This is a question I hear fairly often, both in my therapy practice and from my relationship-coaching clients. When I ask people why they think that, this is some of what they say:
- I’m afraid I’ll keep falling for the same type of person that’s not good for me
- I don’t know where to start when it comes to dating in the Internet age
- It must not be “meant to be” because it hasn’t happened yet
- There are no good one’s left!
In my opinion, none of these explanations truly stand up to reason. There is not some Grand Poobah in the sky pulling the strings and deciding who gets to be – and who doesn’t get to be – in a long-term relationship. I hold the philosophy that if we really want a relationship, we can have one – no matter our gender, profession, age or looks.
The only thing stopping us is ourselves.
Some of you may react with, “Stopping myself? I feel like I twist myself inside out trying to figure out how to have a relationship.”
I believe you. What’s inhibiting you from achieving your goal is not a lack of effort. On a conscious level, you’re working your heart out. My hunch is that your inability to find that special someone is likely due to your unconscious belief system and behavior patterns that were established during your early life.
The experiences that lead to negative beliefs that ultimately inhibit our potential could have occurred when we were as young as 5, yet they remain alive and well in our unconscious mind. They are the hidden patterns of thought so ingrained in our unconscious, that we don’t even realize they are directing our life as an adult.
Believe me when I say, It’s not your fault. It’s like the saying goes, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” There is a way out, however. And that requires a true willingness to uncover what your core beliefs are, and the resolve to do whatever it takes to clear away the beliefs that stand in the way of your potential.
Therein lies the emotional, psychological – some may even say spiritual – work that is at the heart of relationship coaching, therapy, 12-step recovery, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and any number of modalities aimed at making the unconscious… conscious.
Here are some unconscious beliefs that could impede relationship success:
- I’m too fat (thin, ugly, smart) for someone to love me
- My parents always said I was too sensitive (or too overbearing) to be in relationship
- I believe a perfect relationship, like the ones described in fairy tales, is possible
- My folks had a lousy relationship, and I’m afraid I’ll replicate their marriage
- I’m afraid if I do get the relationship of my dreams, I’ll have nothing to strive for or complain about…and my whole life is about yearning for things I don’t feel I can get or deserve
- I’m afraid I don’t have the capacity to love someone enough to be in a relationship
Because these beliefs are largely unconscious, they block our forward progress no matter how much effort we’re putting forth to achieve our goal. In fact, sometimes the harder we try consciously, the more our unconscious beliefs seem to dig in their heels and keep us stuck.
Most people, myself included, need the support of a trained and objective professional to do this type of emotional work.
It’s the foundation of relationship coaching as I practice it. My goal is to help you do the following:
- Become aware of unconscious life patterns that keep you stuck
- Help you understand why you may have those patterns
- Support you in clearing those emotional patterns
- Aid your efforts to get clear about what you want from a relationship, including establishing which needs are non-negotiable
- Guide you toward meeting your relationship goals
Deciding to change can feel scary and difficult, and there can be a lot of internal resistance. As humans, it sometimes seems easier to stick with what we know rather than go “poking around” in our pasts or our psyches.
But being in relationship with others is what makes us fully human. They give us an opportunity to grow alongside someone through all of life’s challenges. They give us practice in negotiating for what we want – and making compromises when it’s for the good of the whole.
So while you may decide NOT to be in a relationship for any number of legitimate reasons, no one, in my opinion, is constitutionally incapable of being in one. All you have to do is be willing to do the work.
The choice is yours.
If you’d like to get started on changing your relationship story, here is a 10-minute meditation that can help.