Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series. This is from “The Best of Neil Rosenthal.”
Following is a partial summary of why people today have a hard time meeting, connecting, bonding and falling in love:
• Think carefully. Out of 100 single, available, potential partners in your age range, how many do you think you’ll find attractive? Out of the ones you’re attracted to, how many of those do you think will be attracted back to you? (If you’re like most of us, then you’re attracted to only a small percentage of other people. Of those remaining, both of you then have to pass through a large set of each other’s criteria: do you have children, want children, smoke, what is your religious affiliation, recreational interests, food preferences, political leanings, do you live close by, future goals and so on.)
• A large number of people feel pretty emotionally beaten up, and have all but given up on the dream of loving and being loved. They have been burned in the past, and have grown pessimistic, cynical and jaded. Many are walking around with guarded and armored hearts. They’re not letting themselves get too involved, too close or intimate, too dependent, too emotionally available or too vulnerable to someone else. They’re being safe — and falling in love is definitely not safe.
• Some people are going about the search for a love relationship passively, with very little sense of urgency, purpose and focus. They’re not treating the search for a new love as an active priority, and they wind up putting very little effort into the whole process. And since people are busier more now than ever, they also frequently have less time and energy to offer a relationship when they find one.
• Often times, people look for reasons to say “no” rather than for reasons to say “yes.” They look for reasons to reject rather than for reasons to accept a new person. They let what they’re not attracted to influence them more than what they find attractive.
• People don’t know how to evaluate effectively. They don’t know how to distinguish between those they are sexually attracted to, and those who would actually be good partners for them. They are not always one in the same.
• Many people don’t know how to go about connecting, bonding and growing closer. They don’t open up and actually reveal themselves, and therefore keep things superficial and impersonal.
• There are some people who play games. They say things that sound good, but that may not be genuine.
• Not everyone is actually available, even if single and unattached. They may be pining over a lost love, angry at men, afraid of women, focused on career or personal goals, depressed, etc. They’re not emotionally ready to offer their hearts at this time, and may only be interested in a companion, a friend or a port-in-the-storm.
• A fair number of people don’t know themselves well enough to know what their feelings are. They may not mean to deceive you, but they may be prone to saying what they think you want to hear and are therefore misleading.
• A large number of people have very low trust. They have a lot of suspiciousness, and often interpret your intentions, words or motives negatively. They are looking for why you can’t be trusted, and don’t offer benefit of the doubt.
I will continue this discussion in next week’s column.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 23rd year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777 or email him through his website: www.heartrelationships.com. He is the author of the new book: “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Keeping the Flame Alive.”