Wonder why you still haven’t found the right relationship?
I hear it all of the time. See it all of the time. There truly is this great person. Nice, attractive, intelligent, successful. They seem like they could have their pick of anyone they would want as a partner. It really does seem odd that they, of all people, are not only not happily coupled off yet..but struggling to date successfully.
The “easy” answer is that there really must be something wrong with them, right? But what if it isn’t that? I mean, nobody is perfect, ok? Let’s be honest. But what if the reason people are struggling with dating has nothing really to do with their qualities as a person…but more about how they are dating and approaching relationships?
Let’s take a look at a couple who is in a happy, healthy relationship, for instance. Before they start dating, they are not looking for someone to make them happy or to fill some void that they cannot fill themselves. They are each ok being alone and do not feel that they are “less than” or cannot be truly happy or fulfilled in life unless they are in a relationship with someone else. Their life is stable and happy regardless of whether they have a partner in it.
So when two individuals like this come together and create a partnership, they can both support, love and become better versions of themselves by being together. Their relationship is one which helps support and better their lives as individuals, but does not define them nor do they feel desperate to hold onto the other person. Thus, there is no jealously, possessiveness, abuse or disrespect between them.
People in these types of relationships truly just want to be together because when they are, their lives are more enjoyable and being with the other person enhances their already-full life. It is like the icing on the cake. It is NOT the cake.
Others may have the appearance that their life is stable and that they are happy single. But, underneath that façade, they are really feeling like they are missing something. That they can’t really, truly be happy unless they are in a relationship. They approach dating with questions like “how is this person going to make me happy?” or “Am I attracted to them?” Everything they are asking or going into the relationship thinking about is about how this other person is going to do for them, make them feel. Basically, what are they going to get out of it?
This is probably not the best or most healthy way to start a relationship. While we all want to be in a relationship with someone who treats us well and where we feel loved and happy, relationships go two ways. Over time, the person they are dating is undoubtedly not only going to not be able to fulfill their every need, wish and desire, but ultimately will fall short without even knowing why or how they are doing so.
Someone starting off like this, regardless of how great of a “catch” they appear to be, is simply way too needy and selfish to actually be a loving, giving partner to anyone. They just go in with needs, wants and expectations without asking themselves the important questions like:
- What do I have to offer someone in a relationship?
- Are there things I need to work on in order to be a better partner to someone?
- Is there something I can do, say, change in order to better this relationship or that I know my partner would really appreciate or need right now?
While important and necessary to consider what you would like in a potential partner, it is also important and necessary to consider the above questions.
Going in asking about what you want and need in a partner and in a relationship can help guide you in choosing a compatible partner with whom you can be happy and hopefully have a healthy, long term relationship. If you don’t know these things and just allow yourself to partner up with anyone without much thought about what you need or want, then the relationship is all about the other person.
Expectations unfairly placed on another person even before a relationship begins (i.e. he/she needs to make me feel loved; has to accept all of me unconditionally; has to fulfill all of my sexual needs and desires,etc..) is only a recipe for disaster whereby you will never be satisfied or happy and the other person will constantly feel inadequate and, over time, possibly resent you.
However, it is also important to make sure that someone does not start dating without considering their own needs and wants in a relationship. If they start out only thinking about how good of a partner they can be for someone else and what they can do for another person, this can also have horrible outcomes for a relationship.
Relationships starting out like this can tend to become skewed in a way where one partner is giving too much, and the other is taking too much. With time, it may become very difficult for the person who did not go in knowing what they wanted or needed to have a voice in the relationship. They may lose their identity to the relationship, and, over time, become so dependent upon the relationship that they cannot imagine not being in it. However, this oftentimes leads to feeling taken for granted and becoming resentful and angry.
So, bottom line: the best time to start dating and have the best chance to have a long-term healthy relationship? When both people come in having a sense of what they need and want in a partner, yet also both are at a place where they can give to another person and are willing to do so.