It’s Not Them, It’s You: How You Can Be Your Own Worst Enemy When It Comes to Dating & Love

The dating world is continuously changing. From a time when you would usually only meet someone through physical social interactions, it’s now easier than ever with the digital culture that has given us social media platforms and online dating! Research carried out by the online publication Psychology Today found that 1 in 5 relationships started on an online platform. However, even with the increased accessibility, the most common phrase heard is that “it’s so hard to meet someone.” Although dating on online platforms is easier, it still appears to be unfulfilling for most.

It seems to be in common agreement that it’s still as hard as ever to meet the perfect partner or even suitable contenders. What many don’t realise is that we have a part to play in our dating experience, and the narrative that we bring is just as likely to alter how our experiences pan out. So how is it that we get in the way of our own desires to find a meaningful and genuine relationship?

1.  High expectations

The fairy tale says that when you meet the love of your life, you’ll know. But if the focus is predominantly on how tall they are, what their hair colour is, how much they earn, acknowledging whether they’re compatible with you won’t even come into question. Putting up these high expectation barriers from the get-go means finding someone that will tick all those boxes is next to impossible.

According to a recent article written by Marie Claire, Dr Gary Lewandowski suggested that, although physical attractiveness initially is important, this changes over time and getting to know someone sways how it is you feel about them. His research also suggests that what you think you want, may not actually be anything like what you end up with.

By all means, having expectations are good, they give an indication of what is expected in a relationship and how the relationship should be. But too many high expectations can be damaging. If your love interest ticks all your boxes but happen to be 5ft’10 instead of 6ft – is that really something that can’t be compromised on?

2.  Always on the lookout for the ‘next best thing’

A recent article written by Forbes magazine included a study that found there was a strong correlation between social media use and unhappy marriages and divorce. The study didn’t suggest that social media caused problems, simply that it played a part in adding pressure to relationships. Through the internet and media platforms, we’re often reminded that there are 6 billion other people out there in the world, which yes may make the process of finding love easier but also means we’re often presented with the idea that there may be something better out there.

Coupled with high expectations, it is easy to look at the partners we have and compare them to the online relationships we think look perfect. We only go out to dinner once a week but that person we see on social media is going out to eat several times a week with their partner. Getting caught up with wanting to emulate other people’s portrayals of an ideal relationship and partner, often means that we take for granted what we actually have. Appreciating what is in front of us is important, and the willingness to compromise on the factors we think are the most important is essential.

3.  Unrealistic demands

He has to be 6ft, earning over £100,000, prepared to father 3 children, and must own his own house – but never mind, he’s starting to bald so all bets are off.

She has to be at least 5’5ft, independent, loves to cook and be willing to stay at home when the kids come into the picture – but darn it, she’s not a fan of dogs.

Sound familiar? In the real world, it’s highly improbable that you’ll find someone to tick all the boxes, and a reality check – that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are settling.

Unrealistic demands often mean we create barriers that stop us from embracing a dating experience that otherwise might, surprisingly, be something quite enjoyable. Keeping an open mind means unravelling some of those demands and asking the question – are they ALL really that important? Ask yourself, if the tables were turned, would YOU tick all the boxes on someone else’s list? Or would you expect them to compromise on some of them for you?

It’s clear to see that the dating culture today has changed, the digital online landscape opens doors and allows us to meet and mingle with many different types of people. The downfall with this is that it might not be a great platform for those looking for something more meaningful. However, with all the different ways we can now date and find love, it is important to continuously self-reflect and see how we can affect the narrative of our experiences. So, embrace the dating experiences and get out of your comfort zone. Take those chances and have fun with it. An open mind will allow you to be more reasonable and realistic about what it is that you want and what it is that you need. Love isn’t just going to fall from the sky, it takes time, patience and self-reflection!