I’ve been working with singles for over a decade, and one thing that continues to surprise me is how capable, intelligent adults can get so confused when it comes to matters of the heart. We are accomplished, successful, creative individuals, yet are reduced to the emotional level of a teenager when it comes to dating. How is that possible? Shouldn’t we ‘have it together’ by now? Shouldn’t we be experts in matters of the heart?

How it is that we can become experts in our chosen fields but can’t figure out if a romantic interest is lying to us, or ‘love bombing’ us, or is a player? Scammers in the online dating arena are abundant and highly successful – why are we so susceptible to this type of con?

You are undoubtedly very knowledgable in your chosen profession. You may have spent years in formalized education and training to gain this knowledge, as well as having years of experience under your belt. If someone pretended to know your business, you’d be able to spot the imposter in minutes. No one could BS you into believing he/she was an expert in your field unless it was true. You would know the questions to ask, the skills to look for – a ‘faker’ would be easy to spot. But in matters of the heart, we get conned all the time! Let someone shower us with attention and flattering words and common sense goes out the window! What gives?

Some argue that those who are most susceptible are more naive, trusting, and kind. I agree this is true, to a point, but what I feel is truly at the core of our emotional confusion is a lack of knowledge about our own needs and a lack of trust in our own intuition. We seem easily swayed by attention and flattering words, yet don’t focus nearly enough on actions. If someone is emotionally healthy, their words and actions will mesh. They will not only say “I love you”, they will show it by being interested in what is important to you, being there for you by showing support and care, and being true to their word. A person who is truly ‘in love’ cannot help but display that love through action via attentiveness, curiosity, concern, and affection – these are the actions that naturally accompany genuine love. If you are not seeing these actions, don’t get fooled by the words.

I recently read an article by Becca Martin about the difference between a guy ‘liking’ you and a guy ‘valuing’ you. (You can read the article here).  One of the many great points that she makes in the article is “You have to know your value in order to be treated right.” Mainly, you have to know what your needs are in a relationship and you have to walk away from any relationship that does not meet those needs. Period. No more making excuses for the other person. No more second-guessing their intentions. The easy part is how simple it is to determine whether or not your needs are being met – just look at your level of satisfaction and happiness in the relationship. If you’re not getting your needs met, you will not be satisfied – there will be an underlying current of unhappiness and uncertainty about your relationship. If you have an inner dialog that consistently questions your relationship and your partner’s level of commitment, know that there is a need inside of you that isn’t being met and spend some time in quiet solitude with yourself and your thoughts to pinpoint that need (or needs). Relationships are a great mirror into ourselves, but if you are only learning about yourself through your relationships and not spending any time to actively go inside yourself for answers, you’re in for a rough ride in the romance arena.

The bottom line is that the more you are in tune with what you need from your partner – whether it be through actions or words, the easier it will be to spot situations that don’t meet those needs, and move on. And the better your connection with yourself and your needs, the faster you will attract a partner who can meet those needs and compliment the wonder of who you are with the wonder of who they are.