Figuring Out What You Want
By Frank Kermit
In my work with singles that are struggling to find a serious long-term relationship, one of the challenges is to get the single person to define exactly what it is he or she wants. Many people think they know what they are looking for, or believe that when the right person comes along, they simply will feel it.
Based on my experience and my practice, I have to tell you that such beliefs tend to lead people to dating the wrong partners or ending up very alone as they get older.
Trying to define exactly what you want in a life partner, as well as, the kind of relationship structure that meets your needs is not as easy as some may assume.
First you must balance what you think you want, and what you personally can and cannot handle. You may think you would be happy with a very socially active dating partner; however, it is only after you actually date someone who is very socially active that you come to realize that your own introverted nature and home body lifestyle, simply cannot support dating a socially active partner who is out and about most times and enjoying extrovert behaviors.
Second, there is the issue of not having enough experience with dating in general. How do you know if casually dating a number of people, instead of trying for a monogamous relationship right away would make you happier?
The answer is, you likely do not know, until you try and let experience teach you.
When I meet with clients who struggle like this, I usually suggest that sometimes it can be easier to define what it is you do NOT want. You may not be sure if you want a monogamous relationship right away, or to casually date several people at once, or to have a primary partner with some kind of more open relationship because you simply do not have enough experience to know yourself.
In fact, dating could turn out to be just a big experimental tryout until you figure it out by getting burned a few times. However, if you can list what you are sure you do not want, it can help you narrow down your choices to figure out your next immediate decisions.
For example, if something you know for sure that you do not want in your future is a divorce from the other parent of your own children, then use that as a guiding principle to help you choose what you believe is the best potential learning opportunities going forward.
No one-relationship lifestyle is better than another. Each one has pros and cons and can be better suited for different phases of a person's lifespan.
It is about starting with your end goals, identifying what you know you do not want, and working back from that future point.
This will help you decide who you should attempt to date today, and in what kind of relationship structure you should date that person.
Dating can get complicated if you let it, but it does not have to be that way if you know what your end goals are, and use that knowledge to factor into the choices you make today.