A few wise individuals have started writing about the paradox of choice, particularly relevant for the dating industry, where apps and the internet have fooled us all into thinking there are plenty of fish in the sea. The paradox of choice is that there is so much choice that we cannot choose. We cannot choose, because there is a belief that something perfect could still be out there.
As all humans are imperfect, the search for a ‘perfect’ partner is futile. Yet, the paradox of choice is not the only reason why you might be getting in your own way when it comes to finding love. Here are the seven reasons, your friends daren’t tell you, about why you are still single.
You want perfectionism but not in yourself. Your standard is way too high and no one can reach it. Perhaps you don’t want anyone to reach the bar because then that would mean being in a relationship which makes us all vulnerable. Better to have nothing to lose, then to risk heartbreak though – right? Wrong! You won’t find your partner by playing safe, you’ve got to be all in. Commit to finding an imperfect partner and loving them anyway, safe in the knowledge that they will have to do the same, to love you despite your imperfections.
2. It’s all about you
The Ego tells you it is all about you. Every text, email, call or date is put under the microscope of what it means about you. But sometimes someone’s busy-ness isn’t about you. They’re simply busy. Sometimes they meant what the text said, not the interpretation you added that – guess what – you made up, when you made up that it was all about you. Other people have their baggage, their insecurities, their lives, their hang-ups. Don’t over analyse everything to death and give them the benefit of the doubt. Your date wants to feel, as I am sure you do, that they are important. So, make it about them and see where that takes you.
3. Over inflated sense of self
Slightly different to believing it’s all about you, but still connected to the Ego, is the inflated sense of self. This is where you are a 4/10 in say the health or looks department but demand your partner be a 7/10 in that area (or higher). If this is the case, your friends will never tell you. It can also come from a lack of awareness of who you are and what you have to offer, or back to point number one, your constant and unrealistic pursuit of perfectionism. No-one will be a 10/10 in all areas, which is fine – but there’s a hypocrisy in demanding someone is athletic and healthy whilst you lay on the sofa stuffing down curly fries.
4. Seeking Faults
When you have an over inflated sense of self, no-one is good enough. You search through their profile looking for the flaw that means you can discard this person. Again, it’s a great way to feel safe and to feel better about yourself, but it’s a sure-fire way of staying single. Be kinder and more open and most importantly, look for the positives. So, they’re shorter than the imagined partner in your header (or older, younger, whatever) but few marry the imagined partner from their heads. They don’t exist. When we are open, life can surprise us and who we end up with is who we truly need to grow, love and become our best selves. Who we need and who we want, are rarely the same person. Don’t miss out on your future partner because of some (often random) list of check boxes.
You want those you like to treat you with respect, consideration and kindness, but as soon as it is you that is not keen, you aren’t any of those things. You stand them up, simply ignore their texts and hope it will all go away. Before you have even gone on the first date, you are making demands that your date is keen, yet at the same time you seem oblivious to the fact that you’re the one struggling to remember their name.
Nothing repels like neediness or pushiness. A small amount of patience goes a long way. Let things develop, let them bloom. There is a time to sow, a time to reap and a time to let the ground stay fallow. You might want to meet someone this week, and cement the relationship yesterday, but that time table might not fit with your date’s needs or wishes. So, welcome to compromise. It’s great to be passionate, excited, but when you push it turns people off. If you are waiting for their call, don’t. Go out and get other things in your life so that this possible partner isn’t your sole focus.
7. Game playing
In an introductions agency it is usually established who will call who first, so that everyone’s clear. But, then it is down to both parties and common sense. There aren’t rules about who should text or call who and by when. If you feel someone is game playing with you, this would turn you off, so why do it yourself? Once the games have started the odds of building a solid foundation for a relationship start diminishing. Games might work for the fickle, fun seekers, but if you are serious about becoming attached, leave the games to the playground.
Your friends want you to be happy. That is why, even if you are in your own way they are unlikely to tell you (to your face). But, if you are single but regularly go on dates or look at (and reject) profiles then it might be time to consider which of the above sins you may be committing. The good news is that none of this is about who you are, it is about how you are behaving. And behaviour is changeable. So, recognise what changes and improvements can be made, and decide to move beyond, so you can find your happy ever after.
About the expert
Hayley Bystram is a leading dating and relationship expert, with over ten years in the industry. She started out as a wedding planner helping high profile couples plan their big day. For the past nine years she has been a professional matchmaker founding Bowes Lyon Partnership, her own elite matchmaking agency, in 2009 which is thriving today. Hayley specialises in bringing together eligible and accomplished individuals, who are looking for a committed and meaningful relationship. With offices in Mayfair and Surrey, the agency has helped to create many long-term relationships, marriages and babies.