If you’ve ever been through a heartbreak, you know that there’s no pain quite like that of love lost. A bad breakup can leave you feeling disheartened and depressed, and even worse, it can cause you to close your heart to love.
One of the best ways to find someone who will truly love you for who you are is to keep your heart open to giving and receiving love. But remaining open and optimistic about a new relationship can be difficult, especially when your heart’s been through the wringer. Some people may adamantly vow to never love again, while others aren’t even aware they’ve got their heart on lockdown. Unsure of whether or not your heart is closed for business (and pleasure)? Here are five signs that you’ve closed yourself off to love.
You won’t let anything get serious
If you seem to only have meaningless hookups or find yourself attracted to people who aren’t looking for a relationship, you probably have your heart closed. While there’s nothing wrong with not wanting a committed relationship, having trivial flings when you actually want something that will last won’t satisfy you. And sometimes, you may think you’re fine with something casual when you’re really not.
“This may be a conscious or unconscious process,” Dr. Candice Cooper-Lovett, PhD, LMFT, and sex therapist said in an interview with Bustle. If this is the case, try reexamining what you really want, and don’t be afraid to talk about your desires with your potential partner.
You’re afraid things won’t work out
You could find yourself in a relationship with a partner who is doing their best to love and understand you. But if you’re constantly worrying that your relationship will fail, you may not be able to focus on receiving their love.
“It is difficult to receive romantic love if you’re not in a good space within yourself,” Cooper-Lovett told Bustle. “You would often reject things that could potentially make you happy due to the assumption that love would make things worse as if it would not work out.”
You don’t practice self-love
We’ve all heard the saying before: you have to love yourself before someone else can love you. And while that statement also has its downsides, it does carry some truth.
“If you do not love yourself, how can you receive love from someone else,” Cooper-Lovett said in her interview with Bustle. “You have to be on the quest for loving yourself and having a relationship with yourself before allowing someone else to show and give you love.”
It may be difficult at first, but practicing self-love is a great way to put yourself back on the road to an open heart. You can even start small by simply giving yourself a few compliments in the mirror each morning, or making sure that the food you put in your body nourishes you and makes you happy.
You’re looking for the perfect partner
Coming out of a bad relationship can leave you with a long list of qualities you’ll never tolerate again. But when your heart is closed to love, this list can grow until it’s longer than a CVS receipt, making you unable to find a partner that lives up to your high standards.
“Perfectionism in the dating search process can be a tipoff that you’re not fully open to receiving romantic love,” Dr. Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a family and relationship psychotherapist, relationship columnist, and author of The Self-Aware Parent, also told Bustle.
It’s fine to keep your relationship dealbreakers, but try to relax when nitpicking at minor flaws your potential love interest has. After all, nobody’s perfect.
You’re not over your ex
This one is probably the most obvious sign that your heart isn’t open to love. If you’re still pining for your ex, it goes without saying that you’d struggle getting into a new relationship. This can happen even if you were the one to end things, as letting go of someone you were once close to can be hard.
“Some [people] are afraid of getting out there again so they keep their former relationship alive as a way of staying involved and not feeling single again,” Walfish said to Bustle.
But one of the best ways to start opening your heart is to close the door on any lingering romantic feelings for your ex. When these feelings arise, try to remember the reasons you broke up in the first place. And keep in mind that it’s fine to feel nostalgic about an ex every now and then; just make sure that the past stays in the past.
With these signs, you’ve probably figured out whether or not your heart has closed up shop. But just know that this love lockdown won’t last forever, and the sooner you give yourself love, the sooner you’ll get it back.