Everyone idealises long-term relationships!
People think that once they have found that “perfect” person, they will be happy, and all of their lonely feelings will go away.
Men and women of all ages come to me expressing their desire to be in a relationship. Little do they know about people who actually are in a relationship and aren’t necessarily happier.
Most people have also limited the definition of “love” to these first months of infatuation, and they think that the whole relationship needs to go on the same way it did during the what I call “trial period”. But let’s be honest, nobody has found that to be the case!
Granted the first weeks or months in a relationship are amazing: you find more and more things in common with your partner, you admire their best assets, you have fun, both of you are putting in effort to please each-other, and perhaps the sex is amazing. You even overlook some of the red flags because hey it’s going so well. Most people even forget the values and standards they had before the relationship started, and they just enjoy the ride.
A few months or weeks forward, and the “problems” start to pop up. All they wanted in the first place was a relationship and they were desperate to get into one, but now, there is stuff that is bothering them about the person they’re together with, and forgetting what they wanted in the first place, new issues have risen in their life waiting to be solved.
Before you read further keep in mind that no person is going to be the way your mind has imagined it, and no relationship is going to be as “wonderful” as your mind has imagined it.
What you think you want, at the moment you seek help, is actually something that your mind has created: it is not about a person, it is your imagination that you want. That is why, even when you meet a person, and all goes seemingly well, you will find, or event create “problems”. Nobody is going to fit anybody’s perfect fantasy.
Now with that information in mind, knowing that you are idealizing a long-term relationship and your mind is overestimating its importance, you can read further and ask yourself the right questions when you are considering getting in a long-term relationship.
The first thing people like to do when asked what kind of person they are looking for, is to make a list of what they expect the partner to be like, they always list what they think they want, and on this list you will find attributes like:
- Good job
- Funny (with a good sense of humor). Etc etc
Of course, by listing this type of attributes, you can see that they want a relationship, or so they think, but it’s always conditional. This is already the beginning of the problem(s): people have this idea of how the person should be, it’s not even about getting to know or appreciate someone, it’s all about finding someone that fits their fantasy. Making a list of what you want is an easy thing. We all think we know what we want.
However, if you want to get in a relationship, and once your hormones have calmed down, you need to ask yourself a more important question or more important questions:
“what is it that I can tolerate”?
“what are my deal breakers”?
“what type of attributes that I dislike can I get along with”?
“if the person shows some of the traits that I like, can I accept the attributes that I dislike”?
“do the pros outweigh the cons”?
Yes, now it doesn’t sound that romantic, but that is what happens in reality. People got into a relationship, it is what they thought they wanted and they start saying: “yeah, he/she has these qualities but, (and this BUT is the detail that will poison the relationship) they are too safe/too fickle, not attractive enough, not rich enough, too distant, too clingy and the list goes on and on and on…
Everyone is going to be “too much” of something that you don’t like. Our brains certainly do not help with this, since you are more likely to focus on what you do not like about the person, and sometimes (or very often) to the point where you will even lose sight of what you do like about the person.
Ask yourself again: what can I tolerate?
I will give some examples so that it makes the task easier for you.
For instance, some people do not mind about the social status of their partner, as long as the partner is attractive and fun. Others are okay with accepting an average looking partner as long as they are faithful. You can compromise on the fact that they might be unfaithful as long as they treat you well and are generous with you. Someone else might tolerate the fact that the partner is unreliable as long as they are sexually satisfied. Others can be okay with the fact that the partner isn’t adventurous, but they are kind, reliable, and safe.
Before you consider getting in a relationship, make a list of what your deal breakers are, and make a list of what “negative” attributes you are willing to tolerate. What are you willing to compromise on? Make the list as precise as possible, with items describing their looks, their personality, their social status, whatever is important to you.
This list is going to differ from person to person, because it will be about personal preferences. Do not take advice from friends or family, this is about you, because you are the only one who is going to live with the relationship.
By knowing what your deal breakers are or what personality traits are unbearable for you when it comes to your partner, you will avoid wasting your time, and you will avoid heartbreak. You do not need to keep dating them although they show some of the traits that you like.
You can stop it right at the moment where they show you the traits that are intolerable for you.
This article is not about toxic or abusive relationships. If your partner is verbally or physically abusing, you need to get out of the relationship or the dating phase asap. This article does not apply to abuse. Abuse needs to always be a deal breaker, no matter what other qualities your partner might have.