Why am I still single?
One of the most difficult questions we ever get asked is ‘Why am I still single?’
At Select Personal Introductions, we’ve spent a lot of time – over twenty years – understanding our clients and helping them create the relationship they’ve dreamed of. Introducing them to the kind of person they will click with is obviously a large part of that process, but it’s not the only part. We also help our clients navigate the complicated path from first date to lasting love. So … why are you still single?
Ambivalence is definitely a California therapy-speak buzz word, but that doesn’t mean it’s not relevant to the search for love in the British North West!
When somebody is ambivalent, they are capable of holding two deeply opposed thoughts at the same time. So for example, they may say they want a long-lasting relationship and when they say it they really mean it. But other parts of their mind can be holding thoughts that threaten, or even sabotage, their chances of achieving a solid relationship. Thoughts like, ‘could I do better?’, or ‘is this going to end in heartache?’ or even, ‘are my feelings for this person so strong that I will compromise too much and end up miserable?’
People who are ambivalent do genuinely want love, but they also want to maintain their single lifestyle, stay in control and not suffer. This means that while the first thought is uppermost, they will pursue that goal, join a dating agency, go on tons of dates and ask their friends to blind-date them with anybody they consider suitable.
But at a certain point in the process, the second thoughts emerge and they start to sabotage the dating process: showing up unprepared, cancelling dates to work late, challenging their dates on their goals, backgrounds and desires to create a bad impression … if any of this sounds familiar, your problem may be ambivalence.
Now, ambivalence can be healthy – in moderation it helps us to be more emotionally and intellectually mature, but in excess it stops us having what we really desire.
3 Steps to resolve your ambivalence
- write down your ambivalent thoughts and the context in which they happen, to help you see patterns that may have damaged previous relationships
- remind yourself that no person is perfect and that every person and situation has both positives and negatives
- talk to friends about your ambivalence to defuse its power over you.
We do see clients who don’t put much effort into their relationship search. They tend to believe that joining Select Personal Introductions is all they need to do, and that somehow we will magically create the perfect relationship for them. We certainly do our best!
But dating is like any other activity, you need to build muscles, reflexes and skills. You wouldn’t expect to win a tennis match without playing practice games, maybe hiring a coach, doing drills to strengthen your weakest stroke etc. So when dating, you might want to look at putting dating to the forefront: getting a haircut, checking out your wardrobe, and brushing up on your favourite topics so you can talk with enthusiasm about what really matters to you.
You might also want to look at the topics and activities that your date has indicated they value – that’s a bit like a volley … the more you invest in what interests them, the more likely you are to keep the conversation going, share the best of yourself, and learn more about your date too.
This is the flip-side of the previous coin. Overcommitted daters tend to rush forward, believing that one certain person is the answer to all their problems, particularly if they feel there is strong chemistry after a first date. People who are overcommitted are also the opposite of ambivalent – they make decisions quickly and easily and they don’t look back.
But great relationships require time and some of that time has to be invested in yourself as well as in the other person. We encourage our clients to view dating as a process that has value in its own right.
You may well meet the love of your life on your first date, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to develop yourself through the dating process, finding out more about how you handle different situations, that you can enjoy the company of a new person without having to evaluate them as a potential life mate, and growing as a social person, a confident communicator, and a great date. Bringing that kind of personal development to your eventual committed relationship deepens and strengthens what you have to offer.
So if you’re ambivalent, under-committed or over-committed, don’t panic. We’re here to help you chart a path through dating to the place you want to end up – in a great relationship with somebody else … and with yourself!