Why You Might Be Single
By Jennifer Freed, Ph.D.
For some of us who wish we were in a relationship, seeing February 14 on the calendar prompts the question: Why haven’t I found my person yet? But whether we’re longing for a lover or feeling no hurry at all, we’re always open to matchmaking advice from Santa Barbara-based psychotherapist and psychological astrologer Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., M.F.T.:
A Psychotherapist’s Advice on Finding Love
If you long to be in a relationship, but haven’t found your mate, you might feel dejected, rejected, and alienated from the world of couples. I see many phenomenal single women who don’t understand why it’s so hard to find someone. It’s painful to witness these exemplary women voicing their inner critics’ take on their as-yet unsuccessful search. “What is wrong with me?” the voice asks, invariable answering with some version of: “I’m too old…too tall…too short…too fat…or just too much to find the right person.”
For thirty years, I have been counseling women who seek satisfying long-term relationships. I have seen many eventually find their person; I have seen others remain single. The women who have found partners come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and I have seen no correlation between demographics and success. Sensational and gorgeous love stories have evolved from all types of situations:
One eighty-two-year-old woman helped her best friend die, then fell in love with the friend’s husband—with whom she traveled the world (and also reported having great sex with).
A sixty-year-old woman reconnected with her high school sweetheart; he now flies monthly from the East Coast to be with her in what she describes as an exquisite romance.
One thirty-year-old woman went on thirty dates in thirty weeks and then met her guy, who was completely not what she expected, but with whom she feels absolutely at home.
A fifty-four-year-old woman found the love of her life to be another woman, despite having never been with a woman before.
I have also witnessed exceptionally attractive, intelligent, self-sufficient women choose to keep their own company—for a variety of individual reasons—sometimes rather than compromise their fulfilling lives with partners who cannot truly meet them or enhance their lives.
If you are absolutely certain you want a mate, below are four key ways to help find the right one.
4 Tips for Meeting Your Person
1. Every day, be the person your ideal partner would choose.
So often, we look outside ourselves for inspiration to feel attractive and desirable. Rather than doing it for ourselves, we look to do it for a beloved. We want their interest to motivate us to do and be the best we can.
If instead we take care of our body, mind, spirit, and emotions as though we are preparing for the romance of our life, we cultivate an irresistible glow. Don’t wait for someone else to turn on your pilot light—be the light that calls out to the best (for you), no matter how far away they seem.
The people I know who draw others to them have no outer trait in common. They are simply full of such contagious and generous life force that other people simply want to be around them and with them. They don’t wait to see what life will bring them; they make active decisions about how to express themselves in the world and contribute to others’ lives.
2. Consistently have contact with healthy, happy, and inspiring couples.
Catch the vibes of folks who have found a great match. In order to be in a mindset to have a great relationship, you need to have ample evidence and confidence that great couples exist.
If you find yourself habitually critiquing other couples—saying things like, “I wouldn’t want to be in that relationship,” or “I can’t believe she puts up with that!”—check yourself. Energy follows thought. Attitude derives from the conversations and narratives we speak out loud.
When we spend our time and energy falling into negative conversations about relationships, we surround ourselves with pessimism. This is an outgrowth of the natural human tendency to find evidence for our conscious or unconscious beliefs. For example, if we think most relationships are burdens or most men are cheaters, we scan for stories that confirm our suspicions.
“In order to be in a mindset to have a great relationship, you need to have ample evidence and confidence that great couples exist.”
Try a new habit: Tout the virtues and benefits of healthy coupling wherever you see them. Scout situations and people for positive possibilities. (Great couples are also usually good at referring healthy singles to one another!)
3. Do everything you can to meet appropriate people.
I was talking to a successful, attractive woman the other day who said she wanted to find a great man. I asked her what she was doing about it, and she told me that she really didn’t have time to do much about it. Her work and life were just too busy. “You’re lying about really wanting to find a great man,” I told her. If she truly wanted to find a mate, she’d be doing anything and everything to reach her goal.
If you want to meet the right someone, put it on your top priority “to-do” list…every day. Consider the ways people meet their special person and make a point of doing one or more of these things often:
Participate in a spiritual group.
Try online dating.
Go on blind dates referred by friends.
Be open to meeting someone through work.
Travel on singles trips.
Volunteer at places you value.
Join political or activist groups.
Frequent local restaurants or coffee shops on a regular basis.
Hit the gym, yoga studio, or other workout classes regularly.
Hike with groups.
Take cooking classes, art classes, and other higher education programs.
To make it happen, hold the intention and follow your interests.
4. Refrain from all inappropriate hook-ups while seeking your healthy mate.
The one thing I see that absolutely derails the match quest is getting involved with inappropriate people, for whatever reason. Any liaison involving a person who is somehow not truly available—because they are married, or whatever other reason—keeps the psyche cluttered and distracted.
The more purely and truly you are devoted to finding the best person for you, the more likely it is that you will find them. Mind-blowing, outstanding connections come from open and clear spaces within us. Relationships that are noble and fulfilling take time. Spending our precious moments in trysts that don’t really go anywhere dilutes our power.
“Any liaison involving a person who is somehow not truly available—because they are married, or whatever other reason—keeps the psyche cluttered and distracted.”
It is okay to be lonely and longing in the midst of our search: Get massages instead of seeking out meaningless sex. Try an extreme emotional risk like a singing or stand-up comedy class rather than the far-more-toxic thrill of hooking up with a married man or woman.
The bottom line: Every day, act like you are a catch, and treat yourself as if you are the one you have been waiting for. Spending time this way brings you more joy along the way; and when you find your person, it will be as if you have been with them all along.
By Jennifer Freed, Ph.D.