Growing up off of, and with, each other, we needed a lot of support, good therapy , and the unwillingness to ever give up. I have gathered and amassed the stories of other couples who have had similar experiences. The following statements are a compendium of those philosophies that we share, and what we feel has helped us not only stay together but never regret the decision we made to do so:.
It is a sad but true fact that many people pick the same kinds of partners and repeat the same mistakes in every relationship. For many understandable reasons, they continue to interact in the same ways but somehow believe that there will be different results. Most of these relationship seekers are well-intentioned and truly intending to make better choices, yet they find themselves endlessly repeating old patterns.
They may be blocked in some way from seeing and understanding why their relationships continue to disappoint them.
The people who have been lucky enough to grow and transform into better versions of themselves through their relationship experiences, find ways to value their past, rather than what they, or their partners, may have done wrong. They know that they could not have become who they are without having experienced what they did.
follow Those attitudes, interestingly enough, make them more valuable to new partners. No one wants to inherit the anger or disappointment from past relationships. Using again our metaphor of relationship islands, these people know how to learn from their past errors and how that knowledge helps them to choose better ways of being in the future. If you randomly wander through your own relationship islands, you will, at times, be diverted by shiny objects that promise in the moment but will not necessarily give you what you need in the long run.
You will also be attracted to those places and things that are familiar and feel secure, even if they have not met your needs in the past. If your intentions are based on a clear understanding of who you are, what you need, and what you can give, you are much more likely to choose more wisely. If you could design the perfect relationship island partner that includes all of the good things you may have left behind, but omits those actions or experiences that hurt or disappointed you, and have the above knowledge clearly in mind, what would he or she look like? Think of the personality characteristics, behaviors, philosophies, beliefs, social circles, crises coping mechanisms, physical attractions, family attachments, career choices, emotional temperaments, financial attitudes and obligations that would be most important to you were you to live happily ever after on this relationship island forever.
So far, so good. Then, your old experiences of entrapment flare and emerge. You feel self-doubt and lack confidence in this choice. Self-doubt begins:. Those fears are in all of us. Thinking that a relationship will eventually lose its luster because all discovery is over and boredom will inevitably set in is the innate terror of many seeking long-term partnerships.
Those who have known the joy of new and limitless wonder of a new relationship only to see it become lackluster and predictable are, understandably, fearful that will happen again. Those who overcome those fears acknowledge and accept that long-lasting, rejuvenating relationships always face that danger, but they know how to keep it from happening.
They make sure that both partners embrace continual personal transformation and continue to add new dimensions to the relationship as it matures. They value the security that prediction offers, but also realize that too much predictability will inevitably lead to boredom. Though all long-time partners need occasional separation from one another and outside excitements to keep their relationship alive, they also know that their one-on-one relationship must be guarded and enriched on a continual basis.
One can easily become entrapped by the fear of entrapment, itself. The avoidance of deeper intimacy and its chosen obligations to another can be too much pressure for some people. They may feel better in honest acceptance of their need to endlessly explore their archipelago without feeling inadequate or wrong. If they are to stay in relationship integrity, they honestly tell each new partner their truth. There are many who might still opt for the temporary enjoyment of a potentially temporary relationship.
They are not necessarily foolish or wrong to hold on to hope and desire for that fantasy, even if it will never materialize. It is human to do so but rarely results in success. Sadly, most people who search for fantasy relationships can lose out in valuing what they actually can have. There is so much that is out of their control that can happen at different times. Sometimes, for example, people may live in areas where one gender is much more plentiful than the other.
Or the fact that most people feel less valuable as they age or if they cannot compete in other areas that their social circles value.
Physical attractiveness is high on the list for most men, while power and leadership are characteristics that most women find valuable in their partners. Some of those traditional stereotypes are shifting, particularly in newly defined transitioning relationships, but still, hold sway in many partnerships.
Belief that relationships are not limited. Perhaps without realizing that they are even doing that, most people fully intend to do just that when they make a long-term commitment. They feel good about the promises they are making and, even knowing that they are bound to feel some misgivings and worries in the future, they are at ease with their decision. Many of those who make it into forever-happily-devoted partners have learned the secret to that outcome. They absolutely trust and believe that their relationship is not rigid nor limited. In fact, they see it as having infinite possibilities for innovation and continuously new perspectives.
They express that attitude in the way they think about being together:.
In short, they do not allow the relationship island to cease its capacity for new discoveries because they, themselves, are in continuous transformation. Those capacities are present in every person, and in every relationship, if the partners believe that truth and embrace it together.
Write down next to each partnership what you saw in it when it began, what kept you in that relationship for as long as you stayed, and why you eventually chose to leave. When you have finished, look at your patterns. What have you sought in relationships? Have you been realistic in your expectations? What have you learned about yourself in living through them? What are you looking, for now, that is different from what you might have in the past? But both men and women experience the same core emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, and joy. As we age, both men and women have fewer sexual hormones, but emotion often influences passion more than hormones, and sexual passion can become stronger over time.
People only change if and when they want to change. Over time, and with enough effort, you can change the way you think, feel, and act. With the right resolution skills, conflict can also provide an opportunity for growth in a relationship. When we start looking for a long-term partner or enter into a romantic relationship, many of us do so with a predetermined set of often unrealistic expectations—such as how the person should look and behave, how the relationship should progress, and the roles each partner should fulfill.
These expectations may be based on your family history, influence of your peer group, your past experiences, or even ideals portrayed in movies and TV shows. Retaining many of these unrealistic expectations can make any potential partner seem inadequate and any new relationship feel disappointing. Distinguish between what you want and what you need in a partner. Wants are negotiable, needs are not. Wants include things like occupation, intellect, and physical attributes such as height, weight, and hair color.
For example, it may be more important to find someone who is:. Needs are different than wants in that needs are those qualities that matter to you most, such as values, ambitions, or goals in life. These are probably not the things you can find out about a person by eyeing them on the street, reading their profile on a dating site, or sharing a quick cocktail at a bar before last call.
When looking for lasting love, forget what looks right, forget what you think should be right, and forget what your friends, parents, or other people think is right, and ask yourself: Does the relationship feel right to me? Concentrate on activities you enjoy, your career, health, and relationships with family and friends. When you focus on keeping yourself happy, it will keep your life balanced and make you a more interesting person when you do meet someone special. It always takes time to really get to know a person and you have to experience being with someone in a variety of situations.
Be honest about your own flaws and shortcomings. Besides, what you consider a flaw may actually be something another person finds quirky and appealing. The dating game can be nerve wracking. But no matter how shy or socially awkward you feel, you can overcome your nerves and self-consciousness and forge a great connection. Focus outward, not inward. Staying fully present in the moment will help take your mind off worries and insecurities. Be curious. Be genuine.
The dating game can be nerve wracking. Join a theater group, film group, or attend a panel discussion at a museum. I want to accept myself. The first step to finding love is to reassess some of the misconceptions about dating and relationships that may be preventing you from finding lasting love. Then let it go. Love yourself. Be honest about your own flaws and shortcomings.
No one likes to be manipulated or placated. Rather than helping you connect and make a good impression, your efforts will most likely backfire. Pay attention. Make an effort to truly listen to the other person. Put your smartphone away. Online dating, singles events, and matchmaking services like speed dating are enjoyable for some people, but for others they can feel more like high-pressure job interviews. And whatever dating experts might tell you, there is a big difference between finding the right career and finding lasting love.
Instead of scouring dating sites or hanging out in pick-up bars, think of your time as a single person as a great opportunity to expand your social circle and participate in new events. Make having fun your focus. At some point, everyone looking for love is going to have to deal with rejection—both as the person being rejected and the person doing the rejecting. By staying positive and being honest with yourself and others, handling rejection can be far less intimidating.
The key is to accept that rejection is an inevitable part of dating but to not spend too much time worrying about it. Be grateful for early rejections—it can spare you much more pain down the road. If it happens repeatedly, though, take some time to reflect on how you relate to others, and any problems you need to work on.