In this current time, traditional dating norms have gone out the window to some degree. Those standards that many parents grew up working with have changed. Nowadays, exploring your wants and needs and being picky about your relationships isn’t uncommon or abnormal.
The timeline for finding a partner has become more extended. Relationship models themselves have become more open and diverse. It’s no simple task to figure out what you want in your relationship.
In addition to that, the dating cycle isn’t always the most enjoyable experience. Relationships can be hard, and if they go sour, it can be a deterrent to try again.
The best way to set yourself up for success is to figure out what you truly want from a relationship. Here are a few things to consider.
Know Your Main Values
One of the first steps in figuring out what you want from a relationship is knowing your core values. These values are what make you you. You were brought up to believe in specific tenants and used those to shape your adulthood. Most likely, they will not change significantly over the rest of your life. These are your dealbreakers.
Core values differ for every person but include things like:
- What your religious views are.
- How you handle financial matters.
- Whether or not you want children.
- What your view on family is.
- How you make important decisions.
- What your view on divorce is.
- What your views on fidelity and honesty are.
- How you communicate.
When it comes to opinions on these types of topics, sharing values can be the make-or-break factor for a relationship. Find someone who wants the same things in life.
Know Your Emotional Needs
Your emotional needs will be more like the fine print in a relationship. It is small and often overlooked, but pretty important to its success.
Learn about what your love language is. What are your thoughts on intimacy, sex, communication, and acceptance? Everyone has needs that need to be met to feel safe and secure. Look for a partner that can provide you with that safety and satisfy you.
While evaluating your emotional needs, you may find only a few things you can fulfill. This is a good time to reflect on any solo work that needs to be done on your part. A partner isn’t necessarily going to fix boredom, unhappiness, or self-esteem issues.
Evaluate Your Past
Learning about yourself and your wants can come from successes but also from failures. Look at past relationships to see what you can learn. What went wrong? What went well? Are there any trends/cycles that you need to stray away from?
This is a good way to see how a relationship served you in a general sense and a specific way. You can use this information going forward to weed out something that isn’t going to serve you.
Trial and Error
After doing some self-exploration and reflection, hopefully, you’ve got some lists about your wants and needs. The next step is testing out your discovered information and newfound viewpoints.
Explore new relationships and start looking for a partner who meets your needs. This typically goes beyond physicality and personality at the surface level. Get to know a person deep down to see if their qualities match yours. You’ll need to work on this with your head and heart.
Get to know and form connections with more than once person. Spend time evaluating these connections before taking steps forward. See who has the strongest bond. Re-assess their compatibility to your values as you move along.
If you’re stuck in a frustrating dating cycle or just can’t seem to figure out what you want, don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about relationship counseling.