Calling all Single... Dating... Engaged... Married!
Have you ever felt like giving up on love? After much pain and heartache, you've decided that you're ready to quit playing silly love games. You're over the rejection, the disappointment, the lies, or simply feeling that your not enough. So often in our lives, we do all we can to prevent the feeling of rejection or being alone. We therefore try to please everyone, attempt to go everywhere, and even at times strive to participate in everything. Why? Because relationships matter.
Today is Valentine's Day BKA the National Love Day! Unfortunately, Valentine's Day has become a huge retail holiday. In 2015, Business 2 Community projected that a whopping $18.9 billion would be spent. And of the 62% of adults admitting to celebrating Valentine’s Day a projection of this money would be spent on flowers, candy, jewelry, restaurants, apparel, speciality gifts, and salons/spas. These things have taken the place of connecting with our counterparts beyond surface love. So where has the actual love gone?
Regardless of your current relationship identifier the age old question of how to identify and secure the love you want remains outstanding. Research has been exhausted addressing variables both for and against a person's ability or inability to find satisfying, sustainable love. And as Valentine's Day passes and wedding season approaches the pressure yet again increases to identify THE best candidate.
It Takes Two...
First things first being in a healthy, meaningful relationship is designed to make you feel supported, safe, and loved. Even during the toughest of times, partners are ones that trust each other, work together to solve problems and respect each other's needs. A healthy relationship is a partnership! Both persons give their time and energy to the greater good of the relationship for the purpose of relational happiness! But what makes a healthy relationship?
- Trust - You believe what your partner says.
- Respect - You and your partner think about and consider each other's wants, beliefs, and needs.
- Communication - You each listen to the other and speak truthfully without being hurtful.
- Equality - You make decisions together that are considerably fair.
- Compromise - You mutually seek resolution. Disagreements aren't win-lose scenarios.
- Independence - You can spend time apart.
Having a composition of these variables are just few items designed to aid couples in keeping tabs on what's healthy in their relationship and what's not.
Assortative mating is "the nonrandom coupling of individuals on the basis of resemblance on one or more genotypic or phenotypic characteristics" (Buss, 1984). According to the mate selection hypothesis and assortative mating people are attracted to one another on the basis of shared similarity. This similarity is captured in the phrase “birds of a feather flock together,” and recognizes that people choose environments—including the interpersonal environments of a romantic relationship—compatible with their own dispositions. So we have to ask ourselves are we selecting the love we need or manufacturing the love we want because it mirrors what we like. In choosing the best romantic partner it is important to be more objective, less subjective. For example cohabitating has become a popular milestone before sharing I DOs. According to Scott Stanley, research professor at the University of Denver, cohabitation is different today than it was 10 years ago. He says couples have a growing tendency to "slide rather than decide" their way into relationships. Do you find yourself in this status? Do you support cohabitation before marriage? Just because you share common interests does not equal compatibility. Look beyond following internal theories of attractiveness and deepen your resolve to select a suitable partner.
The essence and purpose of commitment in relationships is to make a choice to give up other choices. Oftentimes finding the love you want lies in making an investment in one person. Cheating and infidelity are one of many precursors to relationship failure. Lacking trust in your partner stifles relational potential and thus results in a lack of understanding and/or motivation to maintain that relationship. Of course your alternative choices don't simply just go away. This commitment entails investing your time, money, energy, and resources into nurturing the one person you have chosen. Does that bring about a level of vulnerability in fully investing in the success of your relationship... YES. Does that include the other partner's commitment... NO. But we can only control ourselves. Here we must ask ourselves am I ready for the responsibility of being in a relationship?
Reality (SELF) Check
WARNING! Your perfect lover does not exist! One must be realistic and fair with our expectations in a mate. When we draft our Want Ad for Mr. Right or Mrs. Always Right are we truly assessing if we can offer what we are expecting. What are we bringing to the table other than our insatiable appetite for love? Be clear! You are only fishing the marriage market to be true to what makes a good marital match for you. By design your intentions are therefore selfish. Psychology Today mentioned the importance of reinventing your life. Sometimes our life narratives have been overly colored by wrong opinions. Take an opportunity to perform a self check. Do some housekeeping within yourself to make room for the love you want. So when was the last time you gave that inner voice a hard listen? Edit what is false, embrace what is true, and redirect your path towards a better version of YOU.
Ladies and gentleman if you've held tight to a design of the life you want in your head it may be worth developing a more flexible blueprint. Romanticizing the idea of being in a relationship can be really tough for the heart. It festers feelings of disappointment and sometimes insecurity. Today is Valentine's Day so whether you have love, are looking for love, overcoming soured love, or rebuilding lost love ALWAYS be sure to give SELF love!