Will I Ever Find Love?

I have dated about three people in the last five years, and only one of those dates turned into more dates. I had a boyfriend for about a month. Then he left. I know I'm not the most attractive woman in the world, but I am a good person, I cook well, I like to get out and do things, and I am very caring and compassionate. I feel like I would make a really good partner to someone. Somehow, though, I can't seem to find love. Do you think there might be something going on with me that I am not seeing? I would rate myself about a 6 out of 10 on the attractiveness scale, so I'm not hideous. I guess I just don't know if I will ever find a life partner, and it scares me because I don't know what's wrong with me. —Waiting for Love
Dear Waiting for Love,

You rate yourself a 6 out of 10 on the looks scale and write that you are caring and compassionate. You say you cook well, and I take that to mean that you are good at taking care of others. Nevertheless, your dating life has been a bit sparse, I see, in the past five years, and you’re worried about finding a life partner.

It can be hard to meet people. You write that you are compassionate—that is a great gift, and it might help you out in some unexpected ways—sometimes following your heart and joining with a group that values compassion and helps others can be a way to meet prospective partners.

Maybe you meet people easily, but you’re attracting the wrong kind of person, someone who looks like they might be your type and you theirs, but you don’t click. That happens sometimes, being attracted to someone who is not good partner material. If that keeps happening, then our priorities and maybe our ability to judge character might need a review.

There’s another possibility, too. Occasionally, unconsciously, we send out messages that tell people to go away instead of come closer. Could that be the problem? Being close to somebody, especially a romantic partner, can be frightening. I don’t know you, of course, but I’ll throw this out there for your consideration: Are you scared and unconsciously scaring people off?

You wonder if something is wrong, something that you’re not seeing. I wonder, too, what your nonromantic relationships are like. Is it easy for you to make friends? Do you have one or two close friends, people you’ve known for a long time? Having one or two really close friends might suggest that you are able to get along with people, even though making friends is not the same as making romance. But it can be a step in that direction; it shows that you inspire and value loyalty.

Is your family supportive and easy to get along with? We first learn to get along with others from people in our families. What was it like growing up in your family? Do you have siblings? What are they like? Thinking about these questions might give us some clues and make it clearer what might be going on.

I wonder if you might consider seeing a therapist who would work with you on these issues. In therapy, you would learn more about yourself and your needs and what kind of life partner might be suitable, and how to get along better in close relationships.

Therapy is itself a relationship, a kind of trial relationship where you can experiment with different ways of relating, where you can try things out but not experience any consequences, such as losing the relationship. A therapist could help you see what works and what doesn’t. In therapy, you know, you can say just about anything and be safe. And you can ask a lot of questions.

If trust is an issue, then working with a therapist would directly touch on helping you learn to trust yourself—and others, too. The therapeutic relationship is a trial relationship, one with training wheels. After you’ve been together with a safe person for a long enough time, you will find it’s easier to be with someone, to communicate clearly and compassionately, and find a true partner.

I notice that I’ve used the word “might” a lot here, in the sense of “could be”—could be this, could be that, but the word “might” also means power, and I think you’re looking to make the change from a wondering and uncertain person to a powerful one.

So, please take this under consideration, and let me know in the comments section how your decision turns out.

Good luck!

Lynn Somerstein, PhD, NCPsyA, C-IAYT is a Manhattan-based, licensed psychotherapist with more than 30 years in private practice. She is also a yoga teacher and student of Ayuveda—the Indian science of wellness. Her main interest is in helping people find healthy ways of living, loving, and working in the particular combination that works best for them, connecting to their deepest energic source so their full range of abilities can be expressed. Lynn's specialty is understanding and alleviating anxiety and depression.
  • Leave a Comment
  • Kimberly T.

    September 12th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    I wonder why there aren’t more comments? I too have this issue of finding love(life partner). With myself I realize I have multiple issues that I need to overcome. To think about it is exhausting, but it’s what I want. So I have to put the work in. I feel that part of my lifes purpose is to help develop someone else with the gifts and talents that I have…so happy love hunting!!!

  • Brooke

    September 12th, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Trust me when I say that these things will happen when you least expect it!

  • ginger

    September 13th, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    There was a piece written on here just this past week I think that talked about how you may have already found what you are looking for by looking right at yourself. You should go back and find that piece and give it a read. It could very much help you put some perspective on what you are talking about.

  • Kimberly T.

    September 13th, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Thanks for the comment Ginger. I check back in this commentary periodically just to see the latest replies. I’m not sure who you were responding to, but was there another edition where they touched on what you are referring to? If so, do you recall the date? I’m a woman on a mission to find answers to finding and having a great relationship with a great guy. Thanks!

  • ginger

    September 16th, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    the one I am thinking about was pretty recent, i will see if i can find out the title

  • Ally

    September 18th, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    I have found that there were times in my life where I felt the exact same way, wondering what I could look forward to happening when it seemed that nothing was happening at all! But i have decided that for the most part the best thing that I can do for myself is to stop trying to control the things that are essentially beyond my control and just let whatever happens, happen.

  • Kat

    September 25th, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Thanks Brooke! I hope so. I am 60 now and lost my hearing at the age of 34 and have to wear hearing aids. I am good looking, but I am not as social as I used to be because of my hearing loss. Most men don’t want to deal with that issue too. I lost my home in the mortgage crisis, lost my job because of arthritis and do not feel very dateable anymore. So, I assume this is how it will end up. Not that I want it like this, but I accept it.

  • minty

    September 25th, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Love is overrated love yourself first and don’t worry about finding a partner just be yourself. If you like yourself then later maybe other people will want to like you to but if not who cares do your thing!

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