Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry? We are all guilty of doing this occasionally. And what happens? You don’t make good decisions. You buy junk food, you buy too much, and you buy things that will solve your problem of hunger the fastest, like sugary, carb-laden foods. And if you snack on those chips on the way home from the store and indulge in some ice cream upon walking in the door to your home, you won’t feel good for long.
Dating is the same. When you are hungry for love and desperate for connection, you don’t make good decisions. Or, you make decisions from the mindset of scarcity instead of asking yourself “what is good for me” or “what do I truly need now” or “is this person truly good for me”? If you are lonely or hungry and craving connection, you usually don’t approach relationships from the right mindset. Subconsciously, you might feel like your potential partner is going to fill a void rather than really enhance your life.
Approaching relationships from a healthy, mindful place is like going to the store when you are satisfied physically and choosing organic vegetables, buying ingredients for well-balanced meals, and feeling clear and in control of your future.
Below you’ll find five signs that you might be approaching relationships from a place of desperation.
You Date Down
Maybe, out of desperation, you settle for someone who doesn’t make you feel all the things you are capable of feeling. Or, maybe you don’t express your needs as you should because you are afraid of being perceived as “difficult” or “challenging” to a new, potential love interest. Maybe you chronically “date down” in hopes that your new partner is captivated by your higher social status, good looks, income, or intelligence enough to stay in the relationship for the long-haul, and alleviating fears that your partner will leave you. Dating down doesn’t usually lead to a healthy long-term relationship and is often associated with desperation or issues with self-worth.
You Have Relationship Anxiety
When in a relationship, do you feel like you are doing something wrong or are always waiting for something to derail the relationship’s success? Do you blame yourself for any and every failure in relationships past? Do you have an anxious approach to relationships characterized by a need for consistent relationship contact and reassurance?Anxiously attached individuals tend to blame themselves, make up stories, lose clarity, or become obsessed with understanding why relationships aren’t working out as imagined. Individuals with anxious attachment style are often love-obsessed and desperate for connection as they feel empty and lost without it. If these scenarios sound familiar, you probably experience relationship anxiety.
When you are so hungry for love, or food, you will most likely rationalize your decisions. This might occur when select the “baked” chips at the grocery store or the low-fat ice cream or when convincing yourself that “everything in moderation” is a sensible approach. And while it most likely is, being hungry for love or food often leads to situations in which you tolerate less-than-ideal treatment or settle for misaligned values in an effort to avoid feelings of loneliness. You may rationalize your partner’s treatment of you or fail to be honest with yourself about the ways the relationship is falling short. For instance, if your partner is chronically late, disengaged, or canceling plans, you might tell yourself a story that he or she is “currently overwhelmed” or “has a demanding job” and choose to be compassionate for longer than you should.
You Make Dating Your #1 Priority
Being desperate for love often means making it a priority, even over self care and time with friends. This can be dangerous because it often means you are filling a void with dating and relationships. Without taking care of yourself – mind, body, and spirit – it’s nearly impossible to be available to show up fully for others. By sacrificing too much time with friends or doing the things that make you feel truly satisfied, you risk being too depleted to truly show up for your partner. This often happens if you are desperate to make space for love, allowing it to take precedence over what is needed for partnership at it’s foundation.
You Move Too Fast
When you are desperate for love, you are more inclined to rush relationship milestones or find yourself in rebound relationships or relationships that you choose too quickly without fully understanding the lessons of the previous relationship. Both these scenarios can result in failed partnerships as this desperation creates a sort of pressure on the relationship, as well as many of the other dynamics above, including “dating down” and putting relationships before self care. Moving too fast can lead to a wider range of disappointments as children, families, and friends are involved in the relationships prematurely and therefore affected by the inevitable fall out.
The intense yearning you may have for love is often met with challenges before the relationship can truly unfold. If you are unhappy with your life and believe a relationship can fix it, you are setting yourself up for ongoing disappointment and heartache.
In part two of this post, we’ll outline the strategies for overcoming this feeling of desperation, how you can approach dating from a healthy perspective, and set yourself up for long-term relationship success. In the meantime, commit to not going to the grocery store hungry and contact our team of relationship therapists to learn more about how we can support your journey.