You have been dating a special someone for about 6 months and you recognize that you are starting to feel like you cannot live without your partner. You are in lust and in love and everything is coming up roses.
But wait. Before you buy the rings and register for the china, there are five important things that you really need to look at in a potential mate.
Before you say “I do,” you must say, “tell me more about”…
1) Your Family:
Is your partner’s family close? Too close? Are they distant and emotionally disengaged from one another? Obviously, this information is pertinant to how your partner manages closeness and separateness in your coupling.
To delve further, ask about how your partner’s family expresses affection. For example, you may expect and like affection through tender words and/or physical touch. However, your partner might express their devotion keeping the pantry stocked and cooking your favorite meals. Can you learn and speak each other’s language of love? Or are your differences going to lead you to power struggles and ultimate disappointment and regret?
How does your partner’s family handle conflict? Is our partner’s family a bunch of “screamers and yellers”? Does the family generally sweep conflict under the rug? Discussing differences in family “cultures” is very important to understanding one another.
2) Sense of Responsibility for the “WE”:
There are generally two types of partners – people who are “looking for the right partners” and people who want to “be the right partners”. The folks who understand the responsibility of being the right partner also understand that love is not simply a feeling. Love is a verb.
Does your partner take responsibility for connection? When you get emotionally disconnected, who always makes the first move? Does your partner accept, accommodate, and appreciate enough?
Does your partner accept responsibility when they mess up? Or do they, instead, become blaming and defensive?
3) Similar Goals
Have you and your potential partner ever discussed the purpose of your relationship – what you both want for yourselves and the future? Many couples don’t talk about “purpose.”
Opposites do attract but you have to be aware that there are certain relationship conflicts and differences that will never be solvable. These differences are related to personality, values, and lifestyle expectations. Forget the notion that you will have the power to change your partners’ personality – it doesn’t work. Understanding your partner’s values is extremely important. You don’t have to have to find an identical match in this department as long as you feel confident that both of you can accept, honor, and consider each other’s principles and needs.
4) Past Love Lives:
What is your partner’s track record with intimate relationships? How did they treat past old lovers? Are there patterns to your partner’s stories? Are there themes that emerge when your partner discusses their past? Repeated abandonment? Crazy fights? Infidelity? Pay attention to these stories because the stories can hold clues to your own future. Whatever the pattern, the most important to ask is, “Does your partner learn from their past? Do they grow from their mistakes? Do they have self -awareness and take responsibility for their relationships… or do they blame?
5) Emotional Intelligence:
Is your partner emotionally stable? Do they know how to regulate, reveal, respond to, and repair emotional distress? Is your partner open, do they reveal themselves authentically or do they withhold their true feelings? Is your partner responsive to your emotional needs? Can they comfort you when you turn to them?
And finally, are your partners words and actions usually congruent? Or do they promise one thing but deliver disappointment. Without congruence there will be no trust. And trust is the linchpin that keeps a relationship together.
Relationships evolve in stages. Couples usually become attached sexually and emotionally attached before they ever really understand one another. Couples who examine these 5 target areas can save themselves years of frustration and regret.