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You say you want to be in a healthy, loving relationship. So why do your only options seem to be settling for less or being alone?

If you are like most people, when asked about their dream relationship, you talk about wanting love, trust, respect, great sex, joyful intimacy and emotional safety. However, despite this near universal agreement on relationship desires and goals, the odds are that you are among the many people who can’t seem to find what they say they want. You may have even become so disillusioned, disappointed and frustrated, that you’ve given up all hope of finding a healthy, loving relationship.

The good news: The kind of good, lasting, loving relationship you continue to long for is not a myth; it exists and is available to you. However, in order to establish such relationships, you need to address the reasons that you can’t find what you say you want.

You don’t believe in what you say you want. You may say you want a good man, who will be tender, faithful and protective. Or a loyal woman who will stand with you in times of adversity; one you can trust with your money as well as with your secrets. However, if your beliefs are contrary to what you say you want, your beliefs will always win. Not sometimes, or most times, but always.

For example, if you believe that men are inherently incapable of fidelity and that woman can’t be trusted, you will dismiss or overlook those who do not conform to those beliefs, often without even being conscious of it, thus making them self-fulfilling prophesies. When you believe that all men are “dogs” and all women are “hos,” such people are all you will attract (and in time, likely to become).

Your beliefs shape everything about your life. You order; the universe delivers. Talk all you want about how badly you want a healthy, loving relationship with a person who treats you with tenderness, compassion and respect. You can’t attract, recognize or accept what you don’t believe exists. To get what you say you want, you’ll have to challenge your beliefs.

You don’t live a lifestyle consistent with what you say you want. Take a close look at how you are living. Are you a side chick, mistress or “friend” with benefits, who says they want a romantic partner committed to monogamy and fidelity? Are you a financially irresponsible person looking to partner up with a person who handles money responsibly? Do you want a relationship of joy, adventure and exploration, but are committed to a dull and repetitive lifestyle (you know, a rut) defined by work, home, eating and video games day after day?

Here’s a reality check straight from the Grown Zone: To attract faithful, fiscally responsible and fun people, you have to demonstrate those values and habits in your own life. You don’t get what you want in life and love, no matter how badly you say you want it. You get what you are, keeping only what you believe you deserve. Speaking of which, here’s what else may be keeping you from having the relationship you claim to desire: