Some single people find themselves toiling hard, really hard to make love happen. Consider the case of Toni Larusso of New York. She put intense effort into making a guy her exclusive boyfriend. “I was crazy about him,” she recalls. “I changed my work schedule, dropped most of my friends. They begged me to quit seeing him and their concern helped me realize what I’d gotten myself into. Now that I’m over him, I’m trying to figure out why I wasted so much effort on someone who didn’t reciprocate.”
Like Toni, many of us are guilty of laboring for love. We try too hard to make things work with someone who’s unworthy—or just plain uninterested. We accept things we otherwise wouldn’t want to and turn a blind eye to egregious flaws and foibles in our relationships. But we don’t have to keep doing it.
Get Real: “The first thing you can do is to become honest with yourself and raise your self-esteem,” counsels Sonia Choquette, author of Trust Your Vibes. “Somewhere along the way, you came to wrongly believe that you are not OK and are accepting poor behavior from others or are aligning with those who have nothing to offer because of your weak self-image.” That’s the root problem. “If you are in the habit of being with the wrong person, take a break from dating and fall in love with yourself,” she suggests. “Do for yourself all the things you tend to do for the other. Give yourself gifts, take yourself to lunch or dinner, and give yourself statements of appreciation.” Recognize your talents when you do a good job or when you’re a good friend. You may also want to seek the services of a therapist or counselor if these little pick-me-ups don’t work. “The key to getting what we deserve is to know that the first place to look is within ourselves,” she says. “No one will treat you better than you are willing to treat yourself. If you criticize yourself, never speak up, don’t ask for what you need, or are in the habit of over-giving in order to manipulate others, all relationships you have will show signs of strain.”
Question whether to pursue: Does this mean you have to stop going after a certain someone or break off a budding relationship ASAP? “Not necessarily,” says clinical social worker Helen King. “Once you have a realistic assessment of the relationship, decide if you are really with the person you want.” Then figure out if the person is willing to work with you to make things better. “If you stop working so hard, you may allow your date to step up and participate,” she notes. “If you don’t give the person the chance, you may never know how invested he or she is.” If you think your behavior may have entered the realm of working way too hard, King suggests answering these questions for yourself:
• How is the rest of my life affected by this situation?
• Am I losing sleep or not taking care of myself?
• Is my work suffering?
• Am I ignoring friends?
If you have some answers that indicate that your approach to dating is detrimental, King notes, “you may need to step back from the romance.”
Stay the course: But how can you make sure you don’t step into a negative situation again with the next person you date? “Knowing that we each deserve to be in happy, loving, mutually supportive relationships is the key to not repeating the mistakes of the past,” King says. “Learning from each romantic experience, building upon the positive aspects, and getting out of situations that repeat the negative, will ensure that the next relationship is closer to what you are looking for.” To do that, think hard about what you need and the type of person you want. Then, King says, “commit to yourself and a buddy who can help you stay on track. “As you date, you will continue to check in with yourself and your support [person], to ensure that what you said you wanted and who you are with match, at least on the important things,” she notes. “Don’t stay in a budding romance because you fear being alone or failing. Listen to your heart and your inner self; they will lead you on the right path.“
Sound off: Chime in on a thread where Boomers are sharing the joys of independence… Freelance writer Margot Carmichael Lester labored and lost in several relationships before getting it right. Her advice appears in the anthologies How to Survive Your Marriage and How to Survive Your Divorce.
NB: This is for single and searching like me that keep asking themselves what the hell is going on and y they dont have someone…………Please note that these are TIPS!!! U dont have to go by them.