If your typical response to “How’s your love life?” is a disgruntled “UGH….I suck at relationships,” I’m writing this for you.
Because here’s the thing: you probably don’t suck at relationships and dating! You might just be overcomplicating it.
There’s plenty of advice about “how to date” or “how to be in a relationship,” which is great. But it can also start to make some people feel even more overwhelmed and stressed about the whole thing – as if they’re doing it “wrong.”
Why can’t it just be simple??
Well, fortunately, it can be a lot simpler – and way more fun.
All it takes is some perspective shifting, which is why I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways people overcomplicate their love lives, thus making it harder on themselves.
Of course, not all of these areas will be “easy” to overcome overnight. But hopefully, this article will help you begin the journey of extracting unnecessary and unhelpful beliefs and expectations that might be holding you back from finding your match.
We’ve all heard it before – “hide your crazy” – especially at the beginning stages of dating.
I understand the idea of wanting to put your best self forward, but I’m a BIG advocate of radical authenticity.
When you hide parts of yourself in the hopes of coming off as “easygoing,” “chill,” “impressive,” or even “perfect,” you may end up putting way more pressure on yourself to “get it right.”
Also, by trying to act according to what you think your date wants, you’re prioritizing your date’s perception of you over your assessment of them. Which is the opposite of what dating should be about, in my opinion!
On a date, you’re not trying to win someone over, despite that common perception. Instead, your goal is to let someone know who you are and then assess your compatibility with them.
Being authentic, never changing yourself for someone else, and remembering that dating is a self-prioritizing process simplify dating immensely.
I hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing as the “perfect” partner.
Although, there is such thing as someone feeling perfect for you.
Learning the difference between these two ideas can help simplify finding a romantic partner because instead of setting unrealistic or hyper-specific expectations, you’ll become more open to meeting various people who might end up surprising you.
Don’t get me wrong here, though – I’m a huge fan of having high standards (especially because it seems “the bar” has been lowered immensely over the years…).
But having high standards for the way, someone treats you and who they are as a person is different than more arbitrary, shallow measures like the brand of their shoes or how they make their eggs.
Ultimately, maintaining flexibility and openness eases the pressure of finding “Mr. Perfect.”
Another way in which the misguiding idea of “perfection” tends to lead people astray when it comes to dating is waiting for the “perfect” time to start dating again, to say what you need to say, to take the next step, etc.
Relationships are more of an art than a science.
So, trying to rationalize, overanalyze, and negotiate with yourself about when you’re ready to make the next move – whether that’s downloading an app, telling someone how you feel, or even breaking something off – may have you feeling more stressed and less likely to make any move at all.
I love analyzing certain aspects of relationships, which is why I became a coach in the first place. If you only use your heart and your gut and never incorporate some logic into your decisions, that can be a recipe for disaster.
But when you know you’d like to do something, that’s when your heart and gut need to get involved in helping you with the courage and strength to do so. There’s no “perfect” or “right” time, and the longer you wait, the more you may complicate things further.
When you try to force a relationship, it can backfire in a big way.
Trying to make things work with someone who may not be an ideal fit for you, or even convincing yourself they’re the “perfect” partner in order to avoid being alone or having to start all over, can not only leave you feeling empty but also lead to further heartache (and headache.)
Although some people believe relationships suck because they can take a lot of work, a healthy, fitting relationship should ultimately bring you a sense of ease and peace overall.
So trying to force a square peg in a round hole will only reinforce the false idea that you suck at relationships – even though it’s simply not the right relationship.
Therefore, sometimes the best thing you can do is accept that a relationship may not be working, no matter how hard you try. And letting go of something that’s not for you can give you the space to open yourself up to something that is.
What do I want in a relationship? What am I looking for? What are my needs?
If you’re “on the market” for a relationship but aren’t asking yourself these questions, you’re likely making things way more complicated for yourself.
Having an idea of what you want and need before pursuing any type of relationship is extremely helpful, as it gives you clarity, intention, and direction as you move forward.
It also is emotionally beneficial because if something doesn’t work out, you’ll be more inclined to have the perspective that it wasn’t aligned with what you need (as opposed to you “failed” or you “suck at relationships.”)
As I mentioned earlier, dating is more than just looks and external traits. There are also internal qualities that come into play – qualities like character, values, and how someone makes you feel.
While looks may be the initial thing that draws two people together, considering them to be the only factor in determining compatibility is a mistake.
Additionally, assuming that someone who may not be “conventionally attractive” is not worth your time and effort can be limiting at best and damaging at worst. There’s beauty in all forms, shapes, and sizes – so don’t limit yourself to only what you think is “ideal.”
On the flip side, if you’re desperate to be in a relationship, you may settle for someone that you’re not physically attracted to at all – which can also lead to complications in the long run.
Physical attraction is an important factor for many people when it comes to romantic relationships, so although it’s important not to overvalue it or be narrowminded, it’s equally as important to not undervalue it, which could open a door for dissatisfaction over time.
I thought I had a “type” before I met my now-husband. And he looks NOTHING like that former “type,” and I look NOTHING like his former “type.”
However, we were indeed physically attracted to each other. So, as you might suspect, I’m extremely grateful that we didn’t close the door on the opportunity just because we didn’t fit the narrow ideas we envisioned in our heads (which were likely based on outside influences instead of our authentic desires anyway).
Due to the fear of making dating complicated and stressful, some people try to “keep things light” and avoid asking deeper questions when getting to know somebody.
However, this mentality is a recipe for wasted time and disappointment in the long run.
If you’re looking for something real, it’s important to get to know the person on a deeper level. Ask them questions about their life, their passions, their values, and what’s important to them.
This will not only help you get to know each other on a more meaningful level, but it’ll also help you determine whether the two of you are compatible, which is the ultimate point.
So don’t be afraid to take things deeper – it will save you plenty of time and heartache in the end.
A significant way in which people tend to overcomplicate dating and eventually feel like they suck at relationships is by ignoring their intuition.
We all have an inner voice constantly sending us signals and messages about how we feel, where we want to go, what we want to do, and, most relevantly, who we want to surround ourselves with.
However, we often fail to trust these instincts and choose to let our emotions (“heart) or logic (“head”) cloud the situation and make misguided decisions for us.
Listening to your intuition and incorporating it into your decision-making is a way to ensure you’re making aligned, empowered choices, as well as building self-trust along the way.
Putting your guard up is an easy habit to slip into, especially after a few bad experiences or heartbreaks. But it’s an important one to break if you want to move forward.
If you’re not quite ready to open your heart, that’s totally okay. Focusing on yourself for some time will be more helpful in the long run than trying to push yourself into the dating scene preemptively.
But remember – there’s no perfect time to move forward. So eventually, you’ll have to decide when you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to the possibility of another person.
But the worst thing to do is to start in theory but remain guarded in practice, as you won’t be very effective in finding connections, but you won’t be giving yourself the space you might need to process either – the worst of both worlds!
Finally, letting fear get in the way of dating and relationships is a recipe for stunted growth and development in your love life.
This area is arguably the most challenging to overcome, as it may involve taking a deep look at your:
Once you’re aware of these fears and can identify and understand them – perhaps with the support of a good psychotherapist – you can challenge yourself to start pushing past them and transforming your habits and behaviors – perhaps with a personal development or relationship coach.
So – do you still think you suck at relationships, or have you just been overcomplicating them a bit?
By understanding and avoiding these ten common ways of overcomplicating dating and relationships, you can start to better understand yourself and your authentic relationship goals – then pursue them with more ease, flow, and trust.