If you’re constantly swiping right but never getting passed date number three, maybe you need to pay attention to another relationship? The one you have with yourself. So is a lack self love the thing that’s holding you back?
The love you have for yourself is inextricably intertwined with the love you have for others. Which means, how you regularly take care of yourself, reflects the type of love you offer others.
Don’t believe us? Answer these few questions and come back to us. Is your love needy and greedy or is it selfless and unconditional? Loving selflessly sounds wonderful in theory. But emotional maturity doesn’t always lend itself to dating and relationships. Imagine those moments when you default back to your learned patterns of childhood behaviour (e.g. avoiding, blaming, seeking approval, “punishing”), how do these habits show up now in your adult self? Are these loving ways of behaving towards yourself or another person? These behaviours may be learned ways of coping or behaving badly, but you can change them once you are aware of their presence.
If you find yourself single or coupled and complaining, consider reflecting on how healthy your relationship with yourself is. If you would really like to change or improve your love life you need to first improve the way you currently self love.
The following behaviours identify how being high/low in self love can impact the way single and coupled clients experience dating and relationships.
If you’re single and experiencing low self love you might…
- Expect every date to be “the one”
- Be unsure how to set standards
- Not be aware of your dating/relationship needs
- Minimize your date’s bad behaviours (e.g. making excuses for dates lack of contact, commitment, etc.)
- Experience difficulties maintaining close healthy relationships
- Blame circumstances for the situation. Like dating apps, age, past, children on lack of relationship success
- Experience a lack of consistency and discipline in other areas
- Experience difficulties maintaining healthy communication (e.g. too much contact to none at all)
- Struggle with being assertive or complaining effectively (e.g. asking for what one really wants)
- Feel unfulfilled in other areas of life (e.g. career)
- Unaware what brings joy
- Rush in and out of relationships
- Be indecisive
While those who are single but high in self love manage to…
- Develop dating skills to attract suitable partners
- Consciously date (e.g. discovering if date is suitable for them rather than hoping date likes them)
- Be aware of dating/relationship needs
- Set standards & be decisive
- Be familiar with old thinking habits (e.g. all men/women are untrustworthy)
- Understand how faulty thinking can distort dating reality
- Be aware of unhealthy or red flag behaviour in dates
- Directly communicate – on and offline
- Take time getting to know a date
- Take responsibility for actions
- Be optimistic, positive & enjoy dating
- Stop relying on a date to fulfil them
- Create a fulfilling life (e.g. aware of importance of alone time, dating self & time spent with friends)
- Maintain close friendships
Couples in low self love describe being…
- Unaware of their responsibility to meet own needs and create a life they love
- Overdependent on partner to fulfill needs
- Pessimistic, forlorn, self-defeated, negative and unhappy
- Poor on direct communication (e.g. expecting partner to guess what is wrong)
- Strong to react and misinterpreting responses to think the worst
- Critical to others when they don’t respond to their needs (e.g. silent treatment, withholding information)
- Resentful towards partners who need independence
Couples high in self love describe…
- How their partner enhances their already full life
- An ability to acknowledge & appreciate apartners uniqueness
- Addressing problems/challenges by directly communicating them to partner
- Committing to their own happiness and being generally positive and optimistic
- Being aware of own needs and communicating them to their partner
- Scheduling time for self and relationship
- Taking responsibility to manage conflict in a healthy way
So where do you fall? Whether you’re coupled or single the fact remains that until you love yourself you can’t expect to walk into a functioning adult relationship. So no matter where you identify, make sure you’re good to yourself first.
Annie Lavin, Ireland’s dating and relationship coach and psychology lecturer, is based in Dublin and works with clients all over the world. Annie is passionate about supporting people to create and maintain healthy, meaningful relationships amid the chaos of the modern dating world www.therelationshipcoach.ie.