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Love isn’t always an easy thing.
Sometimes we just fall into it. We find a person who just feels like home, and it feels right.
Others struggle more. They may yearn for love but find themselves unable to forge the kind of connection that can keep a long-term relationship healthy.
Some people even make the conscious choice to derail the process of falling in love so that they do not get too close.
Why can’t someone fall in love?
Why would someone not want to fall in love?
1. Fear of commitment and expectations.
Every relationship brings commitment and expectations with it.
When you enter into a relationship with a person, you agree to share your life with them. That also means making compromises for the sake of the relationship.
In a healthy relationship, these compromises go both ways or better serve the whole relationship. In an unhealthy relationship, what looks like a compromise is often one-sided.
For example, in a healthy relationship, you may decide to alternate holidays to share every other holiday with each partner’s family. This is a common compromise in relationships where both parties want to see their family on the holidays.
However, in an unhealthy relationship, one person may just flat out refuse to visit their partner’s family just because they don’t want to.
It takes an incredible leap of faith to be willing to commit to your partner healthily. And some people just don’t want to do that.
Some people actively choose it because they don’t want to be tied down to one particular person or place. Other people avoid it because they’ve been hurt or abused in the past, which causes them to fear losing their autonomy again.
2. Relationship trauma that prevents you from being vulnerable.
The person you love is in the greatest position to inflict world-shattering trauma on you. And, unfortunately, some people experience exactly that.
You may love your partner for years, trust them with your life, and then you find out they’ve been cheating on you for the past few years. They willfully took the time to go around behind your back, regularly manipulate, and lie to you. Perhaps they put a smile on their face every day to tell you they loved you while trashing you in an instant messenger to their affair partner.
And then what? Now you just have to deal with the fact that the person you loved most betrayed you? How do you get over that? How do you move past that?
Then you wonder, am I just stupid? How did I not see it coming? How could I not tell something was wrong all this time?
After a traumatic experience like that, it’s extremely difficult to be willing to make yourself vulnerable to love again.
And, of course, affairs aren’t the only terrible things that can happen in a relationship. Domestic abuse and violence certainly rank up there, especially if the person did a good job of masking who they were in the build-up to the relationship.
3. Childhood trauma that makes connecting with people difficult.
Childhood trauma plays a significant role in connecting with other people as adults.
Absent parents can cause a person to yearn for any affection and attention they can get, whether it’s positive or negative. An abusive parent who only gives attention and praise when the child does something they want can reinforce the child’s yearning for connection and fear of losing it.
A child who lives in fear of their parents may not express the kind of vulnerability needed to fall in love and have a healthy relationship.
And that’s to say nothing of the many ways that child abuse, neglect, and trauma affect how a person develops as they grow.
4. Mental or physical illness may be interfering.
Love is a product of the brain, and many problems can affect how a person loves.
For example, mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder can dramatically affect a person’s emotions, including love.
In addition, head injuries, dementia, and Alzheimer’s can affect how individuals see the people they love and interact with them.
Some people believe that love is somehow bigger than that. And hey, maybe it is. But if it were, you would think that there would be far fewer suicides, overdoses, and terrible things that go on in the world that love simply cannot stop.
More likely, love is a product of the brain, and the brain can be sick or not function correctly like any other organ.
5. Fear of losing yourself in the relationship.
Some people have a fear of losing themselves in a relationship. They may be codependent or have other unhealthy views on relationships that prevent them from maintaining healthy boundaries.
Healthy boundaries are important in a loving relationship because they ensure that both individuals are respected. People with poor boundaries may find themselves taken advantage of because they assume that their partner will do the right things for them.
Unfortunately, people often aren’t that good.
A person without a strong sense of self may not bring their actual self into the relationship. Some people function like chameleons, where they take on the habits and mannerisms of the people around them because they don’t feel like they have their own personalities.
That can make healthy, loving relationships extremely difficult because they are not actually loved for who they are. Instead, their partner falls in love with this illusion, which dooms the relationship and perpetuates the cycle.
6. Low self-esteem or self-worth.
Low self-esteem can cause people to believe that they are not worth loving. Low self-worth encourages the person to tell themselves that they will never be good enough to be loved. Thus, they avoid letting themselves fall in love to protect that image of themselves and their beliefs.
Often, a relationship isn’t a good idea when you have low self-esteem or self-worth because your boundaries are likely to be flexible. It’s easy for an unhealthy person to take advantage of that low self-esteem and disrespectfully treat them.
And sometimes, self-worth isn’t even about that internal narrative. There are people out there who tie their sense of self-worth to things like their wealth, ability to provide, prestige, or whatever else provides them a sense of fulfillment.
7. Fear of abandonment.
The fear of abandonment is a real and pervasive thing. You may find that you don’t allow yourself to love, so you don’t need to potentially be abandoned by your partner for whatever reason.
There are plenty of horror stories out there about people who left their partner while sick, disappeared with an affair partner, or just up and bounced for no discernible reason.
The unfortunate thing is that those fears aren’t entirely unfounded.
However, suppose you want to experience love and connection. In that case, it requires the vulnerability to take a chance with someone you feel you can trust. Not everyone will abandon you. Not everyone is just biding their time until they can skip out onto something better.
8. You might be aromantic.
What does it mean to be aromantic? In simplest terms, an aromantic person is someone that simply has no desire for romantic relationships. They do not seek out love, do not want to fall in love, and have no interest in all that entails.
That should not be confused with depression. Some people out there feel they are aromantic and are really just depressed. That depression is stifling their need for connection and love, which causes them to avoid seeking it out. So, before you decide that you’re aromantic, it would be a good idea to figure out if you’re just depressed.
You can take a look at your past history for a better idea. For example, suppose you had previous romantic relationships where you desired love and connection. In that case, you may just be going through a temporary downswing rather than being aromantic.
That said, you may also find that your desire shifts later on. People change.
9. Your expectations and standards are too high.
Mainstream media has created romantic standards and fantasies well out of the reach of just about everyone.
How many movies have you seen where everything works out? The woman gets swept off her feet by her Prince Charming, and everyone lives happily ever after? The man meets his Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who encourages him to cut loose, loosen up his tie, and fall in love? Maybe move to an idyllic small town where he can learn that the big city life with all of its cold, competitive people isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?
“I want to find my soulmate.”
“I want to find my perfect partner.”
“I want to find my Twin Flame.”
This ain’t no movie. There’s no such thing as a happily ever after. There can’t be. Because even if you find the absolute most perfect person for you, one of you will die sooner or later. And then what? Then you can pass from Broken Heart Syndrome a few months later? Happy as f*ck, ain’t it?
No, some people hear these kinds of stories and get so enamored with them that they lose sight of the fact that they are just stories. Or, they are waiting for that perfect lightning to strike. They are waiting to feel that flutter in their stomach that tells them, “Oh, this is the one!”
Well, guess what?
That flutter is actually a stress response from your nervous system. It’s a psychological stress response from the flood of feel-good chemicals that come from lust and infatuation. And the person that you love may not invoke that feeling at all. Instead, love sometimes just feels like coming home.
The yearning for the storybook romance can also cause a person to miss out on some great relationships. They have this mental image of their ideal partner, someone who ticks off all the boxes on their checklist, not realizing they are boxing themselves away from a world of possibilities.
They have no idea whether or not they are actually compatible with the person on their checklist. Hell, they may find that their “ideal partner” is nothing like they imagine. Still, those unreasonable standards can cause a person to miss many opportunities for love to pursue the ideal person.
10. You are waiting for the perfect time that will never come.
“I’m not ready to settle down.”
“I just want to get through college before I get into a relationship.”
“Now just isn’t the right time…”
Perfect is the enemy of good, and life is what happens when you’re waiting for the stars to align in perfect harmony to do what you want to do. Nothing is ever perfect in life because that perfect thing will change sooner or later.
You want to wait until you have a job? Fair enough. What if you lose it, though?
You want to wait until you’re out of college? Also fair. College requires a lot of work and focus. But you’re also missing out on one of the best networking events that you can possibly have in your life.
“Now is just not the right time!” So when is? When everything is perfect and smooth? How many people do you think have a perfect and smooth life? Many people put up a facade to make it look that way, but it’s often just a lie, a public relations campaign to ensure no one asks questions or judges them.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a person may not be able to fall in love. It may be something they are choosing to do for personal reasons or because the idea of being vulnerable is deeply unsettling. On the other hand, their reason may be rooted in their development, struggles with life, or mental illness.
Still, deep down, most people yearn for social connection, to not only love but to be loved. And if you are one of those people who wants to love and be loved that just can’t quite seem to make it work, we would encourage you to talk to a certified mental health professional about the problem. They will help you figure out what’s causing the roadblock that is keeping you from having the life you want to have.
We recommend the online therapy available at BetterHelp.com where you can connect virtually with someone who is trained to help people like you overcome their issues. It’s easy, convenient, and can be accessed whereve you are in the world.
Click here to learn more or to arrange your first session.
Not all people are terrible. Not all people will hurt you if you show them your vulnerability. And a select few will go to great lengths to protect that vulnerability, nurture it, and help it grow.
That is love.
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