Sometimes we lose sight of our priorities when it comes to dating. Or maybe, we toss our priorities out the window the millisecond we meet a really hot guy who lavishes a little attention on us. Hey. We all do it. Just like that, we forget what we’re looking for, what we need and what will ultimately serve us well in the long run. Worse yet, we can easily get caught up in a fantasy of what we think we want and need. For the sake of immediate gratification, we forget all our values and fling ourselves into what we hope will be the relationship of our dreams.
For some of us who tend to lose all sight of ourselves the moment we’re no longer single–as if being in a couple is the highest form of self– we tend not to know our values. We tend to have a very immature, superficial idea of love that is not so much based on health, stability, comfort and calm, as it is on neediness, desire, drama and an urgency to fill a void within us. And, tisk, tisk, we even use people and relationships as a way to cope or worse, to avoid the reality of our lives. I did this for years until I learned to envision not only a healthier me, but a healthier partner.
I also learned that having a healthy relationship takes patience and the courage to say no to the wrong people. It takes a strong sense of self to be able to recognize good qualities in others, and not so good qualities. And above all, it takes the determination to love yourself to the point where you want healthy people, places and things in your life, not “Sure, why not. You’ll do.” Trust me. That never turns out well.
So, how do you know good qualities from bad in a potential partner? How do you recognize healthy people versus unhealthy? Well, you look for people who do this…and not that…
- DOES THIS: Asks you out on a date. NOT THIS: Waits around for you to ask him out on a date
- DOES THIS: Calls you and calls you back NOT THIS: Doesn’t call you or call you back, and if he does it’s five days later.
- DOES THIS: Makes time for you, wants to spend time with you. NOT THIS: barely has time for you and when he does it’s usually in the bedroom, or on his terms.
- DOES THIS: Lives a clean, healthy life. NOT THIS: smokes, drinks to excess, does drugs, doesn’t face or deal with his health issues, eats poorly, etc.
- DOES THIS: Takes care of himself financially. NOT THIS: Still lives with parents at 40, borrows money, in debt, gambles, doesn’t work, or doesn’t have a stable job where he can pay his bills and pay for a roof over his head without depending on others.
- DOES THIS: Communicates well. NOT THIS: Bottles everything up and won’t talk, communicates only minimally, refuses to face emotional discussion, poor listener, manipulative.
- DOES THIS: Lives an honest, respectful life. NOT THIS: Cheats, lies, is evasive and deceptive, dishonest in business, in personal matters or with strangers.
- DOES THIS: Treats you (and others) with respect, care, kindness and dignity NOT THIS: treats you poorly, ignores you, avoids you, repeatedly unkind to you, controls you, etc.
- DOES THIS: Enjoys you and likes you for who you are, not what you could or should be NOT THIS: Expects you to be something or someone you are not. Tells you, “Maybe you should get a boob job,” or “This roll of fat can definitely go.”
- DOES THIS: Is a genuinely happy person filled with gratitude NOT THIS: is a genuinely unhappy, angry, ungrateful person who whines and complains incessantly.
- DOES THIS: Feels and acts passionate towards you NOT THIS: doesn’t feel or act passionate towards you, withholds sex, love or affection, cold or inappropriate behavior, fear of intimacy that keeps him from trying to be close to you
- DOES THIS: Is a grown up and acts like one. NOT THIS: is immature, refuses to grow up, classic Peter Pan characteristics and simply cannot get his act together.