5 Surprising Ways You Close Your Heart When Dating

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One of the most surprising revelations I had is when the still, small voice inside of me said that I was using makeup as a way of not allowing myself to be vulnerable. What? Like, my foundation is keeping my partner away? It was the start of summer, and I was walking along the ocean, praying for guidance as far as how to release the blocks in my relationship. The still, small voice responded, You think you need to look perfect. You think that f you look perfect, someone will love you. You’re unwilling to show the real you. You think you need to earn love.

The truth was that I was a perfectionist, and I did rush to apply makeup after getting out of the shower Thinking I needed to look at be perfect in order to be worthy of love was an unconscious script that I was unaware of up until that moment. When you are in a relationship, or dating, there are two scripts running in tandem: the conscious thoughts you’re aware of, and the unconscious thoughts and fears that drive you, but you don’t realize this until you get quiet and look inward. 

In other words: You’re closing your heart to potential partners in ways that you can’t even imagine. Your inability to be vulnerable and let people in manifests in quirky ways that are easy to miss if you’re not present.

That being said, here are 5 surprising ways you might be closing your heart:

1)There are certain things you’re unwilling to share.

Your past. Your family. Your dreams. Your true emotions when you have a bad day. The list goes on an on. You expect your parter, or date, to be open and honest with you, but there are certain topics that are off the table, as far as you are concerned. You’ll open up about work, or your friendships, but when your date asks about your family, you say it’s complicated. You have a secret dream of being a singer, but you don’t trust your partner enough to tell him. You had a horrible day, but when your partner calls, you fake a pleasant tone and tell him that everything is fine. When he asks if you’re sure, you withhold the truth and choose to present a facade instead.

Every time you are unwilling to share something with your partner, or potential partner, it creates distance between the two of you. If you want an emotionally mature relationship, you have to be willing to open your heart, which means sharing your truths.

This is not to say you should turn your first date into a confession, rather, that when the instinct to close your heart and shut down arises, ask yourself if not sharing that thing will bring you closer to this person, or create even more distance.

2)You don’t want to communicate anything negative.

It’s easy to tell someone how great he is, to gush over a person, or to express how enchanting it is to cuddle and be close. It requires a whole other level of spiritual and emotional maturity to look your partner in the eyes and calmly tell him that you’re experiencing feelings of frustration or anger, because of something that he did or said. It can feel unsafe to share negative emotions, and while it’s easy to talk to other people - your mom, best friend, or coworker - it’s a lot more challenging to discuss issues with your date, or partner. Out of habit, you won’t share your upset feelings, but they’re still in there. You start to close your heart. Your partner reaches over to hug you and you pull away. You send a curt text. He asks if anything is bothering you, and you reply, fine. This unwillingness to communicate negative emotions is a way you’re closing your heart unknowingly. In the moment you want to shut down and not communicate your feelings is the exact moment that you need to become aware of this pattern and break it. Speak up, and do it in a loving, calm way.

3)You’re still seeking elsewhere. 

When your cute coworker passes by your desk, you bat your eyelashes wonder why you didn’t wear something nicer. You put out flirtatious energy, because you tell yourself that it’s harmless. It’s what everyone does. You don’t think about the fact that most people are in unhappy relationships, and maybe you should stop doing what most people do. You say you want a committed relationship, but you still have your feelers out; not in an overt way, but in subtle ways. You look around the bar on Friday evening, when your partner’s not there, and some voice in your mind whispers, He’s cute.

This is not to say that you’re never going to find other people attractive, but rather, that you become aware of your energy. Are you sending out messages to other people that you’re interested? Do you enjoy when other men, or women flirt with you, because it boosts your confidence? Is your flirtatious behavior rooted in insecurity and creating distance between you and your partner that you’re unaware of? Possibly. If part of you is still seeking elsewhere, that energy is pushing away whoever is trying to come close to you at the moment. You’re just unwilling to let him in.

4)You use intimacy as a way to make someone love you.

Part of you thinks you need to be intimate, because that will make someone love you. Part of you is insecure about your body, and, as your intimate, it’s telling you things like, My gut is sticking out, or I haven’t shaved in three days. Part of you is so concerned with being perfect and pleasing your partner, that you use intimacy as a way to push the other person away. This feels counterintuitive: How can getting naked with someone create distance in the relationship? Check your intentions: Are you being intimate, because you’re afraid of losing the person? Are you doing it to please your partner? Are you consumed by insecurity and pleasing your partner? Or, do you want to experience union with your partner and share yourself completely. Are you willing to be vulnerable - emotionally, as well as physically? Do you want to connect with someone on a deep level, or are you trying to mimic the moves of your favorite porn star?

5)You have a special relationship with your ex.

You’re only willing to partially open your heart to a new person, because you are still connected to your ex. You feel that you have a close bond, and you turn to your ex when you want to discuss your problems, share a laugh, or feel just feel the connection the two of you share. You’re unwilling to completely let go of your ex, and because of this, there’s no space for someone new to really enter. In order to manifest an emotionally healthy and mature relationship, you must release your past. This doesn’t mean that you can never communicate with your ex, but rather, that you should honor what’s in your present, and that might mean spending less time or conversing less with someone from the past.

Once your become aware of the ways you might be closing your heart, you can catch yourself as you fall into negative patterns, and you can begin to shift. It only requires the tiniest amount of self-awareness and the decision to make a change to open your heart. With these two things, you can shift your dating and romantic life and manifest a connected, mature relationship.