readiness to fall in love, often our insecurities, expectations and past experiences can scare off potential mates or unravel promising relationships before they get a chance to truly start. Here, relationship experts talk about common self-sabotaging behaviours and how we can avoid them.
Are you too independent?
If you've been on your own for ages, making room for a partner can be challenging. "There's an inadvertent sabotage that comes from that practical place where you've learnt to be self-sufficient," says relationships expert Anne Hollonds.
"If you're successfully single, then you have to watch that you don't come across as too good at it. Otherwise, a romantic attraction might look at your well-sorted-out life and think, 'There's no space for me'."
Alternatively, if a major break-up has left you frightened of being burnt again, covering your fear by playing the 'I'm too busy for a relationship' card could possibly be the worst thing you could do.
"What these women need, without realising it, is for someone to pursue them hard and prove
that they're interested," Hollonds says. "Most men aren't going to bother – not early on especially."
Identify: do I have a tendency, particularly when I'm anxious, to put up walls around me? Am
I emotionally ready for another relationship? If
so, what can I do to take more risks? What is it that he might want to see and hear from me?
Hollonds advises, "It's about finding middle ground as to what contribution you can make to the beginning of this new relationship, in order to let the other person know that they're important to you."
Are you down on love?
You've come through a string of disastrous relationships and it's
left you without much faith in the opposite sex. Simply, your expectations are down and your guard is up. However, if you enter all future relationships looking for reasons why he's not 'the one' or signs he's going to let you down, chances are you're going to create and attract what you fear most.
Being a little wary at the start of a relationship is natural. "It's how we develop our radar for assessing whether something's going to be okay or not," says Hollonds. "And, we're going to be more pessimistic the more hurt we've been."
But to move forward, Hollonds suggests: "Take account of your past experiences and learn from them in a way that doesn't become a blockage in the future. It's not about forgetting the past – it's about using it in a constructive rather than destructive way."
If you're paralysed by a painful past, Hollonds recommends seeking professional help. "A counsellor
can help you form a more realistic assessment about the things you should and shouldn't look for in
a partner and what your default settings are that might, without
you even realising it, become an obstacle in potential relationships."
Are you too goal-driven?
With life speeding up more each day, it's easy to forget to enjoy the ride, and that applies in our love-lives as well. Nothing is more alienating to a prospective partner than feeling like he's a tick on your list of things to do.
"It can be scary for any man to be wondering if he's part of the goal or part of the journey," says clinical psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack. "Being part of the journey means travelling along with the same wishes and desires as you; being part of the goal means he's the next achievement
on your list. If so, it's not uncommon for men to think, 'this is not the relationship I want. I want to be on a journey, too.'"
Any partner with long-term intentions needs to feel that what they want out of life is as important to you, as it is to them. "We must give consideration to our partner and their needs, and have regular conversations about our dreams and goals," says McCormack. "It's never good enough just to say, 'this is what we're doing and where we're headed.'
"Sometimes their goals will match yours, and if they don't, then you need to make some decisions
on the long-term future of the relationship."
For the full story, see the April issue of Good Health. Subscribe to 12 issues of Good Health for $59.95 and receive free Advanced Natural Rebalancing Moisturiser.