I was talking with a friend the other day. She was telling me about how her daughter’s fairly new relationship was going through a rough patch. She didn’t think it was going to last.
I suggested that she might choose better next time. My friend replied, “the problem is that you don’t know until much later whether you chose well or not.”
That got me thinking about whether or not I agreed with her and, on reflection, I don’t.
All I have for evidence is my relationship with Paul but I think my insights could safely be generalised, at least to some extent:
By the time I met Paul, I had come to know myself quite well. Some of my insights came from my reflections about my long marriage to Jim and why I felt so unhappy, what was missing for me and why I felt so unloved.
As I grew older, my needs and wants changed over the years and I’ve become more aware of what I needed from a relationship, some of which were not negotiable, others were important and others were ‘nice to have’.
I believe you can’t go too far wrong if you know what they are.
In my case, top of the list of my non-negotiables was that the person would have to be kind.
This is something you can tell from the very beginning, not just from how they treat you but also by observing how they treat and talk to and about other people.
I thought it was important for them to have a life that keeps them engaged because it keeps them interesting so we would always have things to talk about. Plus they wouldn’t be needy.
I also wanted them to have mates or at least one important mate. That’s because I firmly believe that friends are really important, not just for us women but for men as well. It gives them an additional outlet.
After that, I identified other really important needs (one level down from non-negotiable):
the need to be listened to, the need to have the opportunity to listen to them. That means that they would have to be willing to be open and to share their experiences; otherwise, we’d have little to talk about!
Tenderness is a very important need of mine. Without it, I think I’d starve emotionally!
I also wanted them to be close to their family because I thought it says a lot about a man but, of course, there are exceptions, for example if his family is dysfunctional.
All of these things are easily identifiable from the very beginning by the way he talks about himself, his past experiences in relationships, about his friendships, about what interests him, about his family, and so on.
So this is how my first few meetings with Paul went:
As I tend to do when I meet someone new, I ask questions. That’s not only because I’m genuinely interested but also because, from past experience, I believed that men like to talk about themselves.
Then, after a while, he told me he wanted to know about me too which, from past experience, was a bit of a novelty for me.
He not only listened but thought about what I’d said afterwards and, sometimes, he would bring it up next time. In my experience, that was pretty awesome!
Over the next couple of meetings, I learned about his family, his sons, the lengths he went to stay close to them after his divorce when they were little, about the charity he’s involved in, about the things he enjoys, about his friendships and more.
As I learned more and more about him, I grew to like and respect him. That, I firmly believe, makes a strong foundation for both, solid friendships and love relationships.
Obviously, there’s no way of knowing which way the relationship is going to go – it may become a deep friendship or it may turn into love.
The point is that, without this foundation of deep liking, the chances of the relationship staying strong and long-lasting are remote.
P.S. I enable women build successful relationships, first with themselves and then with others. That’s because your relationship with yourself shapes all your other relationships.
I enable them to build relationships that are solid and durable and, especially, relationships where they experience passion and intimacy.
If this is what you want too, call me on 020 8940 7056 or email me on email@example.com for a FREE one hour exploratory conversation.
P.P.S. Trouble spots may appear small, apparently trivial but, if left unattended, they can create distance between you – irrespective of whether it’s with your partner, a family member or a friend.
To find out how to deal with them as and when they come up, contact me for a FREE one hour exploratory conversation using the details mentioned above.