I’m going to preface this post by saying that I am currently engaged to a wonderful guy, and although things are going great now, I have certainly had more than my share of terrible experiences with relationships.
The prime example would be that I dated a convicted felon. Okay, maybe that description is a bit harsh, but I did knowingly go out with a guy who had stolen… a chalice… from a church… BEFORE we were dating. Long story short, we dated for about five months, during most of which time I was away at college, and when we broke up he proceeded to send me messages and texts and try just about every which-way to get in contact with me LONG after an acceptable mourning time for our deceased relationship.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that everyone’s got bad relationship stories, but not everybody has good ones.
So what does this mean when it comes to finding a great relationship?
1- Look for someone who supports you. No, this does not mean someone who always says “yes, dear,” and goes with whatever plan you’ve concocted that day. This is a person who will push you toward your dreams and goals and reel you back in when you stray from a path that is good for you.
2- Look for someone who makes you feel good. Support doesn’t necessarily mean it feels good. Think tough- love. Supportive, yes, but maybe you don’t want someone who only supports you through these means. Maybe you do want tough love all the time, but don’t want someone who supports you by always talking about your feelings. Maybe you do. In other words- figure out how you best receive support, then look for someone who best gives support in a way that matches your needs.
3- Look for a partner who pushes you. Every one of us has things we need to work on. For me, it is that I am all over the place. I start off on a career path or a diet or a workout plan, etc., try it for a few weeks or months and then go off in another direction. I needed someone to be a grounding presence for me. Someone steady. I also needed someone to push me to open up and talk about feelings. Which brings us to the next criteria:
4- Look for a person who you can open up to. Self- explanatory, right? Find someone who you are comfortable enough with to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets.
5- Look for someone you’re attracted to. By this I mean someone who you find attractive on a physical level, sure, but also on a spiritual level. At a certain point, usually just beyond the “honeymoon phase,” for me, I’d always have an intuitive sense of whether or not the relationship was good for me through some form of a gut feeling. Usually I’d figure out that it wasn’t, but stay in it anyway, but that’s beside the point. Find someone who you find yourself still wanting to be around after the “honeymoon phase.” Someone who makes you happy and makes you look at them the way you look at a giant bowl of mac and cheese. Makes you smile, right? That’s the gut feeling to look for.
These suggestions are by no means hard-and-fast rules. They’re things I should have looked for in relationships, and ultimately ended up stumbling into that hopefully you can stumble upon, too!