Lizza Gebilagin: writer, editor & video producer

Is your life getting in the way of love?

Looking for love? Here’s why you can’t find it. By Lizza Gebilagin

Photo: Roman Kruglov

There comes a time in many a single woman’s life when she desires a permanent man-friend. Someone to hold her hair back when she’s throwing up after one too many cocktails, and to tell her that she’s still the most beautiful creature in the entire universe, even as she’s deathly hungover and reeks of kebab and old tequila. Ah, love. It’s a wonderful thing.

Now, if you’re a fabulous single woman who’s looking to share your bed and heart, the great news is that there’s a guy out there gagging to fill the spot. “But hang on a sec,” we hear you say. “If that’s the case, then why am I still sleeping diagonally across my queen-sized mattress – alone?!” Excellent question. We hate to point fingers, but the honest truth is, it could be that your life is getting in the way of love. Get the following sorted and you’ll soon be forced to reclaim your side of the bed.

You never leave home

Disney films were great at teaching us about the repercussions of lying (see: Aladdin and Pinocchio) and the effects of hallucinogenic drugs (good ol’ Alice), but Disney sucked at romance. Rapunzel may have had her husband-to-be randomly show up at her home, but yours won’t. He ain’t going to magically walk past your front door and think, “I bet my soulmate is inside, watching reruns of The Golden Girls. I’m going to introduce myself.”

If you want to meet a nice guy, you need to get off the sofa! Relationship blogger Emma-Kate Dobbin explains, “Women forget that the road to The One is a numbers game, so be open to date.” Expand your social circle. Head to that house party. Join a fitness group. Try online dating. Remember, a relationship consists of two people – and the fantasy man you spoon in your imagination does not count as a real person.

You’re already committed… to your job

Here’s how to know you’re in an all-consuming relationship with your career: when you’re not at work, you’re asleep; your friends don’t call you; and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to relax. Sure, you really want a boyfriend, but there’s no way you can develop a long-lasting love affair during your 12-minute lunch breaks.

Relationship specialist Christina Spaccavento says, “Ask yourself, is your workaholism a coping mechanism for a difficulty that you’re experiencing? Could you be scared of committing to a relationship?” If you do want to make time for love, Spaccavento recommends working more effectively and delegating tasks.

Sometimes your line of work isn’t conducive to having a significant other. Or, as columnist Sam de Brito points out, what you do for a crust could “cause untold distress to your partner if they happen to hold ideological views different from your own”. If that’s the case, you’ve got to make sure you’re happy with what you’ve decided is more important: relationship or work.

You stick to your checklist

Waiting for a prince to whisk you away could be another reason your bed is empty – especially if that prince has to be a 185cm tall, marathon-running, perfect specimen of a man who has an MBA and earns a zillion dollars a year. Dating coach Evan Marc Katz says that narrowing down your potential partners according to a set of superficial characteristics means you’re screwed. “When you put all those traits together, you’ve got .0001 per cent of all men to choose from. And then you wonder why there are no good ones!” he laughs.

So, rip up that list. Then think about what you want in a relationship. “Do you feel good when you’re with him? Does he want the same things out of life? Is he loyal? Does he respect that you’re close to your friends? A guy like that is a good fit,” Katz says. “But people don’t think that way. They think, ‘Ohmigod,  he’s a vegan, I’m a vegan!’, as if that has anything to do with how two people build a relationship.” Jokes aside, the next nice guy who asks you out, say yes. Who knows where it might lead?

You’re dating your ex (again!)

You mightn’t think you’re dating clones of your ex, but ask your friends for their opinion. “If you’re limiting yourself to a certain type of man, who doesn’t seem interested [in anything long-term], it’s time to realise that your type isn’t the right type for you,” says Dobbin. “So stay open to new ideas and people.”

Easier said than done, when your eyes fill with lust whenever you see your type. To remedy this, Dobbin suggests, “For one month, date the opposite of what you normally go for. The whole idea is based on yin and yang. Often we look for ourselves in a partner, so when we stop doing that, we have more success.”

This article first appeared in Cleo magazine Australia.

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