I am the king of psyching myself out. And I have an acute fear of success. These two things result in the sabotage of a lot of would-be relationships.
This self-sabotaging is actually very common. The more serious a relationship gets, the more energy and investment you put into it, the more you risk — and fear — failure.
That fear is a defense mechanism. Despite our quest for love, we're scared of it and often try to control our feelings in an effort to minimize the chances of a broken heart.
There are a list of "rules" people use to control love and dating. Here are a few:
The Timing Must Be Right
I used to think I had to be with someone for a certain amount of time — usually six months — before I could agree to a relationship. This may have stunted something that could have been meaningful. It's not possible to control your feelings when it comes to love.
There shouldn't be a time limit or required amount of time. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen whether you like it or not.
Men equate marriage with the end of personal growth. In other words, remaining single will give you more ability to move to a new town, or test out different careers, and develop as a person. This may be true, but in a healthy marriage, both individuals are able to grow while remaining a team.
Of course, it's easier to be mobile when you're not married. And you never want to look back and say "What if I had tried this?" But you don't want to let that special person get away. It may be worse to look back and say: "What if I still had that person in my life?"
When you start a new relationship, you want to see each other all the time. In the back of your mind, you tell yourself to temper the time you spend together to avoid relationship burnout.
But, if your feelings are destined to burn out, they'll burn out regardless of how much you hang out with each other.
The healthiest approach is to do what your feelings tell you to do: Hang out as much as you want to hang out with that significant other. At some point, your friends may say something, or you may miss your friends. If you're in a healthy relationship, you'll be able to spend time apart when the time is right.
These rules are classic cases of head vs. heart. You could be disappointed if you listen to either — you could miss out on something special if you listen to your head, but you could miss out on certain experiences if you listen to your heart. I've always lived by my heart's rules, but there's no right answer.
What are your thoughts on the above, and what other "practical" rules do you try to apply to relationships?
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Macaulay Culkin Made Wife Brenda Song Cry With His Hollywood Walk of Fame Speech: "You're Absolutely Everything"
"You're the best person I've ever known."
By Fleurine Tideman
Selena Gomez's Valentino Rosette Dress Actually Felt Groundbreaking
Miranda Presley, eat your words.
By Maria Santa Poggi
33 Luxurious Gifts I'm Buying Myself This Season
Because I'm worth it.
By Anna Laplaca
30 Female-Friendly Porn Websites for Any Mood
All the best websites, right this way.
By Kayleigh Roberts
The 82 Best Cheap Date Ideas for Couples on a Budget
"Love don't cost a thing." —J.Lo
By The Editors
Diary of a Non-Monogamist
Rachel Krantz, author of the new book 'Open,' shares the ups and downs of her journey into the world of open relationships.
By Abigail Pesta
COVID Forced My Polyamorous Marriage to Become Monogamous
For Melanie LaForce, pandemic-induced social distancing guidelines meant she could no longer see men outside of her marriage. But monogamy didn't just change her relationship with her husband—it changed her relationship with herself.
By Melanie LaForce
How the pandemic has mutated our most personal disunions.
By Gretchen Voss
16 At-Home Date Ideas When You're Stuck Indoors
Staying in doesn't have to be boring.
By Katherine J. Igoe
Long Distance Relationship Gift Ideas for Couples Who've Made It This Far
Alexa, play "A Thousand Miles."
By Jaimie Potters
15 Couples on How 2020 Rocked Their Relationship
Couples confessed to Marie Claire how this year's many multi-stressors tested the limits of their love.
By Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW