Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series. This is from “The Best of Neil Rosenthal.” Visit www.vaildaily.com to read the first installment.
Following is a continuation of the discussion of why people today have a hard time meeting, connecting, bonding and falling in love:
• Some men and women compare several potential partners against each other and frequently wind up not being able to make up their minds. They tend to have commitment issues and often have their eyes on whatever they can find that they consider better. Some are commitment phobic and can’t or won’t commit.
• Many people have given up on love. They opt for casual relationships rather than a love relationship. Some settle for an intimate partner who they just won’t accept longterm, so the relationship has a built in termination point.
• There are those who like to flirt but have no real interest in taking things further. They want occasional romance, not a relationship.
• Some people don’t feel worthy of love or of having a healthy, loving, intimate relationship. They are likely to be observers in love relationships, rather than full participants and often run away if closeness or connection is offered to them. They can only take intimacy in small doses before they’ll bolt for the door.
• Very few people know how to negotiate through differences. They don’t have the skill to compromise, problem solve and resolve conflicts effectively. They tend to withdraw, shut down or leave all together when they encounter conflicts or differences in a relationship. Some people just avoid conflict, and as a result, their relationships eventually grow cold and distant.
• Some people fear being controlled. They equate love with being dominated, and as a result they value their independence above all else.
• Many people don’t know where to go to meet new people or are uncomfortable with starting up a conversation, connecting or deepening a connection.
• Some people adopt the attitude: “This is who and what I am, and I’m not going to change.” This defensive stance all but guarantees that the person will remain either partnerless or in a conflicted partnership. The healthy stance? Being willing to dialogue with each other about what each partner wants or needs and how each person can accommodate to the wishes, needs, preferences and requests of the other. Not everyone is good at blending, dialogging and accommodating. Some people do it very poorly.
• A fair number of people misrepresent themselves—their age, height, weight, smoking habits, how available they actually are, whether they’re seeing anyone else, how emotionally ready they are to fall in love and the priority they assign to an intimate relationship. They withhold information from you that they don’t want you to know.
• A large number of people are carrying around a fair amount of unresolved emotional baggage from their past. This creates enormous ambivalence about even being in a relationship, and it sabotages their ability to effectively love and to be loved.
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.”