You are dating someone you get along with great. You feel great affection towards him; a bit like you would for a best friend. You find him somewhat attractive and love his personality. The thing is that despite numerous dates, you do not seem to be able to work up any kind of real passion for him. You worry that you are just lackluster about him and that marriage would be uninspired and joyless.
Here is your thought process: on paper, things are basically right. You and he line up on most matters – values, attitudes, interests, etc. – but despite this, the spark is missing. You have always imagined that you would be “crazy about your guy,” yet here you are “not feeling it.” The situation is highly frustrating for you because you would love to feel differently about him and the emotions are just not happening.
As explained in the article called Why Am I Not Falling in Love? some people will find it difficult or even impossible to “fall” in love. Their minds are wired that they love people with whom they have an existing relationship, and will struggle to feel love towards someone with whom they do not have an affirmed and established relationship. This is certainly one reason why someone could come up against an emotional brick wall in their dating. If you think this could possibly describe you, please read that article.
However, most people do not fall into that category, yet they are still capable of having a hard time mustering up enough passion towards their date to push them past the finishing line. This could be for a variety of reasons, many of which are addressed across the various articles on this site (for example, avoidance or anxiety issues). However, there is one outstanding culprit in this situation, which will be explained here.
The Mechanics of Falling in Love
One of the reasons why people could have a hard time falling asleep is because their mind is racing and they cannot relax. In order to drift off to sleep, you have to be willing to let go. If you are hyper anxious and tense, it makes the body alert instead of drowsy. The same is true about developing feelings of love. You need to feel comfortable with the other person, which is what the dating process aims to do. As you become increasingly relaxed about the person you are dating, as your questions are satisfactorily answered, you are able to slip into a romantic state.
If, instead, your mind is working on doubts you have about marrying this person, you are going to find it hard to let go and allow yourself to develop loving feelings. That is why the term “falling in love” arose. Just as when falling off a cliff, it comes because the person was not paying attention, so falling in love happens when a person is not focused on it. The more you think about it, the less likely it is to happen. It is a bit like pursuing happiness: the more you chase after it, the further away it gets from you.
As we spend more time with our date, we become increasingly disarmed. We begin to trust them, and our initial nerves dissipate. As we exchange personal information and it is well received, we lower our guard. While to start with, any moments of silence were anxiety-inducing, now we feel so comfortable that we are just happy to sit together in silence without feeling awkward. We reach a point where we are comfortable being vulnerable in front of our date, and are willing to share things about ourselves that make us look bad. We feel accepted and validated for whom we are, and this is a profoundly liberating feeling.
Being so comfortable in the relationship, we let our emotions go. The moment we let go is when we are ready to fall in love. If, on the other hand, we are still questioning whether we really like this person, or if we are torturing ourselves over something we cannot seem to get out of our head, it is much more difficult to develop those warm emotions. That is how our brains are wired.
Chicken and Egg Situation
We have here a classic catch-22. This is a typical chicken and egg situation. Your doubts are what is causing you not to feel love, and the fact that you do not feel love is feeding into your doubts. Unless this cycle is somehow broken, you shall remain stuck. It is not easy to break the cycle, but that is your only option. This may not be what you wanted to hear, but it is the most likely explanation.
So long as your approach towards your date is critical – in the sense that you are taking an objective look at the person, much as an art critic views a painting – then you make it difficult, if not impossible, to feel passion towards your date. Your awareness of the lack of passion is only making your more critical and anxious, leading to a self-sustaining loop of resistance to commitment. Put another way: your heart is pushing you forward (because you really like her), but your mind is pushing you back (because you are still thinking it through).
Let us, therefore, be clear. For as long as you are still thinking it through, your ability to let your emotion flow is going to be impeded. Do not be surprised if you reach an impasse. You are hoping that if you develop feelings towards her that your doubts will vanish, but you need to understand that your doubts are what is making the chances of feeling love improbable. You, therefore, need to go through the issues you have one by one and see if they really are deal-breakers. If they are not, you have to be willing to let them all go and start to “get in the moment.” You will see things change quite dramatically.
Cause and Effect
I do not delude myself into thinking that this message has made me more popular, but it is the simple truth. You are not feeling love because you are stuck; you are not stuck because you do not have feelings of love. Your being stuck is the cause, and the lack of love is the effect.
The law of cause and effect is that you cannot change the cause by altering the effect, but you most certainly can change the effect by altering the cause. That is just how it is. You cannot change the effect, namely not being in love, but you can change the cause, which is holding onto your issues. It may not be easy, but it is doable. Focus on what you can do, and not on what you simply cannot.