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4 Things Holding You Back from a Lasting Healthy Relationship

December 14, 2020 | by Rabbi Eli Deutsch

If you’ve been searching for love without much to show for it, there's a good chance at least one of these items is the reason why.

Here are four things that get in the way of singles building lasting healthy meaningful relationships.

1. Your life is a hot mess

If you don't have your life in order, that's not going to be very appealing to a potential suitor. This isn’t just about not having money. It’s about not having a path forward – no plan, vision, passion, work ethic.

Lacking direction can appear in many forms. You're not clear where you stand on issues of principle or religion; on the direction of your life or profession. You don't have a career, job, money-generating prospects, and can’t hold anything down. All of these don’t bode well for building a prospective mate’s confidence or respect for you.

You don’t pass their competency test.

The solution is obvious, but not necessarily easy: Get your act together. Invest in yourself. Upgrade your life – acquire a new skill, hit the gym regularly, revamp your resume, get a new wardrobe, stick to a schedule. Be introspective. Replace old habits and patterns with better, growth-oriented attributes and ways of living. Live your peak potential and become your best self. Respect yourself by committing to becoming a better version of yourself, week-by-week, month-by-month.

2. You think a bad relationship is better than no relationship

Have you ever stayed in a relationship you weren’t all that excited about?

Perhaps you didn’t like where the person was holding at the time but you thought they had potential and would grow. Maybe you overlooked the reality that you knew deep down – that this person wasn’t interested in being in it for the long haul, but you decided to bank on the longshot that you could change their mind.

You’ve been staying in bad relationships instead of walking away from them. Why?

Because you emotionally reason that it’s better to have someone than to have no one. You do whatever it takes to avoid feeling lonely. So you accept scraps of a relationship to pacify your dread of having no relationship.

You fear being left with nothing.

The solution to the non-satisfactory relationship situations you find yourself in is to stand strong for something real. To turn toward that abyss; to step into that fear of being left with nothing. Step forward into the unknown with a sense of self-assurance and resolve. And build a full life for yourself from that place with openness, welcoming the people, prospects, and situations that drift into your orbit. Proactively (but not desperately) pursue any potentially relevant healthy relationship opportunities in a delicate and dignified fashion, with self-knowledge, self-respect, and your standards intact.

3. Fear of loss of your options

This is not to be confused with fear of commitment.

Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of people out there who actually do want to find the person they will spend the rest of their lives with. Your problem is that you keep looking over your shoulder, thinking it might be someone other than the person standing in front of you.

You reason, “If I move forward with this option, then I am going to lose out on all the other potential options.” That can be a suffocating thought.

Here’s your predicament: You want the freedom of your options. But options are there to be acted upon; to be chosen. So, when you choose one of your options, you no longer have the freedom of your options because your choice has already been made. You find yourself constantly taking one step forward and two steps back. You consider choosing an option, but then you look over your shoulder and run back to all other potential options. The irony is that you unwittingly have become enslaved to your options; enslaved to your freedom.

You do want to find the person you'll build a life with; you're ready to commit. But the fear of the loss of your options has you paralyzed.

Your options paralyze you.

The solution is to look at the one in front of you right now and ask yourself, “Can I build a life with this person? Do I want to build a life with this person?

If the answer is yes or maybe, then become laser-focused on them and leave all other options on the side.

If you’re in a (potentially) committed relationship with an individual, that means embracing the mindset of: This is my portion in life.

Make it in your mind as if no one else exists; as if there are no other options out there.

If you enter into dating with the intent to find someone with whom you can see yourself adopting the ‘You are my portion in this world’ perspective, you are well on your way to transitioning from the cycle of singlehood to building a healthy committed relationship.

4. Unhealthy assertions of control

Trying to control someone is a surefire way to make him or her bolt. Want to get someone to run? Then tell them how they should be, act, or look. Be rigid and uncompromising about your outlook, and demand they do things in the exact way you want them done.

Control is kryptonite for relationships.

Control doesn’t just mean trying to control another’s actions. It also means trying to control what and how they think. For example, when you hold back your authentic self on dates because you’re unsure how your date will react. That is you trying to get them to think a certain way about you. Or, better yet, that is you trying to prevent them (i.e. control them) from thinking something negative about you.

The remedy to this is the opposite of control – i.e vulnerability (Check out my article on vulnerability here) The solution is to become softer and more accepting. Expand yourself to hold space for the reality that your prospective partner may approach things (radically) differently than you.

Take to heart that there are numerous legitimate ways of doing things. There are plenty of appropriate paths by which a person can respond to scenarios that arise throughout the journey of life.

The things that the two of you are willing to make sacrifices for might not be the same. And – barring certain fundamental life principles, beliefs, and desires – that is totally okay.

Some of what’s important to you in day-to-day life might not be as important to your partner – and visa-versa. Get used to the thought that you will share aspects of your life with your partner, and you will remain an individual in other aspects of your life. This is standard in healthy relationships.

In order to find your special someone:

  • Turn your life from a hot mess into an overwhelming success.

  • Stand strong for something real in the face of your ‘no light at the end of the tunnel’ syndrome.

  • Resolve the fear of loss of your options by getting laser-focused-in on the one in front of you.

  • Drop rigidity and control in exchange for softness, acceptance and openness to your partner.

Did these resonate for you? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comment section below…

Photo credit: Mara Ket,

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