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Some people fall in love with others easily, while others struggle. If you think, “why is it so hard to find love?” you’re not alone. Many single people haven’t found love, or lasting love, with someone else. While there’s no particular reason why love is hard to discover for some, there are some explanations.

Popular culture uses the word “love” trivially, but it’s also used to describe the most profound relationships. Perhaps you’ve been told, “love comes when you least expect it,” which means that the right person will come when you’re not looking. However, dating experts say that you have to actively look for love, and finding it can be challenging. If you don’t pursue a quality relationship, you won’t find it and will typically end up with whatever falls in your lap or nothing.

Prioritizing the pursuit of new connections and opening yourself up to dating can let you find love. However, if you’ve been dating consistently and can’t find someone special, here are some reasons why real love is hard for you to find.

You’re afraid to commit.

Fear of commitment is the most common reason it’s so hard to find love. Labels frighten some people, but the uncertainty of where the relationship stands is also intimidating for others. Whether you’re hesitant to make things official or unwilling to get into an unofficial relationship, committing to another person comes with the potential of getting hurt, so you may be avoiding commitment altogether.

Relationship expert April Masini says you should recognize your fears to get over them. Acknowledge your fears, and say them out loud, but don’t stop doing something because you’re afraid of commitment. If you’ve found someone you care about or love, be honest with them about how you feel. Tell your partner you’re scared to commit, but this relationship is essential to you, and you want to stick it out, but you need their help.

You’re not prepared to settle down.

You might like the idea of falling in love, but a relationship requires effort and time. Some people aren’t willing to put in the work, and if you find yourself fleeing every time things get serious, you’re likely one of those people. You might prefer non-monogamous relationships, it could be a passing phase, or you could want to play the field. Whatever the reason, you’re not prepared to love one person.

If you have trouble initiating or following through with discussions about future plans or desires with your partner, you could be afraid of settling down. People who are so scared of settling down have issues with making things permanent, which is why lasting love seems to elude them.

You’re too picky.

There’s a difference between discernment and being picky. When someone dates discerningly, they make romantic decisions based on their likes without compromising their standards and values. However, when someone is too particular, they typically operate from a place of fear where they only want to date someone who is what they see in a partner. By dating this way, they eliminate lots of potential possibilities due to self-protection. To avoid falling into this trap, you should attempt to open yourself up to new possibilities. It would help if you tried being more intentional about opening yourself up to new connections. Try to use eye contact, smile more, start conversations with anyone and everyone, and be nice to the people around you. If you follow these steps, you’ll find new connections in no time.

You’ve been hurt in the past.

If you’ve gone through a terrible breakup or been burned by a crush, you’re likely scared of hurting your feelings or don’t want to put yourself out there. People are terrified to open themselves up to others because they fear abandonment, which makes them avoid the one thing they want: a deep, emotional relationship with another person. When you can’t make yourself vulnerable, you cut off the chance of having an intimate relationship.

The fear of abandonment might stem from being hurt in your past and not wanting to repeat the same mistakes. The most common fears are being mistreated for longer than you want to admit or getting hurt. Feeling like a fool is one of the most difficult experiences you hope never to repeat.

You’re stuck on another person.

When your heart is stuck on someone, giving it to another person is challenging. If you spend your days pining after an unattainable crush or missing your ex, you’ll find it hard to connect elsewhere, no matter how many dates you have. Sometimes, you have to let go of the person who’s presently controlling your emotional energy to find love because they don’t deserve it. Being connected to an ex takes emotional energy, from thinking about what-ifs to wondering and dreaming about them. If you’re using all your energy on your ex or crush, you can’t put that energy into someone new.

You have other priorities.

Perhaps all of your friends are in relationships, and you’re feeling pressure from your family, who constantly asks when you’re going to meet someone. Even if everyone in your life makes you think love should be at the top of your priority list, maybe it simply isn’t. If you’re focused on school, career, or a recent move, there’s a possibility you can’t find love because you’re not looking right now. There’s no race or test to see how fast you can find new love. It’s okay to focus on yourself and take a dating hiatus. Constantly browsing dating apps or scanning rooms for new dating prospects make the single life less fun. So if dating isn’t fun to you anymore, take a break from dating for a while.

People who don’t see their value will have trouble finding a relationship where they’re valued. If loving yourself feels like a challenging task, that doesn’t mean you’ll never find love. However, bolstering your sense of self-worth and going to therapy can make putting yourself out there less scary. Finding real love can be challenging, but sometimes it requires putting in the work and getting out of your way.

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