If you’ve been wondering, ‘Why do I suck at relationships?’ here are 7 crucial insights to help you overcome challenges and build thriving connections.
So you’ve also been there — (like I was) …
Where you can’t help but wonder why and how some people seem to have it easy navigating from meeting dating prospects to having amazing love lives. While you struggle heavily to land romantic partners or you often end up with complete fuck-ups when you finally find one. You might even be in such a situation up till now.
Of course, we all know that every relationship has its problems because there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there are people whose relationships and love lives are just better.
Now, having been lucky enough to transition from having a somewhat endless litany of messy and short-lived relationships to having amazing long-term ones, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way.
If you can open your eyes to see and avoid the limiting blocks standing firmly between you and the relationships you so much want but can’t just reach, amazing relationships will no longer be out of your reach.
Sure, there are myriads of articles and resources out there on how not to suck at relationships and you must have read a handful of them too. But I want to add to the conversation with the belief that hearing them again in a different light, will make them become flesh.
Because if you’re at that point in your life where your dating and love life is nothing to write home about, then you probably have mindsets and behaviors that aren’t serving your desire to enjoy better relationships.
It’s easy to blame one’s lack of success in the dating and romance department on a lack of luck. And the success of others on their good fortune, but what a lot of us miss out on is how we suck at romantic relationships.
Unfortunately, people who seamlessly have better love lives can make it seem like you’re destined to struggle in yours, and will eventually remain single forever. But I hate to burst your bubble, it’s not your destiny, you just suck at relationships at the moment.
And the earlier you abandon the counterproductive and sabotaging behavioral patterns and mindsets keeping you in a never-ending cycle of terrible dates and awful short-lived relationships, the better your love life.
That being said, below are seven reasons why your dating life is nothing to write home about.
1. You don’t always have well-defined relationship expectations
This first one is one of my worst mistakes and it’s actually one of the most common reasons behind a lot of unhappy relationships that feel wrong all the time.
When you don’t always have well-defined relationship expectations, your happiness and satisfaction suffer greatly. Even when it seems like you’ve finally found the one after all the frustrations and after staying single for like forever.
And you know why? When you have a clue of where you’re going, what it’ll look like, and how you’ll get there, it’s easy to end up somewhere else — and that place might be the worst you’ll ever wish for anyone and not just you.
One of the most important tools you should have in your toolbox on the path to genuine deep, intimate, and satisfying relationships is a well-defined idea of what you want in a relationship. In fact, you should always seek out relationships where deep understanding and mutual respect for each other’s individuality exist. And you don’t have to settle for anything less than you want.
Enjoying healthy and satisfying relationships becomes easier when you’re looking for a relationship of mutual trust, respect, open and effective communication, authenticity, compromise, and shared values.
And not when you’re driven at high speed by attraction, desperation, and aversion to loneliness into a relationship without paying much attention to things you have uncommon like ethics, interests, etc, such that you’ll have little to talk about and bond over but will have a lot to disagree and fight over.
I’ve over the years learned to believe in having well-defined and realistic relationship expectations because when you have them, you’ll easily tell whether or not someone’s right for you. Hence, you’ll avoid being trapped in an unhappy relationship because you’ll easily walk away when it isn’t right for you.
And above all, you’ll easily find yourself in the type of relationship you so desire because you can differentiate what you want from what you don’t.
2. You often shy away from making the first move
Now, I probably shouldn’t say this. But one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that our pride, egos, and fear of seeming desperate are a few of the chief reasons why the love lives of a lot of us suck.
If you lack the maturity to swallow your pride, get over yourself, and often make the first move especially when you’re hoping to win over a prospective partner or during relationship crises, then even if that love interest might turn out to be your one, true love, you’ll miss out dating them in the first place, just as a strained relationship will meet its end on the other hand.
That’s because taking the lead and showing a love interest that you like them in the first place instead of focusing on whether they might like you or not, or any other thing of such nature, might be what you just need to win them over.
And in the same way, waiting for the other person to make the first move during conflicts — waiting for them to apologize first, initiate conversations, send the first texts, etc, will only feed your ego at the expense of the relationship when making the first move even when you don’t want to or when it should be them can salvage the situation.
It isn’t always a happy feeling to remember how you missed out on dating and being with one amazing soul in the past nor does it feel great to remember how you chose your pride at the cost of a great relationship. This is why you should always make the first move and let the chips fall where they may.
3. You’re just too transactional
The sad thing is that although nobody likes selfish people or being regarded as one, most of us can’t be selfless enough not to feel entitled to receive something in return when we give.
Maybe it’s because our brains are wired to seek reciprocation that a lot of us only do something or things that’ll benefit others with one common ulterior motive: we hope to get something in return.
In the context of dating and relationships, this is exactly one of the reasons we have a lot of inauthentic nice people today — they’re often nice to someone simply because they want a romantic relationship in return.
And in another case scenario, some people simply use their conditional and transactional kindness to mess up their relationships and cause their partners pain — they make their partners feel like they have to be worthy of their kindness by being ready to reciprocate every time they get any form of favor.
But if you learn to often do things out of pure love and genuine kindness expecting nothing in return, you won’t only be making your love life better, you’ll also be making the world a better place.
Recommended Reading: Give Up These Toxic Beliefs If You Want A Better And Less Stressful Love Life
4. People-pleasing is your second nature
Getting all the approval, validation, and acceptance in the world at the detriment of your true feelings, needs, and wants can make you feel great in the short term but will end up leaving you in a prison of unhappiness.
Yes, you can choose to be living out of sync with your core values, deepest feelings, needs, or wants and you’ll somehow manage to often avoid conflicts, disappointing others, or coming across as unlikable or even antagonistic.
But what you’ll most likely experience is being subjected to pain and stress inflicted on you by controlling people that endlessly violate and disrespect your boundaries as they make things seem as though failing to meet their needs proves that you’re selfish, incompetent, or inadequate.
You can have a great and loving partner who’s genuinely not manipulative or abusive by nature, but being an overly needy people-pleaser can prompt him to innocently make the relationship feel unbalanced, painful, and everything but happy for you.
But if you want to seamlessly enjoy the kinds of relationships you so desire, you need to understand that ignoring your feelings, needs, and wants, to please and gain the approval of someone is far worse than being rejected, disapproved, or disliked. Yes, you need to possess the sexiest quality one can ever have: requiring no validation or acceptance from anyone.
5. You often do more than your fair share of the work
A critical law of nature is that you don’t need to “love” a romantic partner so much that you’ll practically be shouldering all the work and efforts required for the relationship to work. That’s not love, but unhealthy love.
Because as you shoulder the emotional burden of doing all the work that ensures the relationship survives, you won’t only be pushing your partner into complete complacency, but will also be making the relationship completely unbalanced and unfair to your own self.
Worse, it’ll probably mean that you feel too unworthy of the relationship and hence opt to do more than your fair share of the work to make up for that.
One more funny thing about being so bent on doing more than your fair share of the work is that it can easily leave you wondering what you’re possibly doing wrong which makes your relationships as messy as hell although you always put in your all.
And the truth is that, like everyone else, you definitely won’t like relationships where your partner treats you poorly, but these types of needy behaviors that reeks of low self-esteem will make it easier for you to end up in the very types of relationships we all hate.
6. You’re often drawn to familiar feelings
Don’t forget that being bad at relationships can also feel like one is so unlucky that he or she ends up in the same kinds of toxic relationships. People who enjoy great and emotionally compatible partnerships aren’t just lucky, they’re most emotionally and mentally strong enough to walk away from obviously undesirable situations.
This is one of the chief reasons why you don’t find them swimming in an endless litany of the same kinds of toxic situationships. Because the more you allow the feelings of familiarity with negative and undesirable situations to rule your choices of partnerships, the more you’ll remain in captivity of your past hurtful relationships.
Sure, attraction to the familiar is a prevalent pattern in all of us, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s the people who are familiar with relationships with kind, loving, and compassionate people who have greater chances of enjoying great, healthy, and compatible relationships.
That’s why you should familiarize yourself with how the familiarity principles of attraction work so that you’ll gradually but eventually begin to attract the kinds of people you want in your life.
Recommended reading: 5 Main Pillars Of Successful Relationships
7. You suck at communicating and can’t express your feelings
If your relationships often turn out to be shallow and superficial or if your dating or love life can be best described as nearly or even completely inexistent, then it has a lot to do with the level of your communication skills and pattern — how you express your feelings and how you understand your partner(s) or love interests.
Usually, when you don’t know how to communicate effectively with your partner(s), your relationships suffer. Just as your dating life will be sabotaged and limited by your inability to communicate: express your feelings and understand prospective partners.
But people who are just better with relationships know better to honestly communicate their feelings instead of trying to make a love interest fall for them.
And when they’re partnered, they often dedicate their time to learning how their partners want to be loved, they never bottle up their negative feelings, in fact, they’re good listeners and are even considerate. Because they know that only a few things can be worse than being so terrible at communicating when it comes to dating and relationships.
John Emmanuel is a results-obsessed relationship blogger and founder of Top Love Hacks, dedicated to helping you level up your dating and relationship game by motivating you to be in control of your love life.