By Dr. Fred Nour, M.D., Neurologist
The holiday season is past and was your New Year’s resolution to find a partner? Did you have a case of the holiday blues? In feeling alone, you can either channel your frustrations into depression or channel energy into working on a solution. Why is it that you can’t seem to find a partner?
The most common cause of being single comes from developing unrealistic fantasia (image of the person of your dreams). We all watched fairy tales during our childhoods and have read romance novels with perfect mates doing perfect things all the time. We believed these as reality and expected the same to happen to us when we became adults. In reality, we may not find a mate who is as perfect as we expect.
In order to succeed in finding a good mate, you need to set realistic expectations by developing two essential interconnected skills. The first skill is called introspection. The second skill is called acceptance.
Introspection is the ability to look at yourself objectively, from the outside, to see what you do right and what you do wrong. All of us could, through introspection, come up with plenty of things we wish we could change about ourselves.
Below are six common areas I advise you to think about:
- Completely erase all negative feelings from previous relationships. You can’t succeed in love if you’re unconsciously trying to punish your new potential mate because of negative feelings carried over from previous relationships.
- Look back at your previous relationships and ask your relatives, best friends, and confidants for advice on what they saw was good and bad in your past relationships. Often, they can see what you can’t see. Do more of the good and don’t repeat the bad.
- Learn to truly be a good listener. Allow the other person to finish their thoughts before you embark on giving your own thoughts.
- Eliminate unnecessary stress from your life, whether the source is work, home, personal, family, financial, or (like too many) all of the above. Try to work on eliminating factors that are in your control. It is quite simple: being relaxed and happier makes others want to be around you.
- Perfectionism is a problem. Perfectionists are often unhappy about their mates and about themselves. Be realistic, not idealistic.
- Make time in your life for a potential mate. It takes time to get to know someone, and for them to get to know the real you. We always find time to eat no matter how busy we are. Likewise, you must find time to devote to relationships.
- Listen to your instinct. It has unconscious genetic effects that affect your choices of a mate. Don’t try to convince your heart, let it guide you.
- Be genuinely yourself. You want to find the mate who likes you the way you are, not the way you are supposed to be. You want someone who is genuinely him/herself.
Now that you have worked on yourself, the next step is dating and entering into a relationship. To succeed in this step, you need the second skill, acceptance, in which you accept and rejoice in the reality of imperfection.
Here are six steps to keep in mind while trying to find your “soul mate”:
- You must accept that you will meet a mismatching person.Every one of us, even those of us married for many years, discovers that we married the wrong person. So why is that? No two people on Earth look identical because each person has a different set of genes responsible for their looks. Similarly, the genetic codes for the brain are unique to each person. It is impossible to find two people with the same physical features and brain structure. To find happiness, we must accept that whomever we meet is a mismatched person and adapt to those differences.
- It’s foolish to think that you will change someone’s personality. Most of our personality is genetically determined. We cannot change our genes or the genes of others. Just as you’ll expect your mate to respect and accept your separate personality, you must do the same.
- Gender differences in behavior and thinking is not a sign of a mate mismatch. Males and females have different sets of genes and differences in brain chemistry. You must accept that, not resent it.
- Avoid trying to fix your parents’ problems in your own life. You have a different set of genes and will have a different life. Accept that you are not your parents.
- Avoid over-reading people or jumping to conclusions. Give everybody a fair chance.
- On the other hand, don’t waste time in bad relationships. If it starts bad, it is not likely to change. Accept that fact and move on.
Now you can better reduce the difficulty in finding a mate and channel your frustration into a positive action plan.
Fred Nour, M.D., is double board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Neurology and Neurophysiology. He trained at Baylor College of Medicine and taught at the University of Illinois before devoting his time to private practice in Chicago. He is now semi-retired and lives in Southern California. He teaches part-time at the University of California, Irvine. He is happily married with two daughters in college who he hopes will each one day find their own true love.
Dr. Nour has been chosen as one of “The top doctors in metropolitan Chicago,” has been selected six times as one of “America’s top Physicians,” and is one of only 5% of about 7000 worldwide physicians to pass the VQE (Visa Qualifying Examination) in order to immigrate to USA as a physician.
True Love: How to Use Science to Understand Love is available on Amazon.com
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