Never been in love
In my early days of writing this blog, one of my posts became very popular and attracted hundreds of comments. I wrote it to help people stop thinking they will be alone forever, and I argued that surely they will find someone, because they had someone in their life before.
Well, that’s how I learned that there are a lot of people who have gone through 40 or 50 years of their lives and never had a romantic relationship. The comments they left have taught me to be more careful in giving advice – because not everyone has a standard or “normal” experience with relationships – in a sense that they are, with shorter or longer gaps, spread out throughout their whole life.
So here is another non-standard thing I keep hearing from my clients and readers: they have never been in love. They might have had romantic relationships, but they don’t think they ever felt “in love”.
Hm. That one is quite hard for me to understand and help with, being a big “feeler”. Emotions have always been my world, and I mostly struggled with them being too strong, never too weak or non existent. Plus, there are quite a few psychiatric conditions and disorders that hinder people’s ability to feel things, and I am not qualified to help with those.
So I will talk about what might be the problem if you are a healthy person that can otherwise feel emotions, including love. You feel it in a broader sense, as defined in most major dictionaries: “Love: an intense feeling of deep affection”.
You are reasonably in touch with your feelings, meaning you can recognise and name them. You can feel friendship love, family love, love for ideas, living beings, activities, nature.
You can be attracted to someone, but your feelings for the person either stop at the level of physical attraction (you get attracted, but don’t develop an emotional connection), or you like them as a person or even love them, but without the attraction – more like a friend.
Falling in love happens when you feel both attraction and personal connection at the same time, and here is what might be stopping you from experiencing that.
Afraid of losing control
Romantic love is risky business. When you get to love someone strongly, you are exposing yourself to being hurt. They can leave, they may not reciprocate the feelings, all kinds of things can go wrong and you may end up in a lot of pain.
If you are afraid of getting hurt (maybe you’ve been hurt by someone close, someone you loved and trusted), that fear can be a strong motivator to never let your guard down again. You long for a deep connection – it’s a very strong, natural desire – but you are so afraid of losing control of your emotions, that you don’t let them develop at all.
If you ever get close to “losing your mind” for someone – you pull yourself back and retreat, find a reason you can’t love them and just cool off. That way nobody can ever steal your heart, not even those who would take really good care of it.
Unfortunately, there is no way around this risk. If you never let anyone in, you will never fall in love. You can be careful and gradually build trust and connection, but you have to take the leap at some point. And just dive into love. Regardless of the consequences.
Waiting for a fairytale
Maybe you think love can only happen if you get swept off your feet, and everything about the experience and your partner is perfect, romantic and flawless. You meet, you fall in love for each other fast and hard, and everything flows naturally and easily.
It can happen. But it is not the only way love happens, not even the most common way. It’s very common in movies and fiction of course. But not so much in reality.
If you are waiting for the perfect person in a perfect situation, you are probably missing out on a lot of opportunities to meet great, nice, interesting people and date them.
Sometimes you will meet them in a very non-romantic way, on your bad hair day, while you are upset, feeling sorry for yourself, on a random Tuesday lunch break. Sometimes you will meet them and become friends, and develop romantic feelings much later.
Sometimes you will meet them and discard them because they don’t quite look the way you imagine your ideal partner.
But if you stick to your perfect fairytale scenario, you have very little chance to fall in love with anyone. So, drop that fantasy, and open yourself to finding your imperfect, perfectly ordinary, true love.
You’ll be surprised how many great love stories start with a completely mundane, random encounters.
Keeping it virtual
Building relationships only or primarily through devices, chats and apps can also be the reason you can’t fall in love. This issue is becoming more and more common, especially with younger generations who are so used to communicating through screens that it feels more normal and natural than meeting and talking face to face.
But, even though communicating through a screen can feel close and real, it is very different from meeting and spending time together. Written exchanges are often carefully crafted as opposed to spontaneous, real-time conversation that shows much more of who you are. Not to mention the lack of nonverbal communication which is crucial in seeing if you truly have a connection with someone.
Online can feel safer – you can easily end the communication if it becomes too intense or uncomfortable. But, as said above, playing it safe can also prevent you from developing strong feelings.
It’s hard to get to know someone through text and chat, without seeing each other in real life, doing things together, bonding through experiences. Talking through devices means you are seeing only a part of that person. You are discussing life with them, not living it together.
There is nothing wrong with communicating and finding partners online. But if you want to see if you can fall in love for real, you have to take and test your relationship in the real world.
Do you feel you can never fall in love? What seems to be stopping you?
Thank you for sharing.