Image of Jaded from dating - reasons why I cannot love you

Why is dating so difficult? Perhaps a parable will help explain:

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."

How we respond to life's constant challenges makes a difference as to how we feel about ourselves. Some refuse to give into bitterness or self-pity. Others wallow in feelings that destroy their self-esteem. Whether you look inside or outside for your source of grief plays an important role in dealing with your struggle. Looked at the wrong way, self-pity can lead to a self-perpetuating, downward spiral justifying the feeling.

There are other feelings besides self-pity that can mess up your dating life. We all want love, affection, romance, and sex, but dating can be very discouraging. It takes money, time, and effort. (Online dating typically reduces these, which is one of the reasons why it is so successful.) Grudges from past, unsuccessful relationships get in the way. But, as practice makes perfect, the more we date, the more we know what we want and don't want.

To increase our dating opportunities, we have to focus on looking and sounding good, being fun and relaxed, acting intelligent and confident, charming and flirting with others, showing courage and strength, making people laugh by being funny, and the like. But if our standards, goals, and values don't align with others, our personas are going to reflect that and overshadow our efforts and other fine qualities. Cynicism and bitterness don't help our dating prospects or relationships. Negative energy doesn't help chemistry - our potential partners can see right through it.

What breeds success in dating? How bad do you feel when you're rejected? How do you get over dating failures? If you're not finding what you seek romantically, is it better to lower your standards? Do you find potential partners want the quality of someone trying to reach difficult goals, even if it means that they are currently suffering (e.g., financially, emotionally) as a result? How soon in a relationship do you communicate more about the deeper you, which sometimes might include a darker side?

Don't get me wrong-I think you're great. I like to eat dinner across from you, quickly glancing down at the fork idly fondling my food when you catch my eye. I like the coy smiles that pass between us, and the way that once we're both drunk you become brave enough to hold my hand, and I become excited enough to hold it back. I like it when my phone vibrates in the night and it's you saying something completely irrelevant, just so you could text me. I like that you like me; I like what we have.

But I can't love you. I can't love you because I couldn't love the one before you, and I wont [sic] be able to love the one after you. It's not because you're not wonderful, or because you don't deserve to be loved. It's because you've melted into those other ones-you're all the same. None of the dinners, the lazy days spent in bed cradling each other's naked bodies, the little things you whisper to me, none of it is new...

I can't love you because I'm measuring you against a yard-stick from long ago, and you keep falling short. Every movement you make, every tiny word you utter, I pick up and hold towards the sun to see if you'll turn transparent and I'll see him inside your skin. When he's not there-and he never is-I know I'll never be able to love you...

I can't love you because you adore me too much...

I can't love you because it's too hard and I'm too busy...

I can't love you because I'm happy on my own. It's been almost a year now, and I've healed from the destructive force of a previous relationship. I've learned how to enjoy my own company and laugh at my own jokes...

I can't love you because I'm scared. Because I've been broken hearted and I know the pain of losing something I love all too well. I don't have another heartbreak in me...

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