With the dawn of the New Year, the most traditional and obvious thing we all see is the couples in lip lock, hoping the coming year will give them the same love and life partner the previous year did. However, we also see the random single men and women, standing awkwardly away from the couples, trying not to feel upset about themselves. This week, Annie was asked many questions from both the young and the old, on why they are still single.
Q: Annie, I fell in love with a guy about an year back and we went out for several months. Despite what I felt for him, he clearly didn’t feel anything in return, because he cheated on me. Ever since that time, I have tried to start dating again but each time I find myself still single. Why is that?
A: See, the thing is, most people have been hurt in interpersonal relationships. With time and painful experiences, we all risk building up varying degrees of bitterness and becoming defended. This process begins long before we start dating, in our childhoods, when hurtful interactions and dynamics lead us to put up walls or perceive the world through a filter that can negatively impact us as adults. These adaptations can cause us to become increasingly self-protective and closed off. In our adult relationships, we may resist being too vulnerable or write people off too easily.
It’s time to give the next person a chance to be part of your life. Yes, people get hurt, but we learn from them. You will soon find your partner if only you’d look around and let your guard down a bit.
Q: Annie, I always get attracted to the ‘bad sort’. The alcoholics, the abusive partners and the drug addicts. Because of this, I constantly find myself still single. What do I do?
A: When we act on our defenses, we tend to choose less-than-ideal relationship partners. We may establish an unsatisfying relationship by selecting a person who isn’t emotionally available. Because this process is largely unconscious, we often blame our partner for the relationship’s failed outcome. We tend to feel devastated or hurt by the repeated rejections without recognizing that we are actually seeking out this pattern. Why do we do this? The reasons are complex and often based on our own embedded fears of intimacy. Many people have an unconscious motivation to seek out relationships that reinforce critical thoughts they have long had toward themselves and replay negative aspects of their childhoods. These may be unpleasant, but breaking with old patterns can cause us a great deal of anxiety and discomfort and make us feel strangely alien and alone in a more loving environment.
Q: Annie, I always dump a girl when they try to become too intimate with me. I’m all for one night stands, but if they get too close I make up some excuse to dump them. Thus, I often find myself quite single. Why is that and what do I do?
A: What you have is a fear of Intimacy. Our fears surrounding intimacy may manifest as concerns over someone “liking us too much,” an understandably irrational reason not to date a person. Or we may punish the other person by being critical, even engaging in nasty behaviour, essentially making sure we don’t get the loving responses we say we want. The reality is that most people can only tolerate a certain amount of closeness. We are defended about letting someone else in. In effect, on a deeper level, we don’t necessarily want the love we say we want. You will most probably get over it when you find the right partner. But when you do, put away your fears and give her a chance.
(Having relationship problems? Parental Problems? Or even simple social situations that confuse you? Send an email to Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org with your woes and needs and Annie will provide solutions)