I’m a sucker for the Strong Single™ archetype. Knowing that you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I tend to act as an Island in my relationship and that I used to be very hard to seduce and quickly out the door.
Today I see that most of my clients fit this archetype too, and I’d like to cast a light on some underlying beliefs and patterns that kind of come with the territory and make it harder to see, connect and commit to someone even when you genuinely wants to.
So let me talk a little bit about most of my friends and clients. They are brilliant. They usually started by excelling in academics before deciding to ditch 9 to 5 employment to work on their own term. Some of them became artists, consultants, some are CEO of small or more significant businesses. They are adept at self-improvement, maybe because they used to or still struggle with anxiety, imposter syndrome, or depression. They are surrounded by caring friends, they entertain one or several passions, usually in the artistic field. They can easily have dates, and from the outside, they look like the definition of glamourous, blissful celibacy.
For some of them, that bliss is 100% genuine.
Some others have a sincere desire for a partner and don’t seem to find “the right one.”
So what? When you seem capable of succeeding at anything you put your mind to, why the fuck is finding your significant other such a struggle?
You picked up negative beliefs around relationships.
Living in a society that still carries many outdated beliefs on love and relationships, it’s pretty inevitable that you may have picked up some ideas that you accepted as true without even thinking about it twice.
For instance, I often find around me the idea that passion comes from danger and the trills of “the chase.” Therefore any committed and lasting relationship would be doomed to eventually become mild and dull.
Seeing that as accurate might lead you to plan mind games during dating to create a fake sense of urgency and passion and could prevent you from committing to a really excellent relationship out of fear that it would become “ordinary.”
You may also fear that forming a couple will deprive you of your individuality and your alone time, which is especially dreadful for anyone with an island attachment style or an introverted personality.
I also often notice shadow beliefs that a partner will drain your time and energy and make it impossible to have the successful life you want. You know, the infamous “ball and chain.”
Of course, when you believe that a lover is a deadweight that you agree to carry to get love and appreciation, you can quickly see your need for love as a liability and some form of weakness.
This thought pattern will probably make you want to leave the relationship or even choose partners that would *really* hold you back, eventually giving you an excellent reason to leave the relationship and finally get rid of the weight.”
You think you need to do other things first.
Some decided to make it work anyway by planning their life in the following way: I’m going to tough up first and achieve a career before I can think about indulging in a relationship.
It feels reasonable, right? The thing is, when do you decide that you achieved enough to finally indulge? Because I can tell you right now that no promotion, no amount of money, no house will even give you that “I can finally rest now” feeling. Or it could for five seconds and then you’ll see the fancier job-title, the bigger house, the next project.
And don’t get me started on the FOMO you’ll get when you are back in the dating pool because you’ll then have an excellent opportunity to tell yourself that all the suitable matches are already taken.
I’d say that it’s okay to make your studies or your job a priority but don’t close the door on dating and on your emotional needs altogether? Let me even insist that YOU should be your priority and that your happiness level will influence your performance level. So enjoy yourself a little bit. It might get you that promotion you seek 🙂
Some others with a more anxious attachment style don’t date because of worthiness-related issues. They usually have a deep fear of rejection that they unconsciously try to overcome by collecting achievements to a point where they feel that they could no longer be rejected.
Reading it plainly like that seems silly, but your nervous system and subconscious are really doing the best they can to keep you from trauma and pain.
So how do you cast some light on your beliefs around relationships? What I love is to make a “worst fear inventory.”
Do this when you feel good and relaxed because you need to be able to see this as just a fear that you have and not engage in some endless rumination.
Try to use the following questions as a journal prompt to explore the things that you are trying to avoid.
You might need to do it a few times to get to the core of it. If what you find does not make you tick, you need to relax and let it come to you.
- What are some choices that people make in relationships that make you uncomfortable?
- What are some unconscious judgments you may hold about relationships?
- What is the worst thing that could happen in dating? What hurts the most?
- What are some qualities that you really don’t want to find in your significant other but are pretty standard?
Relax, read what you just came up with, and see what’s happening for you. Does any of it feel like it’s related to your childhood and family experience?
Do you agree with what you uncovered, or does any of those beliefs needs to be updated? Remember that you always have the option to choose to keep those beliefs or to challenge them.
I’m going to leave you with my favorite quote from Karl Jung:
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.
There is no mandatory end to that exercise, I can’t tell you what to do, but I hope you’ll take this opportunity to examine your conditioning and to choose your fate.