“Fix your contentment issues while you’re single or they’ll be the same issues that end your relationship.”
I have been single now for a total of two years. Before that, it was six years. I had a few flings and situationships in between but nonetheless, I was considered single. One of the reasons I started this blog was because my relationship status was single 90% of the time. Through these years of being single, I sometimes wondered “Is there something wrong with me?” I mean I know I’m attractive, intelligent, I have a great sense of humor, plus I’m ambitious enough for two people but why am I still single? The common denominator in these failed attempts to become someone’s wifey always ended the same; either with him saying “I’m not looking for anything right now” or his once daily texts dwindling down to a text once a week so I eventually stopped trying. When I sat alone with my thoughts, I had to face myself and really wonder if there was something wrong with me. Those were sad, heartfelt moments because I really wanted to know if I was the problem.
“My mindset told me that I must not be that great of a catch because no one had caught me yet so I must go after them.”
After coming out of a toxic relationship that I chose to be in because I was tired of being single, I had to come back to this same question and I finally got my answer. There was actually nothing wrong with me, there was something wrong with my mindset. The way I thought effected how I behaved. How I behaved formed a pattern that eventually formed a subconscious identity; broken girl. My mindset told me that I must not be that great of a catch because no one had caught me yet so I must go after them. This created an irrational eagerness to go after every man I thought had potential to be my boyfriend. When that didn’t work, I started to think maybe I should lower my standards because they’re too high. When I started giving men a chance that I would never look at, it was cool at first because they treated me pretty well. It seemed as if they felt I was “out of their league” so they went above and beyond…at first. Then insecurity started rearing its ugly little head and I was back at square one. After coming out of that toxic relationship, I realized how much my self-defeating thoughts had shaped a dating cycle that I couldn’t escape from until I changed my thought process. Here were the 5 Self-Defeating Mindsets that kept me constantly single.
1.If I had a boyfriend/husband, I would be happier: For a long time, I felt this way. Then I got a boyfriend and realized it didn’t automatically make me happier. When I was single, all I could focus on was how great it would be to be in a relationship. I didn’t realize the work relationships took. I had been single for so long that I forgot. Even happy relationships take work. You have to constantly be mindful of how someone else feels 24/7. If they’re having a bad day, you have to figure out why and try to help them through it. And don’t let there be an argument, you then can’t focus on what you have going on long enough to get any work done because you’re too emotional about the argument. The moral of the story is, you will not necessarily be happier in a relationship. I know some married people who yearn to relive their single days and people in relationships strategizing their breakup because they miss the freedom. We all feel like the grass is greener on the other side.
If you dwell too much on how awful being single is, you’ll miss the time you need to learn how to be content and happy alone. Most likely, if you can’t be happy single, you’ll find a reason not to be happy in a relationship. This could be why many of your situations don’t work. You may constantly find a flaw in everything because something within you just isn’t happy. Maybe you’re unhappy with your career? Maybe you don’t like how you look and you think having a mate will make you more confident? Maybe you don’t have many friends and you want a mate to be your best friend and that’ll solve the problem? One question…what if it doesn’t? What if you get into the relationship and that person has a great career and seeing them makes you envious? What if your mate doesn’t compliment you enough and it makes you feel even more insecure? What if your mate has a life and can’t be under you all the time and you still feel lonely? Having someone doesn’t fix your problems. Fix your contentment issues while you’re single or they’ll be the same issues that end your relationship (For more on contentment, see How to Be Single & Content).
2.I’m running out of time: I don’t know about you but social media sure makes you feel like you’re running out of time. As I scroll down my Facebook and Instagram timelines, everyone is pregnant, engaged, planning a wedding, or planning a divorce. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how I’m still sleepy after getting seven hours of sleep plus a nap. If I feel unrested now, I can only imagine how unrested I’m going to feel when I get a family. But that’s a story for another day. If you’re constantly tracking your imaginary deadline for when you’re supposed to be married with kids and buying your second home, you have no time to enjoy dating. It is no longer fun or exciting for you, it feels like a task. And if this is how you move, no wonder you’re still single. No man wants a woman with a check list! Men have a hard enough time trying to remember where they parked their car on the date. You think he is trying to think about a future on the first outing?! NOT!
For a long time, I dated all wrong. I went into every situation as if the guy would be my husband so I had to pay attention and really analyze the date. I put way too much pressure on dates and the guy. This caused me to miss out on the fun of living in the moment and it also made the guy uncomfortable. Men can sense when you’re going off of a checklist rather than letting it flow. They despise it because they aren’t wired the way we are. If this is how you’re dating, there’s nothing wrong with you but there is something very wrong with your dating strategy. You’re NOT running out of time so live in the moment and enjoy your dating season. Once you’re married and helping your husband find the car he parked 5 minutes ago, you’re going to wish you had more fun while you were single.
3.Maybe I’m asking for too much: This has got to be the biggest brainwash tactic of men. I think they had a meeting and decided to tell women who have standards that they’re asking for too much. What’s crazy is, this crap actually works! Women, stay woke because men are out here thriving on mediocrity because they’re convincing you that you’re asking for too much. I realized it after deciding to date outside of my box because I had a ridiculous type in high school and college. I literally only dated men who looked a certain way. (This could also be a reason you’re single, you have horrible taste in men. I’ll discuss that briefly later.) I wanted my man to be fine, tall, and he had to dress nice. I preferred a man with an education and goals but I really wasn’t thinking too much about his morality. After a while, I kept hitting a dead end with these men. Then I sought the advice of a male friend on what I was looking for and he blurted out “You’re asking for too much!”
Equipped with this new information, I started to believe him. Maybe I was asking for too much. So I began to date men that I wasn’t attracted to AT ALL and guess what…THEY PLAYED ME! The worst feeling in the world is to get played by the person you settled for. Whoo chile that’s a different level of hurt feelings. But what it taught me was, I wasn’t asking for too much, I was just focused on the wrong thing. I am a firm believer of not settling. I think we all can get exactly what we need in a mate. Don’t miss it, I said NEED. I was so focused on looks that I wasn’t judging off of a man’s character and that’s why I wasn’t getting anywhere with the men I was choosing before. I was only concerned with looks and how well he dressed versus if he has a relationship with God or how well does he treat random strangers. I still want to be very attracted to him but that’s not my only concern anymore. The moral of the story is don’t lower your standards, adjust your criteria (BARS!!!).
4.There has to be something wrong with me…If you think that there’s something wrong with you, then you will date like there is something wrong. You will settle for men you think you’re “good enough” for because you think a man of a certain caliber won’t date a woman like you.
After a while, this was exactly how I felt. I had been rejected so many times that I just settled into my identity as “damaged goods”. I then began to date men who needed me because I felt if they needed me, they wouldn’t leave me. This led me to making some very peculiar choices in men. Most of the time the choices I selected got on my last nerve so I ended up dumping them. Other times, they were just down right F boys that were using me for sex, attention when they were bored, or money so I had to cut that quickly. But because I thought I wasn’t worthy of a good guy, I subconsciously picked not so good guys in hopes that it would be easier to keep them around. It inevitably left me still single because at my core, I felt there was something wrong with me so no one would ever stay.
If you’re questioning if you’re good enough, then you really shouldn’t be dating. You should be spending time healing because your self-worth is broken (For more on self-worth, see The Effects of Dating With Low Self-Esteem). You have to fix that before you go into any relationship because you will get used up quickly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you but you have to first believe it before anyone else does.
5. Men don’t approach women anymore, I gotta go after what I want…Last year, I was at an event supporting a friend and she introduced me to someone and told them that I was a blogger and relationship expert. I corrected her and said I’m a single’s expert because that’s more my lane. The young lady then proceeded to tell me her single woman woes and the next thing she said shocked me. She confidently stated “Men these days aren’t aggressive so you just have to go right at them. I’m not getting any younger so I go after every man I see.”
My exact reaction! She was a very pretty lady and she had a great job so I had no idea where she received this advice. The Ashleigh (yes, I’m speaking in 3rd person) that is full of self-worth and has accepted her identity as a unicorn disagrees with this mindset. The reason I disagree is because real men love the chase. I had a male friend tell me recently that he doesn’t want a woman to approach him. Next she’ll be trying to run the household, pay all the bills, and want to keep her last name. Ladies, that is what I call a real man. I feel like however you set the pace, that is what will continue. If you pursue the man first, then you will have to pursue the relationship, and next you’ll be on your knee proposing to him. Unhand me Satan! Many people will argue with me all day long but I’m sorry (not sorry) but I want to be the prize. I want him (He who) to find me (Finds a wife) and we will be blessed (Finds a good thing).
After being single for a long time, your rationality leaves the building and you lead fully with emotions. When you do this, you give off a scent of desperation that men can smell a mile away. When you approach them with this scent, they may entertain you because they feel you’re an easy target to get sex from or they may just want to give it a shot. If they give it a shot and you’re cool but then you begin to set a pace that’s way too fast for them, they’ll quickly abort mission and you’ll be left wondering what happened. The scenario will usually go like this: You meet him, everything is good and you guys talk on the regular and go on consistent dates and you’re thinking it’s leading to something. Then he slowly starts falling back and eventually he starts being “too busy” to see you then he ghosts you or hits you with something like “I don’t think I’m the man for you” or “I’m just not looking for anything serious right now”. And you’re confused because on the first day he specifically said he was looking for something serious right now. If this has happened to you, it’s not that there’s something wrong with you. The problem is that your mindset has told you men don’t approach which has resulted in an eagerness for you to find a man. This behavior eventually pushes men away because most men don’t like eager beavers, unless it’s about sex.
Sidenote: I am NOT saying that all women who approach men are eager. But I am saying that women who may have been single for a very long period of time and who want their man right now shouldn’t adopt this mindset. Their approach could come off as eager or desperate because deep down, they kind of are. I’m speaking from experience. If I approached a guy, while we were talking I was wondering if he wanted kids and would be fine with eloping for our wedding.
I believe there is somebody for everybody. If you’re still single, that just means you haven’t found that somebody just yet. But I do know that how you think can positively or negatively effect your behavior. Hopefully, the scenarios I have given from my personal experiences have helped you realize some self-defeating thoughts you may be having. It doesn’t take much to change behavior, it just begins with changing your thoughts. There isn’t anything wrong with you, you just may need to tweak your mindset.
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