Connection, intimacy, and love are all feelings most humans desire to experience. Even though we want these things, they are often hard to find. A dozen dates may go by but there is no deeper connection. Our expectations are not met and we move onto the next fish in the sea. Sometimes, even if we do find them, they don’t last.
In many cases, failed relationships are a by-product of someone jumping into love before they were actually ready for it. There are many reasons why someone may not be ready for a long-term commitment, but most often the culprits are unrealistic expectations and unaddressed emotional baggage.
Love is sold to us in popular culture as a perfect union—two people meant to be together—and we look for these feelings and experiences when dating, only to find that our real life experiences fall short to those we see in the media. We find that our relationships feature arguments, awkward silences, boring nights in, and occasionally lackluster sex.
That’s not how relationships should be, right? We should get along and agree on most things. We should always have something to talk about and an adventure to go on! Sex should be passionate and hot…right?
Relationships and marriages don’t work the way they do in the movies, and unrealistic expectations can hinder your ability to accept and offer love. What’s more, expectations defy what it means to unconditionally love someone. In general, such expectations make us feel like we aren’t getting enough out of a relationship. Unconditional love asserts that we love without caring about what our partner can give us. If we’re looking for our partners to act in specified ways, we aren’t ready for love.
Insecurities and Baggage
The second clue you’re not ready for love is if you’re constantly harnessed to your past, haven’t let go of prior traumas or disappointments, and aren’t willing or haven’t tried putting in the work to better yourself. When we haven’t taken the time and put in the effort to understand and improve ourselves, it seems unlikely that we will be willing or able to do the same for a partner.
Too often we get into relationships hoping that the person we’re with will be the answer to all of our problems and to heal our insecurities. Not only does this provide false hope, it also puts a ton of responsibility on our partners to ensure we are happy. Our insecurities will not disappear just because someone loves us, and expecting them to can often leave us dissatisfied and our partners feeling a bit helpless.
Additionally, when we allow fears associated with past traumas, such as a lack of trust, into new relationships, we’re building them with a flimsy foundation. Working towards an attitude of peace and forgiveness surrounding your past is a necessity in love. Though our partners should know all there is to know, asking them to help bear our emotional burdens or transferring our fears onto them is unhealthy and unfair to not only them but ourselves, as well.
Originally posted on PeteUglow.org.