Do you ever feel like you don't know what you do want in a romantic partner but you know what you don't want? Sounds like a tongue twister, right? When we don't have a clear idea of what we want in a partner, it can be difficult to identify what qualities we should be looking for in a potential partner. There are many people that can list everything they don't want in a partner. However, they struggle with identifying what they do want that surpasses looks and hobbies. They can easily say I want someone that is "tall, blonde, handsome, blue eyes," and "likes going to Taco Tuesday," but anything deeper than that requires some thought. Although when asked what they don't want the lis is rolling. Some say they don't want things like:
"I don't want someone too needy."
"I don't want someone who doesn't have their own life."
"I don't want to date someone who doesn't like going out."
This list carries on. Does that list sound like something you have heard or said? We can tell our friends over a glass of wine or a pint of beer what we do not want in partnership. However, when asked what we want, we need a minute to think about it. Have you ever notice that when you are asked what you are looking for in a partner, you take a moment to think about what it is you want? That might be because we get so fixated on avoiding what we feel will disturb our peace but need to think of what would contribute to our joy.
So why keep reading? In this article, there are five tips from a relationship therapist to help you identify what you want in a romantic partner and how to stick to your values so that you are not feeling mentally drained.
Take a minute to think about what type of person you want in your space. And I mean actually think about it. Once you have thought about it make a list. What you write down you will probably remember and leave that list in a place you can see it. If you can't see it, it's easier to forget about it.
Five points to consider when dating
What are your core values? Do you have religious or spiritual values that are significant to you? Do you have political values? Do you have values shape how you see and interact with the world? If you do and they are meaningful to you, write them. This person you want to date, do they align with those core values?
What can't you compromise on? Really think this one out. If your deal breaker is that they MUST LOVE SPORTS, then think about that one for a second. What if this person doesn't like sports but they are willing to go watch your favorite sports team with you and even wear the jersey? They might not love sports but they love you enough to share that with you. What you aren't willing to compromise on can be connected more to your core values such as women's rights, equal education, religion, etc.
Try not to get fixated on physical appearance. We are not disregarding that physical attraction is an important component but it's not the only important component. Do you remeber a time that you turned a good person away because they weren't what you considered "super hot" or you compromised your values because they were so attractive and you did not want to loose them? Physical attraction is important but an emotional connection can grow.
Just as there are values that you can't give up on what are the things you can compromise on? Successful relationships require compromise. You will not be paired up with someone that agrees and does everything 100% like you. So while you are exploring the idea of partnership with a new person think of things you are willing to be more flexible about. For example, can you make a compromise on a person's height, the amount of money they make, whether or not they have a college degree, where they currently live, and so on.
Trust your intuition. When it comes to dating you will encounter some people that your intuition says something is off. It is imperative to listen to that. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. If they feel off and you have evidence to back it up, trust your gut. It might be a good idea to speak to a relationship therapist if you are having trouble trusting your intuition and need another perspective on things. Therapy will help you navigate your values and needs in dating. Therapy with a licensed CA therapist is helpful because you get unbiased support.
Why consider doing therapy when dating? A therapist can provide a caring and listening ear. Relationship therapy is done at a safe place and you can explore with your therapist what is really getting in the way of building a meaningful and loving partnership.
Dating is supposed to be fun and it should also be safe. Try not to compromise your core values or act against your morals out of fear of losing your relationship. A person who is right for you will also feel safe. If you don't feel safe or recognize that your relationship is negatively impacting your mental well-being, then you should get help from a loved one or a licensed therapist.
You are more than enough. Show yourself authentically as you are and let the other person show you why they are the right match for you. Dating takes you on a journey. Try to enjoy the ride.