Here’s one reason why you might still be single. Do you go on a lot of dates but none of them seem to pan out past a few dates or weeks? You may tell yourself that you have high standards and don’t want to settle, or that you just haven’t found the “right one” yet. But maybe there’s something deeper going on that you may or may not be aware of:

You’re afraid of getting hurt.

If you have this fear, you can end up sabotaging your chance at love. An early sign that you may be allowing fear to run your love life is that you find something wrong with everyone you date.

So if your date does something that you don’t like, wears a funny article of clothing, or slurps their coffee too loudly, you may blow him/her off as a potential partner, looking for a reason to end things. The payoff for you is that you can keep your self-esteem intact – you made the decision that your date wasn’t good enough for you or not what you’re looking for. It lessens the pain and makes you still feel good about yourself.

Or what if you really like this person and that terrifies you? After all, the more you like them, the more likely the hurt will be greater if things don’t work out, and especially if they break up with you. You want to avoid pain and it can be too scary to allow yourself to be so vulnerable, knowing that things could come to an end. And if this does happen, it’s a bigger blow to the ego. You may think, Why wasn’t I good enough? What could I have done differently? What’s wrong with me?

There’s always risk involved when we open ourselves up to another person, and the reality is: You will get hurt.

It’s impossible not to. No one is perfect and we all goof up. My work with couples shows that people unintentionally hurt each other – it’s more out of mindlessness, not malice. Especially in the beginning, your date doesn’t know you well enough to know what you’re sensitive about, what kind of desires and expectations you have, etc. If they do stop seeing you and you don’t get closure, you won’t know why they stopped (and who’s to say they’d tell you the truth anyway?). Don’t assume it’s because of something you did or that you weren’t good enough. After all, maybe they were scared and bolted.

If you’re afraid of being hurt again, remind yourself of your resilience. How many times have you endured a breakup, disappointment, and rejection? You’ve survived. You put yourself out there in the dating world and met new people. You can do it again—have more than a fling.

Also look at emotions as information. Feeling hurt is not always a bad thing as it can point to something that’s important to you and can serve as a guide to what you value and need in a relationship.