I came across this excerpt in a book I am currently reading, and wanted to share it for those who it may resonate with as well:
•Clarify what kind of relationship you want.
Every intimate relationship has a purpose. Depending on where you are in your life, that could be anything from occasional casual fun to marriage and children. Sure, you don’t know how it will turn out when you start dating, but ideally you do know where you want to go if all goes well.
In my work, I often see couples who have never discussed the purpose of their relationship, and frequently, their conflicts stem from assumed common goals and misaligned relational intentions.
For instance, when the purpose of a relationship is having and raising children, this takes priority over an active travel or social life for a while. If a couple prioritizes fun, sex, and travel and suddenly one of the two wants to settle down and have children, it will require a change in purpose for both partners.
The purpose of a relationship can change, for instance when the children leave the house, but the change needs to be discussed and adjusted to.
The landscape of relationship has changed dramatically over the past ten years. There are many more options available to us in terms of the type of relationship we can have. Some people want long-term commitment but not marriage; some want children, some don’t; some already have children; some want a primary partner and other less-committed relationships available to them. There is the option of long distance, separate bedrooms, separate houses, communal living, alternative lifestyles of all kinds, and every kind of sexual and relational consideration imaginable. You can no longer assume that someone out there dating wants what you have in mind.
Before you engage with anyone, you might want to feel and think through what you truly require from a relationship. Many woman subconsciously cling to the fairy-tale ideal, but when they really examine their lives and what they are reasonably able to commit to, this ideal is a far cry from what they can really show up for. Others believe that they are perfectly open to the casual connection they agreed to, while their heart yearns for deep, lasting commitment. For this, take an honest look at where you are and the trajectory of your life. Imagine where you’d like to be in two, five, and ten years. What are the aspects of life that you absolutely want to experience, taking into account your personal life goals, your career plans, and whether or not you want children? If you are considering dating at the point in your life where biological children are no longer an option, consider whether or not you want a relationship that includes children and family from a partner’s previous marriage or relationship.
Be clear how much time you want to—and realistically can—spend with a future partner. Assess your lifestyle requirements and have your “no-go’s” honestly defined. The more clarity you have, the better you can define what you are looking for in a partner.
•Define the qualities of the partner who fits this kind of relationship.
Once you are clear on the relationship you want and, most importantly, the kind that you can honestly enter and sustain, define the kind of partner who would be willing and capable of joining you. This is where the commitment not to date “potential” comes in.
If you know you want children, don’t consider a man who is unsure and think, “Oh, he will want to have children when we know each other better.” Don’t anticipate that you will “turn him around” on any issue, for that matter. If he says he does not want to do something—regardless of what that is—assume that this is 100 percent true. The same applies if he himself has aspirations. Don’t assume that because he has a goal, he will reach it. In your mind, imagine whether you would still want to be with him if he never reached his stated goal.
If you have any expectations that he will grow into his potential, back off! He might, but he might not, and in the meantime, while you are waiting, you are depriving him of having a partner who truly likes and accepts him for who he is, and depriving yourself of the partner you desire.
•Clarify who you are and what you have to offer this kind of partner.
Take a good, honest look at who you are. Be realistic with what you have achieved so far and what you are hoping for. Here is a list of questions you can consider. If you have a trusted friend who can give you a frank outside view, these are questions you can ask him or her.
• Do you know what you want from a partner and from a relationship?
• Are you equipped to sustain what you desire?
• Are your life, habits, and surroundings conducive to the kind of intimacy you want?
• What do you have to offer a partner?
• Is your life a mess, and do you want a partner to rescue you?
• Do you believe that once you are in a relationship, your life will be magically transformed?
• Are you ready to receive what you desire right now?
Consider these questions and examine any myths of Prince Charming still lurking in your mind. Chances are that if you need a man to fix you and support your life, one of several things will happen:
1. The kind of partner who truly could support you will not be attracted to you. Quality men do not want to date needy women. Constant drama and breakdowns are not interesting to a loving and stable man who wants to create a full and successful life.
2. You’ll find a “savior” and enter into a codependent relationship. Men who fancy themselves as “white knights” tend to create unhealthy entanglements, as they derive their worth from rescuing you, not from relating to you as an equal partner.
3. You’ll fall for a promise that is never fulfilled, and you will chase that potential endlessly. You saw a glimpse of his best, but he never quite connected as deeply again. You spend the rest of the relationship chasing the ghost of that intimacy.
This is not to say that, in a good relationship, both partners don’t contribute and support each other; but they do so ideally from a place of mutual ability and generosity, and not because one partner’s life, mood, or career is constantly falling apart. Coming from a place of clarity, honesty, and self-worth will give you a good chance of finding someone with whom you are compatible and can enjoy the fullness of intimacy.
I hope this is helpful to those seeking. Good luck, and I wish you the best in finding what you’re looking for :)