Fool’s Journey: I Feel Like Being in Love is Not Something I’m Meant For

The dilemma:

I’ve been using online dating now for a year and a half now and I’ve not had a lot of success. There were a few girls who I went on dates with, and one I really, really like-liked, but no one has stuck around for more than a few weeks. It’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing, and with the lack of success I’ve had in off-line dating, I feel like being in love is just not something I’m meant for.

I was wondering if the cards could help me? Like, is it worth going on with this or should I set it aside? Is there something about me that I’m not letting out that will attract people to me? Or am I just unlovable?

Hey Ginger. Thank you so much for trusting Autostraddle — and me — with your question.

I’m gonna take a punt before I’ve even shuffled my cards and tell you that no – you’re not unlovable. No way. I think we can all agree, I don’t need a deck of cards to tell you that. You are 100% lovable, just like ALL Autostraddle readers!

That said, let’s pull some cards and see if we can’t work out what’s really going on here. I feel like your situation calls for something really rational like SWOT analysis, so we can step back and get a really clear view of what’s happening within and around you.

If you’re not familiar with SWOT analyses, this is a tool often used in business or activism settings where a group of people are working out where their project is at, and how to move it forward. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and you would normally draw a 2×2 grid, and write lists under each of the four headings. The idea is that strengths and weaknesses are internal to the project, whereas opportunities and threats come from outside.

This really lends itself to tarot! Let’s look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your dating experience/strategy and how you can work with these to move forwards.

All card images shown throughout this post are from the Kitty Kahane Tarot, copyright Kitty Kahane/AGM Müller


The Reading


Four of Pentacles / Three of Pentacles

Wow, Ginger — you bring a lot of really practical skills to a relationship! You’re clearly awesome at setting boundaries, which is actually what enables you to be so generous within your relationships. The Four of Pentacles can come across like a mean sort of a person, but the way I see it, it’s a person who has done their sums and is 100% comfortable with what they’re offering to a potential partner. You’re really clear about this, and that is a true strength — anyone who gets with you can see this and immediately know where they stand. (If only everyone was like you!)

It’s like you really know what you want to give to and get from a relationship — and again that’s not all that common. When you’re with someone, you’re really with them, and you very quickly establish a practical role for yourself within the relationship. You’re not the sort to go rushing in, give everything, say ‘I love you’ after two dates… then three weeks later explode in a firework-display of heartbreak and resentment. Instead, there’s this really gentle seriousness about you which is utterly charming.


Relating this to your question about whether you’re “cut out for love,” the answer is of course you are (if that’s what you want)! My concern looking at these cards is that as time goes on or your sense of disappointment builds, you’ve started to compromise your boundaries or take on roles that just don’t feel like you, in an attempt to get a fit. So let these cards remind you of your strengths, which are real, practical, comforting and brilliant things to bring to any relationship.


Seven of Pentacles / The Hermit

Whilst having clear boundaries is great, these cards suggest that you have a habit of disappearing into yourself sometimes, rather than communicating with people about what’s really going on. There’s a lot of feeling, and specifically a lot of processing going on beneath the surface as you tend to measure each potential new relationship up against what has gone before.

Both of these cards reflect a tendency to ‘go it alone’ despite the strong partnership stuff that comes through in the first two cards. It’s as though outwardly you’re the strong, pragmatic, giving one, always thinking of your date/partner’s needs… yet inside there’s a whole load more you that they never know about. I would also hazard a guess that you usually decide that you know how things are going to turn out before they have had a chance to fully develop?

Seven of Pentacles / Hermit

Obviously this isn’t saying ‘hand yourself over on a plate’ the first time you hook up with someone. Being reserved/thoughtful/introspective does not make you unlovable, and as your first two cards showed, this practical wisdom is something the right person would find intensely attractive in you.

It’s much more that this tendency to withdraw and analyse is bringing that ‘comparison’ thing to the start of your relationships, where perhaps you could focus more on having fun! The Hermit — a symbol of your own inner knowledge — is a wise old fruit, but here, his studied introspection seems to be weighing things down a tad.


Ace of Swords / Three of Wands

Here’s some practical advice for you, Ginger: turn away from the internet for a period (more on this in a moment) and enroll in a new class or activity! Both of these cards are about setting out on a new venture which will open your mind to new possibilities.

Pick something you’ve always wanted to learn, something you’re passionate about, and that moves you forwards in another area of your life. It doesn’t have to be a formal course like a degree or whatever — the important thing is that it opens your mind and fuels your fire. The world is your oyster, and the Three of Wands is about setting sail to discover new lands! If you’re looking for love, look somewhere different, enjoy the journey itself, and make this whole thing much more about you and your true passions than the general search for love that online dating can (in my vicarious experience) gradually turn into.

I personally find that when I’m doing what I love and developing myself in ways that feel exciting deep inside, I feel more attractive… because I feel more ME. This is about thinking about everything in a really different way, and really getting to know who you are (as opposed to who you want, and how to make sure they want you.)

Ace of Swords / Three of Wands

I’m not telling you that love is lurking in the back row of your women’s studies evening class or you’ll be leaping into the bed of your hot new footstool upholstery tutor (though who knows, right?). This is really about changing your perspective on life, giving you a new focus, and setting yourself off on a new journey, opening new doors and opportunities for potential friend/love relationships further along the way.

Going further, the Three of Wands really does encourage travel in the physical sense too. If you have the resources/lifestyle/wherewithal, you might want to seriously consider studying overseas.


Eight of Wands / Page of Wands

In the immortal words of Le Tigre, Get off the internet / I’ll meet you in the street. Honestly, I’m all for online dating, social media et al, but it seems like it’s getting to a point now where it’s actually beginning to hurt you.

I’ve come to understand the Eight of Wands in particular as a card that often represents the overwhelm of so many updates, emails, messages, tweets, etc etc etc. Just check out the image below, where a teeny tiny person is dwarfed by all these giant wands (which here represent actual messages!) The big green face looks like the internet, staring upwards, cold and impersonal.

Eight of Wands / Page of Wands

What’s ‘threatening’ you (sorry for the scary SWOT language) is this idea that you have to respond to other people’s ideas, needs, suggestions. It’s not that the internet is inherently bad for you, it’s just having a bad effect on your love life, chipping away at your dating confidence. So each time you go on a new date or connect with someone new, it’s on their terms, not yours.

I drew one final card, asking for a last word of advice to wrap up this reading. And look! It’s Death — the great transformer:


This card is like a big sigh of relief. And it’s so dynamic! It’s the new course, it’s a change of tactic, it’s the letting go of what’s come before. No more measuring, no more overthinking (for now at least). Look at the tiny ship in the background — it’s the same ship held by the figure in the Three of Wands. This is where you set sail, throw off the hang-ups of your experience so far and focus on going and getting what you want in life. It’s such a cliche, I know, but concentrate on fulfilling your own passions, invest in what you love, and let love come naturally.

I feel really excited for you Ginger! I wish you so much luck and joy and love in your travels!

Are you a tarot reader or learner? What do you think of the cards in this reading? If you have a different take on these cards or your own interpretation of this reading, please add your ideas in the comments!

Got a question? Ask my cards! Email beth [at] autostraddle [dot] com

Rules and disclaimer-type thing for readings:

  • In sending in your question, you’re allowing Autostraddle to publish your dilemma for like a million pairs of curious eyes to see.
  • But don’t worry – we’ll keep you completely anonymous (and we’ll let you know in advance if your dilemma has been picked.)
  • No third party stuff. This is all about you. That means no “does she love me?” and no “why is she doing this to me?” Sorry guys, but that shit ain’t cool.
  • This is entertainment. I am so not responsible for anything you do as a result of your reading and neither is Autostraddle. Dear reader, you are a full-grown person with a brain and you (not I) are 100% in charge of your own destiny. You wouldn’t want it any other way.
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Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. She has two cats, a hot builder girlfriend, far too many tarot decks and not enough coffee cups. She's really into bread, the colour red, camping and brand new notebooks. She'd love to cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on her blog, Little Red Tarot!

Beth has written 111 articles for us.


  1. Uhhhh, so I clicked this link becuse the question bing asked is the same exact freaking problem I have been having, and the advice and reading was so accurate it kind of hurt. It’s really freakin’ weird??? Thank you?!?!???

  2. Oh wow… the Strengths and Weaknesses describe me to a “t”.

    Funny thing, I have been trying the strategies recommended, and while I have not yet found romantic love, I am making so many other amazing connections, which are just as valuable, if not more so.

    Hang in there, and enjoy the ride!

  3. I’m in the same boat, or I have been. And I’m coming to realize that many people are so hung up on fitting the timeline of when we *should* be falling in love. Maybe it’s just not in the cards (pun not intended?) for you right now – but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.

    I had a reading done a few years ago and they were convinced I would fall in love with a man within 6 months. Instead, I fell for a woman 3 years later when I least expected it.

    That old saying – “love finds you when you stop looking for it”? – I feel like it really rings true. Because when you stop the search for a partner, you start focusing on yourself without always wondering if you’re going to run into the person of your dreams. You start emitting positive, radiating, loving energy into the world and that is what attracts people. Not desperate (not that I’m calling anyone desperate… Maybe myself a little), “I need to fall in love NOW or else I’m unlovable, unattractive, forever alone, *insert other self-degrading thing here*” energy, which runs at a low vibration and isn’t likely to attract the kind of person you wish to meet.

    These are mostly just rambling thoughts that I’ve found throughout my own journey. I’m trying to remind myself to just trust. That doesn’t mean not putting in the effort of finding someone – but trust that they are out there and that you deserve love. And you will find it when the time is right.

    • Yes, yes, yes on the trusting. I feel this. Part of it is trusting that, even if it doesn’t work out with that person shining brightest now, there will be brilliant new day with someone else.

  4. I think the Tarot reading prompts one’s own introspection of their feelings about themselves and their life…..and that leads to progress in solving many of their anxieties and concerns. The reading is the catalyst for self discovery. Just my thought.

  5. Like everyone else on this thread, I’ve been in the same boat. Online dating can be fun but it didn’t work for me either, partly because I reeked of desperation at the time but also because you can’t predict whether you’ll have chemistry/a connection. After meeting a bunch of cool queer girl friends but zero cool queer girlfriends, I took a break from dating for like 2 years. I discovered I’m the type of person who needs a strong base of friendship before something more can develop. And maybe you’re like that too.

    So I second Beth’s advice. I met my love through a NaNoWriMo meetup, so suffice to say it worked for me. (It helps to have a really weird hobby where everyone is as weird as you.)

  6. I was just thinking about this today after I sent an intentional text to someone I’m interested in at school and was not met with the same sentiment. I know that focusing on my studies needs to be my #1 priority (and it is), but I feel like I just can’t meet that special someone. I’m also trying to get out of the mindset of constantly looking for my soul mate every time I go on a date. I wish it were easier to fulfill my romantic desires while being a kick-ass student!

  7. Duuude this is the coolest idea for a column/article series and I think you have a great voice. Can’t wait to read more of these and maybe submit my own question or issue!

  8. How wonderful!!! An advice column that combines SWOT with Tarot! I totally dig, in a major way! Well done :-)

  9. I dig the answer (and the new-to-me tarot layout) but also wanted to link this counterpoint, which got me through a lot of times worrying that my looking/being interested was going to jinx me and I’d be foreveralone:

    Particular this part:

    “And for what it’s worth, I’m not a big believer in the “You’ll only find love when you’re not looking for it” school of thought. I was fucking looking when I found Al. I don’t think I spent a day of my life after hitting puberty not looking, really — but especially a year ago, I’d turned online dating into practically a part-time job. I was literally spending a couple hours a day writing to guys, a couple nights a week going on dates that ranged from pretty okay to horrid. Of course, that didn’t turn out to be how I found the right guy, but you’d better believe I was looking. It is okay to look. It is okay to want it. That does not actually send some desperate, self-defeating vibe out into the universe, guaranteeing that you will not find a decent date.

    At the same time, Al really wasn’t looking at all. So basically, it only happens… whenever it happens. That’s all anybody fucking knows about it.”

    • (It’s not really a counterpoint, but more of a “hey, if you decide to keep OKCupiding, you’ll probably be okay, don’t sweat it too hard, you’re gonna be all right.” :D)

    • “So basically, it only happens… whenever it happens.” …I so completely agree with this Rie. Look, don’t look, you can’t control who comes into your life and likes you, you can only open as many doors as you’re comfortable with.

  10. I have a lot of the same worries. >_<

    But reading this motivated me to send a message I've been wavering about sending.

  11. This wasn’t my question but it feels like it might as well have been me who asked. This hit me right in the feels.

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