Have you ever met a couple that’s been together for twenty years, and never married? Did you think to yourself, ‘If they’re so happy why aren’t they married?’ Or do you have a friend that seems to be intensely searching for Prince Charming to marry and produce multiple perfect babies with? Do you ever think, ‘If she would just stop looking, perhaps love would find her?’ We all have formed our own opinions on what an ideal relationship is, but have you taken the time to think of what the ideal relationship is for you?
Do you look at externals…is s/he attractive? Does s/he dress well? What model car does s/he drive?
Do you look at focus on…Career? Company? Position? Salary? Earning potential? Associates? Contacts?
Do you consider values, lifestyle preferences? Character? Ethics? Communication skills? How they solve problems? How they react under stress?
After you determine what is important to you in a partner, you must also consider the model of relationship that would will for you. Are you a traditionalist, following roles and responsibilities that have been handed to you by society and previous generations? Are you a modernist, integrating principles of a dual income family with discussion about roles and shared rotating responsibilities? Are you a free spirit who wants to create new models based on a constantly changing world?
All too often, people, both men and women become swept away with the chemistry of the moment and end up building a relationship with a person who is ultimately incompatible. It is all too easy to follow the physical attraction down the trail of hope ending in shattered dreams and disillusionment.
Before you allow yourself to become involved with another person, do a little homework first. Make your three lists: 1) Absolute requirements, 2) Unessential requests, 3) Knock-out punches (please do not apply). After you complete this process, read it over carefully to make sure that each of your items is on the right list. After you have completed this, fantasize about ideally, how you would design the perfect relationship for you. Include all aspects including where you would live, what type of home (or homes), would you have children, and if so how many, and the lifestyle that would be truly compatible with your personality, your familial requirements, your religion (if that is a factor), your politics (if that is a concern), your sexual appetite (if that is a consideration), and how you would spend your leisure time, both alone and together.
In relationships, you either grow together or you grow apart. One of the keys to keeping a relationship in tact and evolving is to continuously seek ways to interact and give you something to talk about. This could be playing golf, traveling, learning to dance, or starting a business together. If you engage in any of these options, be sure to evaluate the degree of competitiveness between the two of you and weigh the pros and cons in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
If you have your eyes open, your requests clear in your mind, and your feet on the ground, you should be able to make wise choices rather than allowing short-term gratification seduce you into a situation that is not in your best interest. If you tend to get swept away, then give your lists to your closest friends and have them remind you when you fall off the cliff of reason!
For more on Love, be sure to check out my book If Love is a Game, These are the Rules