When it comes to life’s challenges, few surpass the universal quest to find the “right person” as a romantic partner. You might have a list of boxes that need ticking — someone who combines sharp wit and knockout looks with an attractively sized bank account, for example. But as Dr. Venus Nicolino points out, none of that matters if it’s the wrong person.
“You’ll never be good enough for the wrong person. And that’s a good thing,” said Dr. Nicolino in a video on her popular TikTok page. “It’s not you. It’s them — for real, this time.”
While it’s hard to find the right romantic partner, it can be harder to keep the wrong one. But how to know the difference? Nicolino said there’s really only one way to find out if a relationship is right or wrong, and that’s to dive into the uncertain waters of romantic connections.
However, swim with your eyes open. Nicolino said the “good thing” about finding yourself with the wrong person is that it allows you to discover the importance of staying true to who you are, allowing you to free yourself and become available to the right person.
Relationship Blues for Men and Women
Many people think of this as a fractured time in the United States, with Americans divided on everything from politics and education to foreign policy. But there’s one thing it seems all Americans have in common: Good love is hard to find.
A survey by the Pew Research Center found that more than half of Americans believe dating is harder today than it was a decade ago. Among the adults who responded to the survey, 67% said their dating life is going either “not too well” or “not at all well.” Also, 75% said it was “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to find people to date.
For women, the most difficult part of dating is finding someone who meets their standards or someone who’s looking for the same type of relationship. For men, the biggest difficulty is overcoming the fear of approaching someone.
That survey focused primarily on challenges at the beginning of relationships. When it comes to finding the right person for a long-term commitment, things can get even worse. For example, members of Generation Z are much less interested than those from previous generations in finding the right person, with only 1 in 10 saying they felt committed to finding a committed partnership.
About 70% of Gen Zers also said they rejected a “limiting romantic relationship.” Perhaps not surprisingly given those responses, they also report having less sex than previous generations.
Dr. Venus Nicolino Talks About Testing Relationships for Yourself
While many younger people might shy away from commitment, Nicolino said that for those who are ready to try, the best approach is to test out the relationship for themselves.
She said many people may hold back because they follow the advice that “you’ll just know” when you find the right person. It’s the sort of well-known self-help advice she takes on in her book, Bad Advice: How to Survive and Thrive in an Age of Bulls–t.
The doctor of clinical psychology, known by her nickname “Dr. V,” said that the “only way to find out if a potential mate is a good fit or even your idea of a soul mate is to dive in. Wrap yourself in the experience without knowing for sure.
“That certainty may come later and I hope it does. But if not, at least you tested it out yourself.”
It’s often easy to see when a friend or relative is with the wrong romantic partner, because such things are usually clearer from the outside looking in. It’s much more difficult when you’re in the middle, caught up in the day-to-day drama. While she advocates people testing out relationships themselves, Dr. Venus Nicolino said it’s important to pay attention to what the experience teaches you and to take appropriate action.
She said while you might not feel certain about a relationship (or other big decisions) on Day 1, “By Day 100, you should have some clarity, and start to change course.”
Realizing It’s Not You, It’s Them
Nicolino said that there are many reasons why a person cannot commit to a relationship, making them the wrong person for you.
“As amazing as you are, they may be unable to commit to a relationship for any number of reasons,” Nicolino noted. “As fun as you are, they may be hooked on a different kind of excitement, perhaps drama with an ex they just can’t let go of or substance-induced excitement.
“Or maybe, like the rest of us, they have human hang-ups. But theirs keep them from being satisfied in any relationship for more than five-and-a-half months — that’s pretty standard in today’s industry.”
Dr. V said none of these reasons mean that you’re the problem. She added, “You’re a person, not an interchangeable digit in a math formula that could work out if you adjust your actions, expectations, and even your DNA. Even if you could change all that, it wouldn’t make you better or more valuable. It would actually diminish who you are.”
She added that no one should give up who they are for the sake of becoming the right partner for the wrong person.
“Why would you give that up for someone? For anyone? Especially the wrong one?” Nicolino asked. “Lean into who you are. That’s good enough and it’s the only way the right person will recognize you at first sight.”
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