1. Wasting Time

You can waste months, years, even decades, with the wrong person, and had you been honest with yourself, you probably saw the signs from the very beginning.

It’s easy to feel like there is all the time in the world when it comes to dating. And while no one actually runs out of time to fall in love and get married, you can become circumstantially depressed if you feel you are running out of time. So, please don’t even have another cup of coffee with someone if you know deep down they are wrong for you.


2. Hoping

You wouldn’t just hope that someone would get a job for you, or take care of your health; if you did, you’d starve or die. Hoping that a potential date will take all of the initiative and ask you out—or be really nice and just descend from your living room ceiling—is a way of stalling romance and starving your love life.

Be assertive and make the phone call you’ve been sitting around waiting to make. It can be to ask a question, not just set a date. Ask your friends or family to push you out of your familiar world and cheer you on when you take risks. A good support group helps you feel optimistic, grounded, and deserving; and will encourage you to get out and get going rather than hoping.


3. Retaining Guilt

You have the right to make your own decisions and live your life as you choose. If you feel guilty when you say no—not just to potential dates, but to anyone—your time is getting eaten up and you are being intimidated or manipulated.

You can decide to do fewer favors, stop listening to anyone who repeatedly complains about the same unfixed problem, and cut back on overtime at work or an overload of volunteer work. You need to retrieve some of the hours you now spend elsewhere for not only having dates, but being able to relax and get in the mood for them. And you will also need some emotional free space to give attention and time to your mate when you fall in love.


4. Keeping Old Baggage and Emotional Clutter

Energy vampires are the people who seem to suck the life right out of you—blamers, controllers, and time gobblers. Or there may be someone who can ruin your mood with even the briefest of contact. Eliminate toxic people from your life. While it may not be feasible to eliminate everyone who may be destructive, leave behind anyone:

  • who is ineligible and unavailable
  • who doesn’t help you feel good about yourself
  • you cannot please
  • who doesn’t love you back


5. Lack of Self-Awareness

It’s often easier to see the faults in others instead of recognizing your own. In fact, sometimes the things you dislike the most about other people are the things you might not like about yourself. Perhaps it’s time for a wakeup call: If there’s always something wrong with them, then there’s definitely something wrong with you.

If you keep dating commitment-phobics, you are one. If you stay with sexist men or women, then you believe you deserve their slurs and derision. Work on building your intimacy endurance and self-esteem and these ineligible lovers will go out and find other victims. Best of all, as a confident and comfortable person, you are more attractive as a friend, date, and mate.


6. Self-Indulgence

Character assassination is not foreplay. Nothing dampens a love relationship faster than yelling, meanness, and overall immaturity. It takes a grownup to have a good marriage; in fact, it takes two. Unfiltered communications do not create a connection. They only create space between two people who do or could love each other. Be sure you are telling your partner what you feel gently and concisely, don’t tell some mangled version that will make her/him feel bad and puzzled and leave you frustrated. Considering your partner in thought, word, and deed is infinitely preferable to saying and doing what you want with low-level consideration and kindness.


7. Perfectionism

Perfect is boring. If you are a perfectionist, you know it, and your friends and family have undoubtedly pointed it out to you a time or two. No one is perfect, and no one ever will be—but for whatever reason, people still cling to the illusion.

The sooner you realize you can’t be everything, the easier life will be for you and everyone else around you. If you don’t love yourself the way you are, how can you expect anyone else to? Accepting your own lack of perfection means realizing that the person you marry will be imperfect, as will your relationship. Be real. Focus on positive attributes— your and theirs.


8. Negativity

Showing compassion and caring to the people around you advertises your ability to love, while hateful or critical behavior exposes self- centeredness. You simply cannot be viewed as a warm and likeable person when you keep thinking that “all men are pigs” or “all women will use me and leave me.” Bad attitudes severely limit the number of people you find acceptable and then, if you do find someone, chances are she or he will flee because you’re so unpleasant and negative.

Go on a negativity diet. Choose only three reasons you can use to eliminate a potential mate (e.g., smoking, poor grooming, and wandering eyes) and ONLY rule out based on those three reasons. Anyone else – date at least once. Looking for the good in people means that you are more likely to find it. Plus, being positive is infectious. By lifting the spirits of everyone around you, you feel good and are more appealing.


9. Ignorance about Love

The grand gesture isn’t a substitute for daily displays of caring, or proof of a solid foundation. It’s important to not just give what you think you should give (or give one big thing here and there), but to learn what your significant other likes, wants, and needs on a daily basis. Whether it’s attention, support for their dreams and goals, physical and verbal affection, communication about the future, or gifts, everyone wants to be acknowledged.

When you think about marriage and commitment, ask not what’s in it for you, but what you can do to help a partner feel happier than he or she has ever felt before. If the relationship is working for both of you, you will feel nurtured and loved, as well as nurturing and loving.


10. Inability to Listen and Learn

Your lover has to be heard to be understood and understood to feel loved. Have you tried to communicate with someone who was staring at TV or a computer, texting, or playing a game? How did that make you feel? Now imagine if that person was supposed to be your biggest fan, your partner in life, but they ignored half of everything you said.

To be a good partner, you have to be a good listener. A lack of communication can cause all kinds of problems in even the most loving relationships due to simple confusions about wants and needs. Learn to listen with your ears, eyes, and whole heart.

Click here for a complete list of all Dr. Janet Blair Page’s articles.


Dr. Janet Page is a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years in NYC and Atlanta, and taught for 22 years at Emory University. As the author of “Get Married This Year,” she speaks to audiences around the country about keeping love alive and finding your mate.
One Comment
  1. Thank you! This article gave me the impetus I needed to end a going no where relationship with someone who, while very nice, was Mr. What the HECK Was I Thinking???

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