So are you really being your authentic self in your relationship? When you meet a potential new partner, are you putting on a false front? Or are you being honest and true to who you are?
I know a couple who tells the story that they met through a dating site, and she really liked to do construction and home improvement projects. Her friends all told her when she went to meet her now husband that she probably shouldn’t share her love of using power tools with him, as it might scare him off. But she chose to be her authentic self and DID share that with him, only to discover he had the same interests and it was one of the things that really connected them. What if she’d been inauthentic and pretended that wasn’t an interest of hers? What if he’d felt they had little in common when they really did have common passions?
It’s so important to be yourself and be honest and authentic to attract the right partner. No one wants to be dating someone who is putting on a false front, only to discover weeks or months later they aren’t the person you thought they were. Be yourself!
I’ve seen so many people change themselves – their likes, dislikes, appearance, friends, hobbies, lifestyle and more so that their partner will accept them. Crazy! I admit though that I’ve done it myself. So extremely so that when I divorced my husband years ago, I had to get a life coach, as I had no idea who I was or what I liked anymore. I needed someone to coach me through exploring again and finding my interests and passions. It was so bizarre to realize that I really didn’t even know who I was anymore.
It’s amazing how we will change ourselves and sacrifice for relationships. In the past I’ve lost huge amounts of weight, grown out my hair, cut off friends, taken up crazy new sports that weren’t even fun to me, and pretended that I was cool with things that a boyfriend did that I was SO NOT cool with. Why in the world do we do this to ourselves? Why do we accommodate, bend ourselves, throw away our own dreams and desires, think we can fix or change them (or think we can fix or change ourselves so they’ll want us), and just generally trash our lives in hopes that someone who totally isn’t worthy of us will like us? How can we find the right person when we don’t even know ourselves or sometimes even like ourselves and feel worthy of a great person first?
Know What you Want
Where we really need to start is to BECOME the person we want to be with. So in other words, if you want someone who is kind, generous, athletic and honest – we need to be all of those things ourselves. So first you need to work on you. Being all the things you want in a mate, and also being your authentic self. You need to know your likes and dislikes, your interests, your hobbies, what you will and won’t accept in your life and in your partner, and you need to stick to that.
Don’t think you are going to change someone, because you’re not. Not that people can’t change, but relationships are about unconditional love and acceptance. You wouldn’t want someone meeting you and having a list of things they want to change about you. You want someone who will love you for who you are, as you are. So you need to do the same.
See something you can’t accept or goes against your list of desires for a partner? Then walk away. Walk away as soon as possible. The further you get into it, the harder it is to leave. Studies show that the people who are the happiest in their relationships knew what they wanted and walked away from the wrong ones very early on in the relationship. Too many people see all the traits they don’t want and think that maybe it’s not that bad, or maybe they will change, or maybe they can just overlook those things because this is the best date otherwise that you’ve been on in a while. NO!!! When you have to talk yourself into sticking around, run!!!
It’s great when you can weed out the wrong people early on. There’s really no danger here in cutting someone loose too early. You either feel it or you don’t. And if the conversation flows, the answers they are giving are in alignment with what you want, and your gut feeling is that they are being honest with you – then have a second date. But don’t jump in too early. Continue talking. Make sure no warning signs arise early. Keep it at ‘arms length’ for a while so you can fully assess things before you are emotionally or physically involved.
Not to say that things can’t arise later in a relationship that you didn’t see early on. That can happen as well, but sometimes it’s something you could have at least seen a warning sign about earlier and possibly overlooked it. How about if the guy openly flirts in front of you with the young waitress? If this is something you chose to overlook, it could be that he cheats with other women during your relationship. So watch for early signs of issues before you get in too deep – and always follow your gut. If it feels uncomfortable or wrong, it likely is.
But while you could probably see a lot of things early on, there may be things that come up later that you could not have foreseen. And again, don’t stay if it’s not right. Don’t be miserable when you don’t have to be. Know that anyone can walk away from any relationship at any time and life will go on. It will actually be a whole lot better usually, even if it is scary and messy at first. It’s all survivable. You deserve better – just remember that.
Is OK Good Enough?
What if the issues aren’t that huge, and you’ve been dating for a while? Sometimes people fall in love and get a bit locked in, loving the person too much to leave them even if it’s not exactly what they want. It’s comfortable, it’s relatively easy, and while it’s not perfect, it’s better than what many other people are dealing with. So if you’re okay with settling with comfortable but not great, and maybe not even very happy – that’s fine. I don’t want to say that you can’t live a perfectly fine life this way.
But what if you could find a partner who you were passionate about, who fully supported you, who you loved deeply and had a deep friendship/relationship with and could say anything to them. Someone who really was your perfect partner on every level. And what if that person passed you by because you decided to settle with the “ok” person? Are you ok with that? If so, by all means, it is your life of course.
I just feel like I have been with lesser guys who I wasn’t that into when great guys crossed my path, and I was too loyal to the lesser guy and let the great guy go. Ugh. It’s heart-wrenching sometimes to look back on that. Hindsight is 20/20, but still, I realize how many times I settled for so much less when I wish I hadn’t settled and kept myself open for the right guy.
Where do you believe you belong? With the partner of your dreams? Or with some schmuck that treats you badly? Seriously, you need to get clear on this. While most people aren’t with anyone horrible, there are definite warning signs or issues.
Square Peg, Round Hole
I was just talking to someone who is very into new-age spiritual stuff, and is even building a small business around that. She was telling me that she was certain her boyfriend is “the one”, and in the next breath tells me how she can’t share all her new-age spiritual beliefs with him because he doesn’t believe any of it and doesn’t want to hear about it. Huh? Then how do you think this guy is “the one”? You can’t even be your authentic self around him or share discussions about your passion? If people could just hear it when they say things like this and see it for what it is, it would be so clear to them too.
It’s quite humorous to hear people justify things and how they plan to mold this person into being “the one”. She told me that she planned to open his mind and that he would grow to have the same beliefs. Really? Are you sure? How do you know that? Isn’t that his decision? What if he is telling others that he plans to convert you to be Catholic like he is, and that you’ll get over this ‘woo-woo’ stuff soon. Hmmm?
I think sometimes we find someone who seems better than what we’ve had in the past – closer to what we want, but not there yet, and we try to make them fit. Well let me tell you, it’s all part of your learning experience – learning to honor yourself, what you’re worthy of, as well as honing your list of must-haves. Teaching you to let go when it’s not right. To recognize it and move on. Seriously, there are so many perfect matches out there for you, but if you don’t let go of the person who isn’t a perfect match, you will never find them.
Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s better to be alone than with the wrong person” (or similar sayings)? It’s so true. I honestly feel that once you recognize that you are with the wrong person, you need to let it go. Be by yourself for a while. The more the idea of being alone scares you, the more you need to do it. The best way to get to a place of not tolerating bad relationships is to be so happy by yourself that you don’t need a relationship. It simply becomes the icing on the cake if you find the perfect person, but otherwise why ruin your perfectly awesome life by bringing the wrong person into it? It will become completely and totally not worth your while when you love your life. That is the ultimate place you can get to!
Independence is Attractive
So how do you feel about being alone? Living by yourself, or at least not dating and living with friends? Personally, I think it’s best to learn to live completely alone, but for some that isn’t financially feasible. Regardless, to be able to enjoy time by yourself and pursue hobbies and interests on your own is priceless. I think it’s the absolute best way to learn more about yourself and what you like. When I finally took a long hiatus from dating and spent time alone, I discovered that I liked mountain biking, running, meditation and yoga. As well as a whole bunch of new-age spiritual interests. Who knew?
You should definitely have your own interests and hobbies and friends. The number one thing that most people find attractive in a partner is their independence. It’s incredibly important to have your own life that makes you happy before you go looking for someone. I think the biggest turn off is when someone has no life and looks to their partner to fill their time. Neediness is highly unattractive! Plus, it can really just be too much pressure to put on another person to keep you entertained, introduce you to people, and teach you about their hobbies. Who wants someone tagging along ALL THE TIME too? It is so important, as an adult, to have your own life. You also need something to talk about with your partner. You need to have interests to share with them. What makes you interesting? Think about that.
As part of all this independence and learning about yourself, finding interests and hobbies; there is another major goal here. Hopefully it just happens naturally, as you spend time by yourself. But the goal here is to learn to love yourself. To value yourself, enjoy your own company, and embrace your life as it is. To have so much love and joy in your life WITHOUT a partner that essentially you don’t need one. That is the absolute best place you can be to actually attract the right person. But again, I don’t think it’s healthy to focus on that heavily. I truly think you will attract the right person doing the things you love and embracing your life. Because that person will be attracted to you doing just that!
Independent people are assertive, self-assured, and play by their own rules. They don’t need anybody else but themselves to validate who they are. So when it comes to relationships, they’re low maintenance as partners because they’re busy running their own lives. They know when and what to give without being overbearing, and have enough confidence to thrive on their own.
Neediness is Not
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the biggest turnoff is neediness. It’s really quite awful when someone doesn’t know how to be without their partner. This can be in the form of expecting constant communication, not wanting to hang out with their own friends, or showing irritation when their significant other is unavailable. If this sounds like you, you really need to take a step back and spend some time alone. You have to know how to be secure with yourself and in return, you won’t need a partner to make you feel complete. And when someone recognizes this about you, they will appreciate you as a partner even more.
Whatever you do though, don’t mistake independence with playing hard to get. There’s a huge difference between being self-reliant and playing games by distancing yourself. It’s only a matter of time before that becomes old, and the chase is no longer fun or going anywhere. Independence is a characteristic, not a game. Independence is someone who is equally happy with their partner as they are doing things separate from them. Most people appreciate this quality in a potential partner because it proves you’ll be a good teammate who can pull their own weight, rather than dependent on them for everything.
Personally, it took me quite a few years to truly get this. I used to be the needy girl. Or at least I turned into that in a big way. I think the older I got, the more ‘desperate’ I felt about finding a relationship and the marriage that I wanted (that I thought would make me happy), and the needier I became. And unfortunately, the men that wanted to date me at that point in my life were all controlling manipulators who were happy to tell me what to do. But that’s not fun and can be abusive or verging on abuse. It’s not where anyone wants to be.
You never want to be desperate for anything really, but especially for a relationship. Desperation and neediness does not attract anything good to you, I can tell you that for sure. Enjoying your life and letting expectations go is when all the good stuff comes to you.
A New Perspective
Once I totally signed off dating for a while (for years actually), and really grew to love my life, only then did I realize I was so happy that having a relationship again would be the icing on the cake. Though I admit, I got so happy alone that I did even start to question if I wanted a relationship again. However, I knew that any future relationship would be so different based on how much I’d changed. I would attract an entirely different type of man who appreciated my independence and loved me unconditionally. It was a total shift in my thinking. And I knew that if the Universe sent me the right guy, that would be amazing. Otherwise I was just going to go on enjoying my life and pursuing the things I love to do.
Finding the Right Partner
So in summary, here’s some things to remember in your quest to find the right partner:
- Be authentic and honest – don’t ever change who you are for anyone. Be true to yourself and follow your own instincts too. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Be honest and walk away when you need to.
- Know exactly what you want in a partner – have a list of 10 – 20 things that are ‘must haves’ and refer to it regularly. Make sure you get MOST of the list checked off when you find the ‘right one’.
- Love yourself first – if you don’t love yourself, how can you expect someone else to?At minimum, love your life or work on it until you feel good about it. You can’t look outside yourself to feel good – it’s all about you.
- Don’t settle for less – don’t throw away your list or think you can mold someone to fit it.If they don’t fit it now, they likely won’t ever. Don’t sacrifice yourself or your time for someone that isn’t worthy of you.
- Be independent – that doesn’t mean you have to venture out on trips by yourself. It simply means that you don’t always need someone to ‘entertain’ you. That you are fine to do things separate from your partner and have your own interests.
- Don’t expect someone to ‘save’ you – if you have issues you are dealing with in your life, you really need to save yourself. You can and should of course have friends and family and others to support you, but by no means should you expect a partner to ‘save’ you from something you just need to deal with first.
- Stop making the same mistakes – stop blaming your partners for the unsuccessful relationships you have had. What mistakes are you making? Why are you choosing certain types of people? Dig deep. It’s time for some introspection so you can get off this ferris wheel.
It’s time to stop trying to be what you think is desirable to a mate, and instead be yourself and enjoy your life. Once you are truly able to find joy in yourself and your own life, only then will you attract someone wonderful. Someone who ALSO has found joy in themselves and their own life. And that, my friends, will be a relationship full of magic. That’s true grown up love. Don’t settle for less than that.