In August I did my last post in the Love Project series on the subject of family. I mentioned then that I'd covered all of the areas (self love, romantic love, friendship and family) that I wanted to but thought I might carry on because I felt there was more to say. So today I'm going to focus on romantic relationships again. :)
There is a lot of stigma about being single. Relationships are seen as the be all and end all of everything and being part of a happy couple is what lots of people aspire to. If you're single it can be really hard to watch other people in relationships and wonder, "What's wrong with me?" Especially this time of year which is about togetherness, so if you're not in a relationship it can make you think more about being alone. (The same applies if you aren't spending Christmas with your family or don't have many family members around you).
It can help to realise that there's nothing wrong with being single. This is a good article on why it's ok to be single: http://adventuringhome.com/how-to-be-single/
I also just found this post about being happy as a single person: https://www.meetmindful.com/how-to-be-a-happy-single-in-a-couples-world/
problem is that it seems to be a bit of a contradiction, people tell
you that if you want to attract love then you should be happy being
single. But if you're happy being single then why would you want a
relationship?! Maybe we should take the viewpoint that some people have
about how it's fine to be single but it would be nice to have a partner
to share your life with. (This is mentioned in the post above under this
section: 'Another belief many people have is “I’m incomplete without my significant other.” ').
This post gives good advice on things single girls should know about love: http://sheismore.com/5-things-every-single-girl-should-know-about-love/
It is God oriented but if you're not a Christian or not particularly religious (like me) you can still take something from it. :)
Feeling shame over being single
On the subject of feeling embarrassed to be single, here's a good post on Personal Excellence: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/singlehood-stigma/
There is a big stigma about being single, especially if you haven't had many relationships, or none at all. This is something I need to work through. It helps to have people like Celes from PE talking so openly about this issue.
If you haven't had much experience in the romance/dating department, here is a good article about being an introvert and dating: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/im_an_introvert_but_i_want_to_start_dating
The website has posts about sex and relationships and love and it's aimed at teens/young adults but I think it can be useful for people of any age.
Perhaps like me, you can find it hard to interact with others and think you may have some form of an avoidant personality disorder. In my case I struggle with letting other people close to me. A lot of it is to do with being badly hurt in my friendships as a child and teen. Also, as I mentioned below (see under Attracting love), I had a distant relationship with my dad. My grandad was the closest thing I had to a father later on and when he died when I was 13, it greatly affected me.
If you feel like this then you may feel shame over it. Or you may feel shame over never having had a proper relationship or not having had many. You might also fear being judged by others. I think what can help is to not ignore the shame but try to bring it to light. Here's a good article about shame and Avoidant Personality Disorder: https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/shame-and-avoidant-personality-disorder/
Note: I also want to say that I sometimes doubt the existence of personality disorders and wonder if they're not just certain traits, behaviours and patterns that some people have that have been classified as a "personality disorder" because they're not what is seen as the "norm". So they all get lumped together and given a title. E.g. many children who are diagnosed as autistic or as having ADHD fit the classification of Indigo children in the spiritual community. They are thought of as more sensitive than other children. But again Indigo is just a label. It can help to have a label for yourself and how you're feeling, so if you feel like you fit the descriptions of Avoidant Personality then it may be helpful to look more into that.
I'm not saying they definitely don't exist because obviously people have these traits and behavioural difficulties (I've thought at times that I have some autistic traits myself) e.g. if you're afraid to go out and socialise then it's not very good for
you and there are most likely some issues there that need looking at, but I think some of these can be umbrella terms.
If you have trouble with connecting with others and opening up then you might find this post from Light Way of Thinking helpful: http://lightwayofthinking.com/authentic-expression-communication-and-vulnerability/
I actually have Noam's book on the Avoider Mentality because while, as I just said, I'm not sure about "labels" I do seem to fit the avoidance traits.
Maybe you also feel ashamed for wanting a relationship because you feel that it makes you "weak" or your parent/s have told that you don't "need" one. I have felt this personally. I remember even at school I was embarrassed to admit my crushes! (This could be partly because I've never liked feeling vulnerable). I tried doing an internet search on this and I found a forum discussion on it: http://www.city-data.com/forum/relationships/2157896-feeling-ashamed-wanting-relationship.html
If you do feel this way then you might also feel embarrassed because of it and think you're weird for feeling that way. That's why I think it's important to not bury these feelings. Just because how you think and feel isn't how the majority of people do, it doesn't mean you're weird or there's something wrong with you. I'm coming to realise this. And there's no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed for wanting a relationship because it's a basic human experience and we need to connect with others. Getting together with others and procreating is how the human race continues to exist, so connecting with others is a big part of life. I briefly mentioned about how it's ok to want and look for love in an old Love Project post: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-love-project-romantic-love.html
Another thing is that you could be afraid of getting into a relationship. I saved an article ages ago about reasons you might be afraid of it and quite a few of them applied to me. I've just found a link to it, although I don't think it's the original site. Here it is: http://www.thedatereport.com/dating/advice/relationship-fears/
The ones I have are Nos. 1 (heartbreak), 2. (not being single anymore), 3. (letting someone get to know you), 8. (afraid of leaving your family) and 9. scared of change/to change. Perhaps some of these apply to you too.
For more on shame and looking at your shame and fear check out these links:
Now that we've talked about being single let's move on to attracting love. :)
If you're looking for love here is a good post about beliefs that will attract the love of your life: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15376/3-beliefs-that-will-attract-the-love-of-your-life.html
No 2 mentions patterns that you come across in relationships (or potential partners). It can be very helpful to look at your patterns and see what keeps coming up for you again and again. For example I've had people I'm interested in disappear on me and also had feelings for unavailable men. It seems to be that the balance isn't quite right- men who I like don't like me and men who are attracted to me, I don't like them (at least not in that way)! A couple of times I've met men who I like but not everything has quite "matched", I've been unsure about some aspect of them. I think this can be quite a common issue.
People say that your patterns often relate to your early life and your relationships with your parents, especially the opposite sex parent if you're straight/attracted to the opposite sex (I would think if you're bisexual as well, but in that case you might also look at your relationship with the same sex parent). With me personally I spent the first 4 years of my life with my dad but then my mum left him and brought me back to England with her. I only had sporadic contact with him since then and I found out he died earlier this year. You can read a bit more about my family here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/the-love-project-family.html
I don't remember much of my early life abroad, but my mum has told me that my dad was often busy with his work and didn't spend a lot of time with me. And then later on I literally lived on the other side of the world to him (he stayed in Fiji). Some people believe that stuff like this can create a pattern of choosing unavailable men. I am also wary of being in a situation like my mum was where you move away with your partner and live far away from your family and friends.
I know that I have issues with being vulnerable and intimacy and tend to push people away. Something that has helped me is this series of posts from A BLOG ABOUT LOVE: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/a-blog-about-love-posts-on-vulnerabilty.html
Scarleteen also has a good post on intimacy and the different types there are: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/politics/intimacy_the_whys_hows_hownots_and_sonots
And I like this post from PE about physical intimacy and how there are different ways of connecting to your partner: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/lack-of-physical-spark/
When it comes to looking for love it can also help to think about the kind of relationship you want and ask yourself questions about it. I've found these articles helpful with that:
Finally it's also useful to learn about men and women and how they approach relationships differently. Check out these posts from Kelsey Grant on the masculine and feminine and creating the conditions for love to thrive in your life:
I hope you enjoyed the post and if you recognise some of these issues I mentioned in yourself, I hope the links help you. :)
P.S. I recently took a course on releasing family karma and I'm currently taking one on healing love and relationship karma. They have 3 payment options and are very affordable compared to some courses. Here are the links:
Family Karma: http://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/courses/courseoverview.cgi?cid=490
Love & Relationship Karma: http://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/courses/courseoverview.cgi?cid=356&aff=