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Relationships • Finding Love

What If the People We Could Love Are Here Already; We Just Can’t See Them?

There is an awkward question that should gently be entertained by all of us who complain that we ‘cannot find love’. What if, despite our protests, despite our insistence that there is (very sadly) ‘no one around’ and (maddeningly) ‘no one suitable’, there were – in fact – many eminently viable candidates whom we are walking straight past without seeing? And we do so because we are not in fact, contrary to our beliefs, deep down open for love, because in our souls, we would rather not run the risk of trying to find intense satisfaction with anyone, perhaps because our attempts to find love from our caregivers in early childhood ended in excruciating suffering we have yet to explore or overcome.

Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

In our ongoing attempts to avoid connection, we might opt to get involved with people who already have a partner, or who need to devote themselves to a very demanding job, or who live far away or are unsuitable on the grounds of age. We can then stand back and explain that we wished the situation were easier – while relying very much on the comforting knowledge that it isn’t so. 

We might take a compassionate but robustly inquisitive audit of our behaviour:

— Might our strategies for finding love all be carefully calibrated to fail? Might the friends we are relying on to introduce us to someone never be able to do so (and we deep down know it)? Might our way of behaving on dating apps be guaranteed to end in frustration? 

— Was that person we recently met really so ‘wrong’? Or was their apparent wrongness not just a reflection of our terror of their possible rightness?

— Might the people we have spent months or years obsessing about interest us chiefly because they pose no risk to our isolation?

— Do we find fault so as – always – to be able to retreat to a comfortable position of being bereft? Is it in key ways easier to continue to be alone?

— Was calling them ‘boring’ or not ‘sexy’ just our way of saying that they were ‘a potential challenge to our defendedness’ or ‘capable of knowing us properly’?

— Might our rejection be a preemptive move to prevent the danger that they might declare us unacceptable? 

— And lastly: Might we be up to our tricks because we need to keep repeating scenarios of failure – for we haven’t digested the pain of an original rejection at the start of our lives? Do the clues lie in the nature of our relationships with our first caregivers, especially the caregivers of the gender we’re attracted to? Do we ridicule psychotherapy because we’re worried it might have something to tell us?

Who we see in a given environment is – to an extraordinary extent – determined by who we are in a position to see; someone not ready to love is blind. We may find there are far more candidates at large once we have the capacity to receive them into our hearts.

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