3 Common Mistakes Preventing You From Meaningful Relationships

We often tell ourselves, "There are no good men left!" But if your dates never turn into meaningful relationships or the man you're with feels like a stranger, hit pause. It's time to reflect.

By Amber Parker3 min read
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Shutterstock/Nick Starichenko

Here are three mistakes you might be making that are keeping you from having a meaningful relationship with a man who truly cares.

1. Succumbing to Loneliness

It’s difficult to admit when we feel lonely. One deep desire every person has is the longing to be understood. But how many people really know us and understand who we deeply and intimately are? Intimacy has become a misconceived concept. Sadly, our culture has come to profoundly understand that intimacy is not sex. No, culture says that sex is a primal hunger that needs to be fed, a pleasure that needs to be satiated. The problem is, once we have satisfied a desire, it isn’t long before we find ourselves desiring it once again because “we can never have enough of what we don’t really need.”

Sex is an expression of intimacy, but sex alone is not emotionally fulfilling.

To truly be understood would require a level of vulnerability that many of us tactfully avoid. We have this underlying fear that “if you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me.” So, we close certain parts of ourselves off to the people we are seeking intimacy with the most.

Being physically naked has become more pervasive than being emotionally naked, yet we all have an instinctual need for deep connection. But rather than work on developing true intimacy with a partner, the more common alternative is for women (and men) to jump into bed together, only to remain feeling unfulfilled. We have developed this destructive habit of clinging to the wrong people for shallow and selfish reasons, attempting to fill a void.

Loneliness has become an epidemic, with people pursuing relationships thinking that will fix their loneliness. While they may provide a distraction for a time, our hearts can’t be fooled. Being vulnerable with a partner requires trust, sincere love, and open communication; gifts that are selfless and ones that many of us aren’t accustomed to giving or receiving. And the reality is, without true intimacy, a relationship will only intensify the feeling of loneliness.

True intimacy involves taking the risk that if someone really did know you, they would love you.

When we are seeking companionship, we need to ask ourselves why? Seeking a relationship to fulfill you, fix you or make you happy is wrong because a fulfilling, healthy and happy relationship isn’t about you. A meaningful relationship is about two people, a team that shares a mutual definition of what it means for them to win.

2. Miscommunicating

The idea that “expectation is the root of all heartache” is a lie. Again, a relationship is a team, and for a team to win each individual player must play their position adequately and to do so they need to be aware of what’s expected of them. The problem then is usually not our expectations, but it’s our inability to properly communicate them.

Miscommunication is, unfortunately, the root of most heartache. A lack of communication is just as destructive as communicating in the wrong ways. So often we don’t communicate what we really need, we withhold our sincerest hopes and dreams, we're afraid to communicate our fears and failures, and all because of that deep-rooted insecurity, “if you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me.” We build up walls from the very beginning. We struggle to say what we mean or express how we truly feel and prevent our partners from ever seeing who we really are.

We tend to think that vulnerability is a mistake, most likely because of past hurts.

Communication requires vulnerability, and vulnerability demands courage. But courage is like a muscle that needs to be developed; it’s a virtue that is strengthened from the support of others. If, over time we experience more stifling than encouragement, our hurts become like scar tissue, adhering to the muscle making it even more painful and difficult to strengthen.

No one likes rejection, but remember this, wouldn’t you rather be rejected for who you really are than for who you’re not? Because eventually, any relationship demanding you to be someone you aren’t or one that doesn’t allow you the freedom to be genuine is doomed to failure. A person can only pretend for so long before they end up self-destructing or destroying their partner.

3. Barricading Your Heart

Guarding your heart is important, however, that doesn’t mean to completely block it from love. Previous hurtful experiences can cause us to push our heart aside little by little until we have shoved it so far out of the way, we don’t even recognize its voice.

Guarding your heart should really be protecting it from the lies your insecurities are feeding you.

Guarding your heart should really be protecting it from the lies your insecurities are feeding you. Guard your heart from the lie that someone can fix your loneliness. Guard your heart from the lie that your fears and failures make you unworthy of love. Guard your heart from the lie that because someone from your past didn’t value you for who you are then no one will.

Closing Thoughts

Relationships become meaningful when the couple shares genuine intimacy, a bond that solidifies an unbeatable team. These typical mistakes ruin a relationship from the very beginning and impede your chances of ever having a meaningful relationship at all.