Before A Relationship

In love relationships, the secret to success is finding the right person. Why is that so important?

Photo of a young woman.

Being in love with someone is a complex relationship. It is not a feeling. It is a relationship that makes you both want to be the best people you can be. It is a relationship in which you accept each other as you are without reservation, and in which both of you respect and understand each other even when you disagree. It involves intimacy, fascination, and enjoying each other’s company. It means acting in each other’s best interest and being prepared to give your utmost for each other. It means feeling secure enough about yourselves to not be threatened when your partner does not agree with you. It means knowing and understanding each other well enough to know how each other thinks, how each other reacts to things, and what things are important to each other. It means trusting each other with your lives, your children, and your dreams. Finally, it means that you permanently commit to each other.

Finding a person with whom you can have the kind of relationship described above is not an easy task. You can see that being in love with someone is not just about having feelings for him or her. Being in love is the most complex role you will ever have. Finding someone who understands and is competent enough to handle the job is essential, and those sorts of people do not come along every day. Getting clear on the qualities you value in an intimate relationship is a start.

What Can Go Wrong Before You Have a Relationship?

  • Not knowing who you are or what you want: It is much better to know yourself, including your likes and dislikes. Then you can ask for exactly what you want.
  • How you value yourself is key: If you respect yourself, you will attract other people who respect you too. Furthermore, you will not even consider as potential partners those people who will not respect you and treat you well.
  • Being Desperate: This consists of the conviction that you need another person to love you in order for you to be okay. This is using a relationship as a quick fix for little or no self-esteem. You become a beggar not a chooser, and you usually end up settling for anyone who comes along. And anyone who dates you is essentially agreeing that you are nothing without them.
  • Rescuing: The basis for this sort of relationship is one of pity or sympathy. This person needs me desperately. People who agree to this sort of relationship believe that taking care of someone is the only way they have to earn love. If they need me then they will love me and keep me around. The question is do you want to take care of this person the rest of your life? And what happens if this person no longer needs you in this way?
  • Using the wrong bait: A fishing metaphor: For example, using casual sex as bait is guaranteed to catch those who are interested in only one thing.
  • Looking for the missing parts of myself: Sometimes we are attracted to our opposites. We wish we could be more like them, so we are drawn to them. It is best, however, to develop that side of yourself rather than relying on someone else to do it for you. Quite often those opposite qualities and characteristics can cause conflict later in the relationship.
  • Fear of being hurt: Sometimes fear of being hurt in a relationship might lead you to choose those people you know you will never really commit to in a deep way. This is a safe way of having a relationship without the risk. An example of this sort of relationship would be only getting involved with people who are already married.
  • Fear of commitment: Having to make a final decision that this is THE person for you can be hard for some people. Saying yes to one person means saying no to all the others. Sometimes this shows up when you keep waiting for the absolutely perfect partner, or when you are so critical of every person you date that no one meets your standards.
  • Gravitating towards what we recognize and are comfortable with: It is very easy to believe that all relationships are like the ones we saw growing up. For example, being around alcoholic or abusive men feels normal because that is what you grew up with. For others, a dominant, controlling woman feels right. Look hard at what is familiar to you and you may want to make a choice not to repeat that pattern in your relationships.