Is your love life in your hands?

Romantic love is one of the great mysteries of life. We usually have no idea why or how we fall in love. It just happens. Or not.

We have little knowledge of what really makes us attractive to others and what attracts us to them. Even if we have a list of preferred or desired qualities, our heart often chooses to ignore it.

We get incredible chemistry with people who are not a good match for us or even relationship material. Then we meet someone who looks great on paper but no matter how much we try, we can’t get romantically interested in them.

Since our lives are primarily ruled by logic and thought, when we try to understand something so illogical as love we feel confused and lost. The whole partner search and selection process feels completely random and inexplicable, and we think we have no control over it.

Usually, when we don’t know something, we read books, take courses, go to school and learn. But when it comes to love and romance, we are offered no guidance or lessons. There is no manual and no school for love.

Our parents are our primary teachers of love and loving, but unfortunately they too don’t know much about it. They’ve also been left to their own devices, probably even more so than the generations that came after them.

Since there is no wide-spread method or system for finding love, we are usually advised to wait until it happens because “it will happen sooner or later”. When someone says that to you they are basically saying: “I have no idea how or where you’ll find it, but since most people do, your chances are good.”

Which is, of course – of very little consolation or help for people who are not there yet.

In other words, we have to figure it out as we go. Which would be ideal if everyone naturally knew how to find love. But in the opposite case it is a recipe for disaster, disappointment and a lot of pain.

There has never been a human experience that is more glorified and valued than romantic love in theory, and more hurtful and painful in practice. Fed with fairy-tales and books and “happy-ever-after” movie stories, we enter the dating world which such great hopes and expectations, it’s no wonder our hopes get crushed at the first opportunity.

So how can we find our way to love when the odds are stacked against us?

There is only one way.

It’s through accepting and understanding one of the biggest truths of human experience: each and every one of us is responsible for the state of their (love) life.

We are the ones who, both consciously and unconsciously, create our life situation and experiences – and if what we’re creating is rubbish, then we need to go back to the drawing board.

You can blame your parents for not being able to love each other or yourself the right way, or their unhappy marriage and ugly divorce for giving you a bad example of what love is.

You can say it’s all down to your dysfunctional childhood, school bullies, lack of confidence, average appearance, introverted character and so on.

If you can’t do that because you look stunning, have a ton of great friends and a loving family… well, you can still put the blame on all the horrible people you dated that hurt, rejected or abandoned you. Or the ones who didn’t want to date you. Or the general lack of available, well-put-together partners.

There will always be a reason outside of you and your control.

But the only way to make any change is if you yourself are in control of it.

And – like it or not – in this case you are in control.

It’s not about other people, and it’s not about your personality, nor your looks – it’s about how you show up in the world and what you do with the cards you’ve been dealt with.

If you choose to go down the blaming route – you will just get stuck in resentment and keep feeling powerless to do anything about your love situation. You’ll make a strong case for yourself and list all the reasons why others (or your unchangeable attributes) were or are the reason why you aren’t happy in love.

If you do that, you will most likely stay alone or settle for unhappy and unhealthy relationships for the rest of your life.

Ask yourself: even if you are right in your thinking, is that what you really want?

The only way this blame game can be changed for good is if you stop pointing fingers on things you can’t change and start looking for things you can. Inside and outside yourself. Primarily inside, of course.

Once you start doing that, you will see that everything you see as solid and fixed about your love fortune is flexible and, ultimately, very much in your control. It can all be changed by you, and only you.

Changing your thinking is where the change starts. If your mind and heart stay in the same pattern, your life will stay in your current life pattern of disappointment and pain.

So no matter how impossible or far fetched this concept seems to you right now, please take a moment and give it some thought. All the things you did so far haven’t worked, so why not try a different approach?


Do you feel your love life is in our out of your control?
What makes you think so?

Find out what others think and join the conversation in the comments section.

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30 Responses

  1. Ms Jones says:

    My real answer to this is that I am so let down from my last relationship which I thought would result in marriage. At age 57 I cannot tell you the number of men I have dated and the optimism and self confidence I have always felt. Plain and simple I am tired. I have never been married. Now I am too old to have children and am less motivated to seek out a man. I do not mean to sound crass, but I am just not too enthused to see one more naked man. The desire to have a child is what I believe kept me “swinging away”. I was more uninhibited and undaunted in my approach.
    I have never felt this sense of defeat before in my life. I think it is in part due to biology. My last relationship ended just exactly as I hit menopause. I have not had another one since. I do not think it is a coincidence. As I said I was always “sure” I would find someone. I think my biological clock pushed me to keep trying.

    • Sheila says:

      Hi Ms Jones – I can sense your utter frustration. One concept that gets ‘sold’ all over is that we ‘need fixing’. Maybe we need some support but ?fixing. No.
      It is in the interests of the dating industry to make us feel insecure about ourselves and therefore want to buy whatever product they are selling. I get really annoyed about this. I read over and over again ‘it’s your fault’. No it isn’t. The bleak fact (or maybe not bleak depending on how you look at it) is that some / many people will fail to get ‘fixed up’. There are also the ones who do and it doesn’t work out very well. I wish to goodness someone would acknowledge this but the reason (from the dating industry’s point of view) is obvious.
      In my case I have been alone for a few years – I have had a couple of what could be termed ‘dates’. I find it exceptionally difficult to meet anyone – then would they be viable ? I wonder. You simply have to be in the right place at the right time. There is a lot of luck involved in this. Plus for older women (I am 60s) there are far fewer men ? Ratio of one to three. Fact. Plus the men have more chance of getting someone younger which leaves us older ones high and dry.
      Given the list of activities I do and places I go to you would think I should meet someone. Alas no one is ever ‘there’. But like you we cannot in all honesty accept be ing told we need fixing or need to change our behaviour.
      Very best wishes to you Ms Jones, I understand where you are coming from.

      • Ms Jones says:

        Hi Sheila – Thanks for your very supportive reply. I really appreciate it, especially coming from a mature woman. I have no great role models for finding someone at this point in life. What you say actually makes perfect sense to me. I have always “swung for the bleachers” and I am beautiful, smart, caring, loving and kind.
        This post menopausal phase has it’s own “bummer” for me as I will not be able to have kids of my own no matter who I may meet. But you know, I still feel like a teenager in a lot of ways. Just need to regroup a little bit.
        Thank you for your insightful reply. When people ask me why I am not married I usually answer something on the order of “not lucky yet”. I also had some terrible health problems for a number of years that have since resolved. Did not do too much to help my social life or my pocket book. Still, I am now healthy and kicking. I really appreciate your perspective. I swim in the pool everyday and have a neat figure. I really have not thrown in the towel, just on pause.

        I do greatly appreciate your perspective and the fact that you took the time to read and reply.

        Best to you too Sheila.

        Ms Jones:)

        • Ms Jones says:

          And by the way Sheila, my recently divorced 58 year old brother is dating a 65 year old woman he met on a job (he is a freelance designer). She is a knockout and he is relaxed and happy. It is a myth that all older men only want younger girls. 2 of my other brothers (in their 50’s) have wives or girlfriends a year or two older than them. When I was younger I always dated older men. They were smarter, more reliable and more interesting and experienced. As I passed age 35 I began to date younger men. They were adult men, had good jobs, were reliable and could keep up with me. The older men seemed worn out and very jaded. So hope spring eternal and may take a form I do not anticipate!

          Ms Jones

          • Petra says:

            Dear Sheila and Ms Jones, thank you for your comments, and thank you for taking the time to read my blogs and musings 🙂 It’s always great to hear from you both. I know it sometimes sounds like the blame is on you but it’s not – you are not guilty of your results, you are in charge. That is a very different perspective and can truly change your entire life once you understand it. Life doesn’t just happen to us, but we’ve been taught it does so we take that for granted. We also take for granted the idea we should all be able to find love, because – hey, most people do. And if we are can’t do what most people can, we blame ourselves. But most people don’t find love, they find a relationship. They are not happy or any happier than you, many times they are actually even more miserable. We are all unhappy, just unhappy in different ways. We only want what the other person has because we think that is the solution, but once we get it we see we just created a different pain. The only way to end this suffering we all feel (single or coupled) is to understand we are in control. By becoming aware and healing our emotional traumas we get closer to love, with ourselves and with another. We are not guilty of our unhappiness, we just don’t know how to make ourselves happy. But we can’t change the consequences (life, relationships, events) if we don’t change the source (our emotions, beliefs, thoughts).

          • Sheila says:

            Hi Ms Jones, interesting how your ‘recently divorced brother’ found someone quickly. Whats his secret ? More available women than men perhaps. Best wishes

          • Ms Jones says:

            Hi Sheila –

            I am replying to your comment that I made about my brother finding an older woman. The point I was trying to make was that the woman was older than him by 7 years. He has a good business and was married for many years and has a lovely daughter (my niece). I was very sad that his marriage did not work out. I am the only one of 6 siblings who has never been married. I am smart, beautiful and caring. I do not consider the fact that I am not married to be a result of the fact that I am too “old” for any man to want me. Someone will. Someone who has some sense. It took my brother 58 years to figure it out. And then he found a 65 year old woman. I do not think there is an age limit in particular in affairs of the heart.

            As I said in a previous post, I had so many boyfriends and was so hopeful. My greatest disappointment is that I do not have children. I do believe that it always motivated me to “keep trying”. Now I do not try as hard as I am so let down. My brother’s wife was beautiful and rich. It extremely unfortunate that their marriage did not work out. I can tell you for sure that they both tried (and failed) for sake of their child to keep it together. It is so sad.
            I have not met the woman my brother is now seeing, but he seems happy. I can tell you that she initially turned him down. She is also divorced with a grown daughter. They became friends and eventually they fell for one another. I have no idea where it is headed. Another brother (I have 4) who is 56 years old is also engaged for the second time to a slightly older woman.
            I do not congratulate my brothers for failing at their first marriages. It is truly sad. It think my point is that it has taken them this long to figure it out, and that when they finally DID figure it out they selected OLDER women. They have finally “grown up” and they can see the whole person.
            How many middle aged men chase after young girls? So many of them. Because they are immature. Would you actually want one of those men? I wouldn’t. I don’t think it has anything to do with the availability of the women. I think it has something to do with the sensibility of the men. Hang in there Sheila.
            Any nice woman can find a man to marry her. I want a GOOD one who is a keeper.
            My late Grandmother said I was a late bloomer, so I’ll go with that. A lot of men take a long time to grow up to be ready for marriage. It is astonishing, but in my own family I see it first hand. And a third brother who is now 54 has been no walk in the park for his wife and 2 kids. He is only now beginning to “get it”. She has hung in there, and so has he.
            It does often look better from the outside as Petra has said. I still live in hope that I will find a great match and I have no regrets that I have “passed” on the unsuitable proposals I have received over the years.
            Merry Christmas Sheila. I do not know what your spiritual persuasions are. i know it can be difficult, but I believe we never walk alone. And also there are many kindred spirits among us!

            Ms Jones:)

      • Adam says:

        “Plus for older women (I am 60s) there are far fewer men ? Ratio of one to three. Fact.”

        This is not true, certainly for the UK, see

        There are more women than men over 60, but the difference only really becomes significant for the 80+ age group (which is where the mean life expectancy lies), and even there the difference is nowhere near three to one until you get to the 90+ age group. This also holds for the U.S., see, and I suspect it would be true for other developed countries.

        It is extremely unlikely that differences in population between the sexes are a significant factor influencing ability to find a partner.

        • Sheila says:

          Hi Adam
          It appears to be more difficult for women – but that could just be my viewpoint. Older men do have a bigger age range of women to pick from. Some introduction agencies will take male clients up to 60 but women only up to 40 such is the prejudice and egoism of (some) men (I’m also thinking some internet dating sites). Plus (some) younger women will tolerate older men. It tends not to work the other way (true).

          The reality of ‘partnering’ might depend on interest or lack of interest. As an older woman and effectively a Merry Widow – I’ll admit having independence and freedom has a lot to recommend it, plus of course I don’t have to keep a hotel for someone any more. Its very easy to fall into this kind of thing when the shine wears off the partnership. There are lots of advantages in being single. Many women of my ilk simply do not wish to know.

          It Could be women and men show up in different places. I went on a singles holiday this New Year. There were 18 women and 2 men. Women just ‘show up’ more than men but I suppose if you were talking about golf or fishing there are likely to be more men than women present.
          The church (in the UK) would fall apart if it was not for women.
          Nevertheless – subjectively – I’ve got this feeling that men get ‘fixed up’ after divorce or death of spouse much more easily. Is one sex more desperate to be partnered than the other? A common prejudice is that men need someone to looks after them – and unfortunately or fortunately – depending on viewpoint – there are plenty of women who will oblige.
          All of the above make for good debating fodder.
          Best wishes

          • Ms Jones says:

            Hi Sheila – Happy New Year! I have to say the “Merry Widow” idea is sort if interesting. A neighbor of mine is 86. She has 2 daughters and has buried 2 husbands. She has another boyfriend now. She also has lots of girlfriends and goes on many trips, plays the piano, sings in a choir. She is a retired music teacher.
            This woman is on man number 3. She says she will not marry again. She has many fond memories of her late husbands, but she still likes having a man in her life. If he can’t do all the things she can, she does them with other people. She enjoys his company. And as far as taking care of him goes, I believe he has a loving family who assist him with his health and medical issues so she is not burdened with that.
            There are many formulas. I never say never!
            Ms Jones:)

        • Petra says:

          Thank you for this Adam! Statistics are a silly thing, they only show the average person – and who is this average person? You, me, neighbour? We are all much more complex and our lives are much more deep than a few numbers. Besides, as you noticed – stats can be interpreted in so many ways.. Nobody is a statistic, so let’s not use the numbers as an excuse.

  2. Daria says:

    But what approach you’re talking about?

    • Petra says:

      Dear Daria, thanks for your question. The different approach is looking at things from a perspective that we are creating our own life and reality, and it doesn’t just happen to us randomly. It’s taking the power back and starting to change our reality from the point of cause, not consequence. It’s a concept that is hard to grasp at first but once you do, everything in your life starts to change for the better.

    • Sheila says:

      To Ms Jones Happy new Year to you. I really have run out of ideas of where to go and what to do to meet someone. That is the crux of the matter and Im very frustrated. I really feel that I shoukd be DOING something and not sitting around having happy thoughts aka ‘the Secret’.
      No you should never say never about anything and of course – one might get what one wishes for and live to regret it. (This attitude of mine is ‘consolation’ and protecting me from feeling bad about ‘failing’ -thats why I am the way I am).
      Petra says positive belief will ‘work’. I suppose it might make me receptive to certain situations and goodness knows I try hard! Its in the lap of the Gods. I note another blogging relationship coach in the UK has put up a list of ‘where to meet men’. A more practical approach I suppose.
      Best wishes.

  3. Sheila says:

    Hi Petra – thanks for the nice struggling with : “But we can’t change the consequences (life, relationships, events) if we don’t change the source (our emotions, beliefs, thoughts).”

    This surely is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Consequences, relationships, events surely also fashion our emotions, beliefs and thoughts?

    I think there’s an awful lot of things we have no control over. So I’m not sure of what it is I can be in charge of.?

    Emotions you cannot control so I assume you are talking about the way we think about things?

    • Petra says:

      It is a bit of a chicken and egg – your feelings and beliefs do get formed by your experiences, then those experiences reinforce your beliefs. But unfortunately we can’t change experiences and that whole round-and-round dynamic if we don’t change beliefs and thoughts and feelings first. That is where the source is. Ourselves. Experiences are a reflection – consequences. The real issue here is to start believing that we are creating our reality. It is a huge mind bender for all of us humans because our society and religion and science (for the most part) are telling us completely the opposite – that life just happens to us, that some forces outside of us create our experiences and events. That we have nothing to do with it, and it’s all just one big lottery of life. Or God’s will.

      You can change your emotions, when you start thinking differently, when you let go of some belief – your emotions change too. They are fueled by thoughts and beliefs. For example: I believe I need a partner to stop feeling lonely. Then I find a partner and realise I am still feeling lonely. I can think: oh, it’s just a wrong partner. When I find the next one it will be better. But loneliness doesn’t go away with the next and the next and the next. Then I realise it’s not the partner who’s the problem. It’s me, I am the one who carries that loneliness and I am the one who feels disconnected. So I’ve changed my belief, and now I feel so much better being single, because I know a partner is not the solution. I am still lonely, but I know being single is not the cause of it. Then I can go look inside again and find the real source of loneliness. And so on. Step by step 🙂

      I know it’s tough but trust me, no real change can come from rearranging our life from the outside. Whatever we do, wherever we go, whoever we meet, it’s only a band-aid. Sooner or later the wound will be open again.

  4. Sheila says:

    Ok i do not disagree with your last comment. I am not sure whether you have your life coach or your love coach hat on. Anyway you say:

    “Everything you see as solid and fixed about your love fortune is flexible and ultimately you are very much in control”

    I still do not understand how I can have any control or influence about availability of potential partners. Doing ‘something’ from the inside is never going to change that situation. It is indeed true that I (and many women) will never have a relationship let alone find love. Statistically this has got to be so?
    What is solid and fixed for me is the fact that in 5 years I have never met anyone. Ive not even had a ‘real’ date. I cannot see how to change myself, my thinking can alter this situation.
    On the outside – in the externals I act as much as I can – in my interests of travel and work and building my business plus my hobbies. This is more than a lot of people do. But I never meet anyone. Please explain how I have to change internally to have a much better chance of meeting someone.

    • Petra says:

      Hi Sheila. The key is in your beliefs. If you believe that it is hard to find a (good) partner, it will be so. Statistics show an average – and they don’t represent any one person’s life. You only need one man, not a bunch – not even 2, let alone 10 or 25 or 2000 so that statistics work in your favour. It doesn’t matter what the statistics say unless they say 100% of women who are single at your age stay single until they die. If you’d like to find this one man you need to start believing he exists, regardless of your experience so far. You also need to believe you are ready for, and worthy of love. I know it is hard to change beliefs because your experience tells you otherwise – but what if it is the other way round – that your experience was such so far because you didn’t believe it is possible?

      • Sheila says:

        Hi Petra and thanks for that! Have a great New Year. I am looking at the books you suggested. I am celebrating NY in Dubrovnic!
        In my heart I believe it is possible – you are correct. Best wishes

  5. Sheila says:

    Reply to Ms Jones – thanks for that – you are clearly very supportive and caring – and you have helped me today when I’ve just got a bee in my bonnet – I do need sense and balance from someone like you – Hugs

  6. Ms Jones says:

    I appreciate your comments too Sheila. I get the bees too sometimes!
    BTW, I dragged a few girlfriends out to an Irish pub last weekend just to have a little fun. We ended up dancing and having a blast. I was the oldest perso in the place. I thought they were going to throw us out because we were so rowdy, but they said it was okay. The young people are a little inhibited these days!
    I just go with the flow on sime things. i can hardly guess what’s goung to happen sometimes!
    Happy Holidays for one and all!

    Ms Jones:)

  7. Scott Jennings says:

    Well, I hope that my love life is in my hands otherwise we’re all victims of the capriciousness of fate. I hope fate’s a myth.

    • Petra says:

      Haha Scott love your comments! Just do your thing and don’t believe me or anyone, learn from your own experiences and you’ll see what life is like. That’s exactly what I did – just never stopped questioning and trying different ways, nothing is set in stone.

      • Scott Jennings says:

        I’m glad that my comment made you laugh (maybe) but in some sense I was being deadly serious; I do hope that I have autonomy over my own life and I do hope that fate is nothing more than a fictional concept. I’ll definitely try to remember your advice. Thank you.

        • Petra says:

          Sorry I didn’t laugh at your comment… I am just really amazed how insightful you are and how much you think about life at such a young age. That is a wonderful quality. Just keep on doing it and I am sure you will find your answers.

          • Scott Jennings says:

            I wasn’t offended or annoyed so don’t worry. Thank you for your comment and the best of luck to you as well.

      • Sheila says:

        Yes theres acres of experience to be had! I have to remember Im a Rule breaker anyway.
        Best wishes to Petra

  8. Sheila says:

    Hi Scott. I think being in the right place at the right time to meet someone is pure chance. What happens after that we certainly have influence over. Best wishes.

  9. Scott Jennings says:

    I believe that your right, Sheila. Thank you for your valuable insight. Best wishes to you also. x

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