Do you wonder why your relationships always fall apart? What pushes men away? Are your expectations about love too high…or too low? How can you recognize dead-end relationships and stop wasting time on them? What are the signs he’ll never commit? What are the red flags you should never ignore? What factors decide whether a relationship succeeds or fails? What do men want from a relationship? What are the most common relationship mistakes women make? Why do men lose interest? And most importantly, what are the real reasons you can’t find lasting love?
My new book, Everything You Need to Know if You Want Love That Lasts will answer all these questions and more and provide you with everything you need to know to find and keep love that lasts.
Writing a book is a big learning process and I always come away with many new epiphanies. I pulled a selection of my favorite, and what I consider to be the most important, insights from each chapter, the tidbits that would have saved me a lot of heartache and pain had I learned them sooner!
Here you go:
1. Choose Wisely
I spent far too many years wondering why my relationships always fell apart and I couldn’t get anything to last. The answer was so obvious I felt like a fool for failing to see it all along: I was choosing the wrong men. I was choosing the men who wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I wanted. When I finally wised up and started dating with more of a purpose, dating with the aim of finding something long lasting instead of dating around just for the sake of dating around, I cultivated a new mantra: I want a partner, not a project.
2. Love is amazing … but It isn’t a fantasy
Love won’t make all your pain and problems go away. It won’t erase the memory of all your old hurts and wounds, it won’t give you a healthy sense of self-esteem, and it won’t open the gates of everlasting happiness and bliss. Love can enhance your life in many ways (healthy love, that is), but it will never be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect partner or a perfect relationship.
This one took me a while to fully grasp because like many women, I fell for the popular ideology our culture perpetuates about love. I thought that with the right person, it would all just work out and everything would be amazing. I thought love was enough. But it isn’t.
It’s also about timing (it has to be the right time for both people), fundamental compatibility, similar goals, and emotional maturity. Love can be a beautiful, transformative thing, but not in a vacuum. A lot of other elements need to align, and you need to accept and embrace the fact that it will take a bit of work.
3. Sometimes you’re the problem
Being single for an extended amount of time can be for two reasons: you legitimately haven’t met the right guy, or you aren’t yet the right girl. I dated my husband in high school and we ran into each other countless times over the span of a decade. Our last chance meeting was two months before we actually started dating again. For whatever reason when he saw me that day in Central Park, he wasn’t overcome with a desire to ask me out. Then two months later he was. By our second date he knew I was “the one.”
So what changed? Nothing changed about me physically, but a lot internally. (I detail all of it in the book.)
4. Stop Wasting Time!
Oh what I would do to get back some of the time I’ve wasted over the years on total losers. If he won’t be your boyfriend, if he won’t commit, if he treats you badly, if he doesn’t appreciate you, if he only appreciates you for sex and can’t be bothered when you’re fully clothed, forget him. It seems so obvious, yet so many of us fail in this area. Why does it happen?
Essentially, we see the potential and get enamored in thoughts of what could be. And we don’t see him as the problem, we think we need to try harder, we need to crack his code so we can get him to be the man we want. It doesn’t work that way. Doing this usually causes more pain and is a huge waste of time.
5. Everyone makes mistakes
When I talk about mistakes women make in relationships, a lot of women will get hyper defensive and say I’m blaming them and it’s not their fault because all men are jerks. That’s one way to look at things, but it’s not a very productive, helpful way to look at things.
The fact is we all need to understand how relationships work: the dynamics at play, what sets the foundation for an amazing relationship, why some last, and why others don’t. It requires being open to the idea that you may be doing things wrong, and that’s OK! The biggest relationship mistake that I see being committed, and I was once a major offender, is being too needy and expecting way too much out of a man and a relationship.
6. Self-Love is everything
What keeps us in bad relationships isn’t that all men are jerks or that relationships are so hard or that we’re unworthy or that all the good guys are taken. What keeps us in bad relationships is low self-esteem. When you don’t value yourself, you will accept and even welcome people who don’t value you into your life. You won’t see how wrong this is, how unacceptable this is. If you treat yourself badly, you will accept bad treatment from others. Self-love always comes before healthy romantic love.
7. The Chase is Nonsense!
OK not total nonsense, it does kind of work. But it isn’t sustainable! The chase creates the illusion of confidence and leaves enough uncertainty to create the illusion of chemistry. Everything feels more dramatic and exciting when we don’t know how the other person feels. But a relationship isn’t built on uncertainty. Yes, that can galvanize things, it can rouse interest, but you need something real in order for that interest to remain and deepen.
8. Men and Women Fall in Love Differently
They also need different things in a relationship. Men primarily need to feel appreciated for who they are and what they have to give. He needs to feel like a winner. If he doesn’t, then he won’t want to be in the relationship for very long. You’ll notice in most breakups and divorces that the guy says the reason it ended is he no longer felt appreciated, he felt like he couldn’t make her happy, like she was always harping on him about something.
Men need to feel like the man, they need to be respected for what they provide (this does not only mean material items). Find any man who is unhappy in his relationship and ask him why, and his answer will fall under the umbrella of this concept every time.
9. Men Lose Interest for Reasons You Can’t See …
There are overt behaviors that push men away, and there are covert ones … the latter causing a lot more confusion than the former! It can really hurt when a guy who seemed so into it at first does a complete 180 seemingly out of the blue and it’s hard not to take it personal.
This usually happens for visceral reasons you can’t see, but that he can feel, and usually comes from too much stressing. Stressing over a relationship usually ruins is. As does getting attached to a certain outcome. When you expect a serious relationship to unfold with a guy you’re casually dating, then you lose something if the relationship ends. When you can just go with it, you only have something to gain.
10. It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s the way you say It
I used to be a terrible communicator. No, scratch that. I was able to effectively communicate in certain settings. My direct, no-nonsense, intellectually thought-out and unemotional way of speaking served me well in terms of my career, but it didn’t do me many favors when it came to my relationships.
Communication is a huge determining factor in whether a relationship will survive or fail. You have to learn how to speak in a way so the other person hears you, otherwise you’re just wasting your breath and getting nowhere.
Read more from Thought Catalog: