6 subtle habits of people who never find love in life, according to psychology

Isabella Chase by Isabella Chase | June 22, 2024, 9:29 pm

There are almost eight billion people in the world. The chances of your never finding love are pretty slim.

But never zero.

See, in the age of social media, it takes much more effort to randomly stumble upon the love of your life on the subway. They’re probably going to be staring at their phone with their earphones in the whole time, and unless you pop up on their Tinder, they won’t pay you any heed.

And if they do, it takes a special kind of courage to approach you and ask for your number (read: Instagram).

Therefore, it’s quite important to assume an active approach to your dating life if you want to make any progress.

I know, it’s annoying. It’s also how things work nowadays, though.

These are the 6 habits of people who never find love in life, so make sure you throw them out of your daily routine.

1) They live their romantic lives in aeroplane mode

One of my friends – let’s call her Lucy – has never been in a relationship.

She’s in her mid-twenties and she very much wants to get dating and have a family one day, but there is something stopping her from pursuing those goals: instead of making this whole dating thing happen, she wants it to happen *to* her.

In other words, Lucy refuses to get on dating apps, is too shy to approach strangers in public, and doesn’t go out often enough to attract someone’s attention.

She lives her romantic life in aeroplane mode – while her singledom is functional, she can’t make any calls or send texts that would help her progress further.

She’s stuck in limbo, waiting for someone to reach out while simultaneously giving people very few opportunities to do so.

Look, you live in the 21st century. Dating apps are a big part of our lives. As the life coach and author of The Selfish Romantic, Michelle Elman, says: “Dating apps work. They do what they say on the tin and if they didn’t work, people wouldn’t use them.”

Furthermore, she points out: “We feel we need a cute romcom-style story for our relationship to feel legitimate but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you meet. Where you met goes out the window once you’ve gone on a second date. It doesn’t dictate the longevity, happiness or success of your relationship.”

If you don’t want to use dating apps, that’s perfectly fine – but it means you do have to be more assertive in approaching others and expanding your social circles.

Love isn’t going to just fall in your lap. Make it happen.

2) They engage in negative self-talk

Here’s a harsh truth: if you don’t think you’re good enough, why would other people assume otherwise?

After all, you know yourself best. We don’t have any reason to doubt your judgment. It is up to you to determine what you deserve in life, what you’re capable of, and where your limits lie.

And if you constantly engage in negative self-talk (“Why would anyone want to date me? I’m X and Y, no one will like that, I might as well give up”), you’re not doing yourself any favors.

In fact, you’re making your whole dating experience worse – not because you’re a terrible human being unworthy of love but because you believe in this faulty narrative so much that you sabotage yourself every step of the way.

According to Psychology Today, “The problem with negative self-talk is that it typically does not reflect reality, and so it can convince people, wrongly, that they are not only not good enough, but that they can never get better, paralyzing them into self-absorption and inaction.”

If you want to find love in life, you first need to seek it within yourself.

3) They hide behind unhealthy coping mechanisms

From hyper-independence to unrealistic expectations, many people who struggle to find love are their worst enemies.

It’s self-sabotage at its best.

You may come across someone who would make an ideal match just for you to act withdrawn and distant because they genuinely seem to be interested. It’s like the moment someone fancies you back, you’re one foot out the door.

Or you might expect your dates to cater to every need you have without ever acknowledging that you ought to pull your weight, too, and when they can’t meet those expectations, they fall off the pedestal, and it’s game over.

Whatever your coping mechanisms, they aren’t exactly healthy – and they serve to put up a wall between you and someone who has the potential to make you genuinely happy.

So, why do you do this?

Well, it all circles back to childhood trauma (because of course it does). 

The relationships we once built with our caretakers continue to affect how we connect to others in our adulthood, and so if you didn’t get enough affection, for instance, you might have grown mistrustful of other people’s ability to love you genuinely and consistently.

The moment someone expresses romantic interest, your brain automatically thinks to itself, “Bah! They don’t know me, so how can they be interested? It’s going to pass and they will move on, anyway. Might as well leave it be.”

And so you run in circles, one date after another.

4) They attract – and keep – what doesn’t serve them

Speaking of childhood trauma, do you know why so many people attract partners whose treatment of them is very similar to that of their parents?

Do you know why a woman who grew up in a household where the father was mostly absent may choose someone who turns out to be absent, too?

Because our brains are made of neural pathways, and those pathways strengthen or weaken based on which thoughts and external input they are being fed.

If you grew up surrounded by chaos, for instance, that is what the brain perceives as familiar – even though it doesn’t serve you. This is why you might end up with a partner who ultimately isn’t good for you but who, at the very least, feels familiar and therefore safe in some strange subconscious way.

The good news?

You can rewire your neural pathways to look for partners who offer you something else than the unhealthy patterns you are used to. It takes a lot of self-development work, but it’s entirely possible.

And remember – as Elman so pointedly says in her book, “You don’t attract the wrong people, you accept them. Therefore, who you attract is not a reflection of you, but who you keep *is* a reflection of you.”

5) They struggle to communicate effectively

I’ve found that one of the main reasons situationships are such a big thing nowadays is that people would rather hover in a permanent state of uncertainty than end situations that aren’t going anywhere.

One of my friends who’s in a situationship recently told me, “I’d rather have part of him than none of him.”

Look, I get that sentiment. I really do.

But it begs the question: is it sensible to commit to someone who isn’t committing to you?

I mean, isn’t it a waste of time? At this very moment, you could be dating people whose romantic goals are aligned with yours, and yet you’re pining after someone who wants something else completely.

Stop choosing what isn’t choosing you.

And then communicate that. Express your needs. State your expectations. And if the other person isn’t what you’re looking for…

Sometimes, you’ve got to let go of certain situations in order to make space for something better to come along.

6) They have high expectations but low standards

You know those people who always say they’re very picky when it comes to choosing partners, but then they end up in a relationship with someone who treats them like rubbish anyway?

Yeah. I used to be one of them.

It sounds like an oxymoron to have high expectations and low standards, but the truth is that there is a world of difference between what you expect and what you accept.

Expectations shouldn’t be too high because you’re going to have to amend them for the right person.

You can’t hold people to unrealistic expectations from the get-go because they will inevitably fail to rise to the occasion, and your disappointment will be enough to poison the dynamic with resentment.

Your standards, on the other hand…

Yeah, those deserve to be high. Not so high they’re unrealistic, of course, but at the end of the day, it is up to you to decide what behavior is unacceptable and what kind of stuff is a dealbreaker.

People with high expectations and low standards will want their partners to go above and beyond, and when they don’t, they will bitterly settle for what they can get.

People with low expectations and high standards will establish new connections with an open mind and a flexible approach, but they will also be very clear about what they ultimately want and don’t want.

Most importantly, if the other person doesn’t give them something they know they need, they’re not going to settle.

For example, I’m a veggie who loves animals. While I don’t expect my potential partner to own a vegan farm that is 100% environmentally friendly, I do need them to love dogs because I can’t imagine my life without one.

Make sure you know the difference between your expectations and your standards.


Ultimately, everyone can find love. But it isn’t as easy as sitting at home, hearing a knock on the door, and inviting the love of your life into your living room.

You’ve got to put yourself out there. You’ve got to learn how to communicate what you need and how to end situations that don’t serve you.

And most importantly, you’ve got to love yourself first.