So much of what creates fulfillment in life stems from making the right decisions. You make significant choices throughout your life as you decide your career path, whether to have kids, and who to choose as a romantic partner. It’s important to be selective and clear about your values and needs as you make any important decision about your future, especially when it comes to your primary, romantic relationship.
If you aren’t selective when choosing a partner, you’ve likely run into one of three roadblocks that result from poor selection. In this post, we’ll dive into three common outcomes of poor selection.
Hot and Heavy, But Burns Out Fast
You’ve likely experienced a relationship in which there was instant, intense chemistry and attraction. You might have believed you had found “the one” after your first date or two and your love interest quickly became the center of your universe. And, likely, this lasted for just weeks or, possibly, a few months.
When you connect with someone and experience intense attraction, your body is flooded with neurochemicals. You want to move through relationship milestones quickly and, in some ways, recklessly. This fog of infatuation that happens early in a relationship rarely translates into a sustainable partnership with healthy boundaries. But, this strong attraction won’t last long-term and if you can’t attach to your partner in a healthy way, the connection won’t evolve into something sustainable.
When you feel intense relationship chemistry, treat that as a red flag, or at least an orange flag, step back and try to witness the relationship more objectively. Ask yourself whether this person aligns with your values and could meet your needs long-term. Are their words and actions consistent across time? Do you have the same vision for the future? What does your internal compass or intuition suggest about the potential of this partnership? Chances are the hot and heavy will burn out quickly.
Looks Great on Paper, But Doesn’t Work in Practice
You might have a list of qualities you want in a partner. Many of those are important as they align with your values and priorities. If you are online dating and making decisions about whether a match is a good fit based on what you see on your screen, you’ll probably run into challenges.
Most of the time, these lists can be too specific and limiting. What looks good on paper might not feel so good in real life. And, you might miss out on great opportunities because your “list” is too rigid. Be open-minded. Pick just a couple key things that are deal-breakers (like smoking or unemployment) and be willing to meet people with qualities outside of your ideal list. Look for what might lie in the margins of that paper - how they treat you and others, do they attune to your needs even when it doesn’t benefit them, do they act like a good friend to you? Too often, what looks great on paper won’t ultimately work in practice.
Safe Choice, But Inside the Comfort Zone
Another common outcome of poor selection is choosing a partner within your comfort zone. This might be someone that you know won’t challenge you in your relationship, or someone you believe won’t hurt you. Sometimes this looks like “dating down” and other times it looks like being a relationship you could “take or leave”. Ultimately, this partnership won’t be fulfilling enough long-term and will dissolve because it’s simply a safe choice in your comfort zone and doesn’t inspire you to grow and expand as a person.
At Center for Shared Insight in Denver, Colorado, we can help you identify whether you are selecting partners for the right reasons or whether poor selection is leading to relationship dissatisfaction. Our therapists can help you identify patterns in your relationships and share solutions to overcome ongoing relationship dissatisfaction. We know that your relationships drive so much of your fulfillment in life and we are here to help. Schedule a free consultation today.