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.

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13 Responses

  1. R says:

    Hi Petra,
    You are always spot on. Where did you study? Was it the school of hard knocks?
    I just want one women that loves me and is physically close to what I want. The last women I pushed away because of her weight, and now I’m kicking myself and alone again. I just have to have something physical that I adore. Her lips were like sugar, and her attitude towards life was awesome, but I have to have more. Am I wrong? Boy do I feel like an idiot.
    Please give me some short answer?
    Thank you!!

  2. Amanda Beaver says:

    Keeping others at arms length is safe. I am aware that I do that, and know it’s because I can’t handle being rejected again.
    When I look over my past I am so glad I am not with any of those people. Whew! There is not one I regret leaving behind. But then, not a single one stayed around long enough to form any level of relationship. Most men in my life came and went in less than 2 weeks. So, no feeling in love has never been an emotion for me. I gave up. I realized that a romantic relationship was not going to happen. It’s in the hands of higher powers now. Some people just don’t get everything; love, money etc…..

    • Petra says:

      Nobody gets everything in life! But usually we do get things we try hard to get. What we focus on, grows and expands. But I know when you’ve been rejected, battered and bruised, it’s hard to be positive about dating. However, it is necessary to get any kind of success. I’ve been there myself – but I kept going, that’s the only way to get to your goal. Take care

  3. Tracy says:

    My biggest issue is what do you do when you simply can’t envision romantic love in your life? Everywhere else is your life there is love – friends, the most dear you can imagine; healthy and loving parents; an abundance of love with and among siblings – and zero romantic love. In my case nearly a decade. How do you reconcile this lack? I think your points are great and very insightful but in my case it doesn’t really “fit”. What do you do when you’re a well adjusted adult, able to give and receive love, have a strong desire for romantic love and nothing, not even the unlikely meetings or unexpected interaction with the opposite sex. I’m talking serious dead zone. How do you negotiate that lack? I feel this is a concern that might not fit everyone but for me it’s sometimes difficult because no one can really relate to what I’m saying but it is real and I would be curious to hear what you recommend in this case.

    • Petra says:

      I would have to talk to you to see where the “blind spots” might be. If you would like that – let’s schedule a consultation, please contact me via Contact or Coaching page.

  4. Marty says:

    Love is luck you are either lucky or unlucky,if you are unlucky it will never happen.
    I have found for me excepting my bad luck has made me deal with a loveless life better than searching for something that is not possible to find.
    But everybody has different ways and ideas on what is best for them for accepting a life living as one.
    I’m a believer in fate when I realised my fate was a life as one it freed me to stop the search for love.
    Regards from Marty.

  5. Chris says:

    I wish I could do as Marty did and try to void it out of my life and accept it but the thoughts sit there and taunt me… 🙁 I work a lot more than I used to and sadly it’s primarily to avoid the opportunities to be a lone for long periods of time. I’m self employed and work in a strongly male dominated industry. All the girls at churches want kids (which I don’t)…. I had my e-harmony profiled closed by the site with a note that said I wasn’t compatible to any matches in their database…. that’s insane…

    • Petra says:

      Well, you have to go for it constantly and consistently, nothing will happen if you close yourself off from socialising and opportunities to meet new people. I know it can be tedious and frustrating, but it’s the only way forward. It’s also good to talk to someone like me to see where you might have internal blocks (fears, negative beliefs) that make it even harder. Get in touch if you’d like to talk about this, we can do a consultation. Please contact me via Contact or Coaching page.

  6. MeeLee says:

    Que sera, sera.

    My best advise is, to find a reason for living. Something you like to do most.
    Get to know yourself.
    And armed with that knowledge, you may have something in common with someone else who may ordinarily skip your view, but because of the common hobbies or likes, can be a unifying experience.
    A door where love CAN grow from, but no guarantees.

    A person with a lot of hobbies and interests, is more easily finds a partner than someone with none.

    Yet even someone with none, if he or she knows they have none, that knowledge by itself could be a unifying experience with another partner who also may not have any hobbies or any special interests…
    It could spark a conversation.

    Just saying…

    • Petra says:

      Good advice and thank you for chipping in. Everything is easier when you take your life into your hands. Hard to make any good progress if you’re just letting things happen to you. And love comes more easily when we are otherwise happier, content with where our life is heading.

  7. Isaac says:

    Im a white 22 yr old male I keep in shape and have a exercise routine, I work and can drive. However I’ve never been fortunate enough to grab a girls attention or to go on dates. I talk to a lot of people, however when i ask if i could treat them to a day out it’s usually they either roll their eyes or they put their hand up to my face , like saying; talk to the hand. So it gets me down from time to time and I struggle to develop self esteem . I do a lot of exercise to help and I believe I am ok looking . I’m not sure if I am worth the time of day to find someone. Any advice for a guy who has had no luck in finding any relationship with a girl? Thank you Petra

    • Petra says:

      Could be a lot of reasons why you get rejected and I can’t tell what the problem is until I know more details. But, if you have low self esteem and don’t see why anyone would want to be with you, improving your looks won’t get you a girl. It’s better to work on your confidence and knowing your worth – that will make you much more attractive. Best of luck!

  8. thanks for sharing your experience, it’s really like your blog.i think never been in love, Don’t stress about it because one day you will fall in love and the experience will be everything you thought it would be and also will be more than you could ever imagine. So don’t rush it because when it’s real, you’ll be so glad you waited. what is true love prednisone i think true love is beautiful moment for life and trust for your partner.

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