Sometimes, if you’re single, it’s tempting to wonder if you’ll ever find the right person, someone who ‘floats your boat’ that you feel really close to. Most of us will have had a few experiences where we think we’ve found that one person and then it’s either turned sour or fizzled out. The main thing is that lessons have been learned and that we don’t do the same thing again and again, always with the same outcome.
Put another way, if we don’t change any of our old beliefs, despite them being detrimental, we’ll almost certainly get the same result – another failed relationship. If we stick to the idea that we just can’t change, we’re jeopardising our future. That’s not to say you should have to compromise all your beliefs, but they’re certainly worth having a hard look at.
A lot of different factors determine why and how a relationship starts and whether it will continue successfully. How we see the world, our expectations and how we relate to others will all play their part, as will our family backgrounds and what we’ve learned whilst we were growing up. Also, during our formative years we’ll have taken on board from our parents how things were discussed and resolved (or not!).
So let’s look at some of the steps to finding the right person:
- Establish trust – this is the basis of most relationships moving forward. If you’re essentially mistrusting of people, especially potential partners, there’s always the threat of instability lurking around a new corner. A lot of mistrust can come from childhood where we learned not to trust people or found that our parents said one thing but meant another, or lied to us, even if it was with good intentions. If we can’t trust, we end up feeling very isolated and it’s difficult to get close to someone. That’s something that can be worked on before embarking on a new relationship.
- Make sure there’s respect – if someone puts you down in front of people or makes remarks about your appearance in a detrimental way, there’s no real respect. It’s hurtful and unnecessary. If someone doesn’t respect you at the beginning of a relationship, they’re unlikely to do so as things progress.
- Next comes commitment – once we have trust and respect, we have to make decisions about commitment and reserve it for people who show that they’re ready for that. However lovely someone is, if they say “I’m not ready for any sort of commitment”, believe them. Don’t think “if I show you enough love, you’ll want to be committed to me”. It’s unlikely and do you really want to put in a lot of effort for little reward when they’ve already made it clear that’s not what they want.
- Vulnerability – once we’re committed, we’re more vulnerable too. The other person knows our weaknesses and parts of ourselves we’re not sure about. Make sure that you’re allowed to be vulnerable at times within the relationship and that your partner is happy for you to show that part of you.
- Empathy – this is about understanding your partner and feeling that they understand you. It’s being able to walk in someone else’s shoes and realise that things aren’t always easy for them, whether that’s to do with their work or some other aspect of their private life.
- Communication – sometimes this can seem at cross-purposes as if your partner isn’t really listening but ultimately, if your partner is free of criticism and doesn’t make snap-judgments the road is open for good communication so that you feel supported by them.
- Equality – this isn’t only about who usually does the cooking, washing-up or childcare, it’s also about each person being involved in decision-making regarding where you live, how you spend your money and what you do in your spare time together. No one person should overshadow the other – each one needs to be ‘heard’ and have some things the way they like rather than always give in to the other one.
By achieving the above, things are hopeful for a good and long-lasting relationship that will last into the future.
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