In today’s dating culture, it’s easy to fall into patterns that lead to helplessness in romantic relationships.
Instead of delving into self-reflection, we often choose to replace partners whenever challenges arise.
To have an extraordinary relationship, the work begins with yourself and extends to your relationships. A friend once texted me, “If you’ve written about how to find a good partner, I’d love to read your take on that.”
Let’s clear something up: You don’t “find” a partner.
A relationship is much like a system of compatible parts, and you are the first part.
Imagine if your car breaks down and you need to replace some parts.
You will identify the model of your car to ensure compatibility.
In the same way, in your relationship, have compatible parts.
Here, the parts refer to shared values, long-term goals and aspirations, to mention a few.
Understanding this will guide you towards relationships that contribute too long-term happiness and fulfillment.
Now, let’s delve into some of the most common misconceptions about love and how they contribute to destructive relationship patterns.
The Origins of Misconceptions About Love
From religion to societal norms, idealized notions of love in movies, TV shows, and songs create unrealistic expectations and even make you go against your own needs.
Distorted highlights on social media present love as a fairytale, overlooking the complexities of relationships.
This only lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction when real-life relationships don’t match the perfect images presented online.
Negative relationship experiences have profound consequences, shaping your misconceptions about love.
If you don’t learn from past betrayals, it will lead to deep-seated distrust and fear of being hurt again.
Negative relationships erode your self-esteem, affecting how you perceive your own worth.
Previous emotional wounds create a lot of anxiety in opening up and hinders deep connections.
Without awareness, you will instinctively seek unhealthy relationship patterns, perpetuating negative experiences.
“Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
If you were raised in a family with a communication style that was dysfunctional, it will affect your capacity to articulate your needs and emotions unless you educate yourself on effective communication techniques and establishing boundaries.
A chain of negative experiences shapes your mindset towards love, leading you to believe that finding a healthy relationship is scarce.
As a result, this lead to a fear of committing to create the person you aspire to be in a relationship.
Recognizing and addressing these consequences is crucial for your healing and building healthier relationships in the future.
Lack of Self-awareness
To prevent problems in relationships, cultivate self-awareness.
Entering relationships without knowing yourself leads to confusion and misunderstandings.
Fear of Vulnerability and Uncertainty
Love requires vulnerability and acceptance of uncertainty.
Fear hinders healthy love and maintains destructive cycles.
Challenge false beliefs to develop a realistic comprehension of love.
When we embrace vulnerability, we open ourselves up to growth and the opportunity to develop together.
What Love is NOT
Infatuation often mistakes intense attraction for love.
The focus is on wanting and approval, rather than genuine connection.
While attachment is vital, it’s not synonymous with love.
Attachment can occur without genuine love for someone, and not understanding different attachment styles can be problematic.
Do you know your attachment style or your partner’s?
Dependency mistakes needs for love.
In a healthy love, there is a balanced interdependence where both partners thrive individually and come together to share their experiences.
Obsession isn’t love—it’s rooted in control, which is often driven by a fear of loss and manifests ass anxiety.
Healthy love is based on letting go of your partner, trusting that they will come back to you.
Passion is a healthy positive, and intense emotion expressed in a healthy and constructive manner.
It respects boundaries and prioritizes well-being, shared interests and goals, contributing to mutual growth.
While obsessing with yourself and others makes you scared, passion inspires you to be a better human being.
When familiarity becomes the primary basis for your relationship, there is a risk of prioritizing comfort over personal and relational growth.
You resist change or avoid confronting challenges, leading to stagnation in both your personal development and the relationship.
Mistaking familiarity with love can lead to a lack of introspection about the quality and dynamics of your relationship.
Critical issues or underlying problems go unaddressed, as there’s a tendency to maintain the status quo rather than evaluate the health of your relationship.
Unhealthy familiarity breed a tolerance for negative behaviors or red flags, as you become accustomed to certain patterns.
Relying on familiarity limits your exploration of new experiences, interests, or relationships.
You miss out on valuable opportunities for personal growth and will feel unfulfilled in the long run.
The routine and predictability of familiarity can be mistaken for love, especially if you have a reluctance to embrace change.
Healthy love involves change, which means it demands more than going through the motions.
A relationship based on familiarity alone foster emotional dependence rather than interdependence.
You rely on the relationship for emotional security without developing the independence to thrive on your own.
While familiarity provides short-term comfort, it does not sustain long-term satisfaction and fulfillment.
In the world of relationships, two key players are attraction and compatibility.
Attraction is like the spark at the beginning, while compatibility is the steady flame that keeps a relationship going strong.
To figure out how love works, we need to separate these two and see how they each play a role in building a happy relationship.
Attraction is complex and often misunderstood.
Think of attraction as a quality in someone else that you deeply desire, drawing you towards them.
It can be an appreciation for who they are, a feeling of being drawn to them, or something even deeper.
You often engage in this behavior with no self-awareness.
Now, let’s examine how this translates into real-life scenarios.
Attraction vs. Love
We need to clear up a big misunderstanding—attraction is not the same as love.
When you feel drawn to someone, it’s the emotions they evoke in you that are the driving force behind your actions.
They embody something that enhances your life, often something that you are not giving yourself and therefore see in them.
Without sounding too harsh, you are an emotional beggar.
Let’s consider Jane as an example, one of my coaching clients.
She was dating an older man who’s not handsome but has a lot of money.
From the outside, she’s a gold digger.
But, in reality, Jane values financial security a lot, and that’s what attracts her to him.
During our discussion about her relationship, she had no awareness of this value.
Attraction is driven by personal needs and values beyond what we often identify.
Being attracted to someone does not automatically translate into a positive and healthy relationship.
Sometimes, you are attracted to how someone looks, or like in Jane’s case, who values financial security, but that doesn’t mean they will be a match for the long run.
It’s important to question what attraction means and make smart choices based on what we really want and need.
Janet educated herself and now earns a high income that provides her with financial security, which is one of her values.
One of the core values that she holds dear has been fulfilled, and as a result, she no longer relies on a wealthy man to provide her with financial security.
Compatibility is the Real Deal
Compatibility is about more than getting along.
It’s like feeling at home with someone.
When you are compatible, it is easier to be yourself.
Your values align, bringing an end to the constant fights.
The moment problems appear is when you force differences in values to fit into a relationship against their natural inclination.
Now, let’s look at Sarah, another one of my coaching clients.
She possesses great intelligence.
For a long time, she dated intelligent guys, but those relationships didn’t work out for her.
With some coaching, she began asking better questions.
This led her to discover what she truly valued in a relationship, which was not intelligence.
Within a few months, she began dating someone who is not be the brightest, but provides emotional support.
What makes Sarah’s relationship successful is the immense value she places on emotional support.
This demonstrates that the key to compatibility lies in discovering a person who provides unwavering support in the areas that hold the utmost importance to you.
What matter most to you in a relationship?
Choosing a Partner
When you’re picking a partner, it’s not just about the excitement of being attracted.
A partner who’s a fit will feel like coming home, giving you a sense of security.
It’s important to know what you really want and make choices that make sense to you.
Let’s consider another coaching client of mine, Alex.
Despite his good looks and history of dating physically attractive women, he has repeatedly experienced disastrous relationships.
Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t articulate the feeling that something was missing.
One day during one of our coaching question sessions, I asked him, “When do you feel most turned on, attracted to a woman?”
He thought for a while and then replied, “I feel most attracted to someone when we have deep conversations and shared interests—when there is a strong intellectual connection.”
There is a certain richness and a distinct feeling that accompanies this intellectual bond.
It’s a turn on for me.
Shifting your focus beyond physical attraction helps you choose a partner beyond societal norms.
One empowering question that you could ask yourself is, “If I had all the qualities that I admire in the person I’m attracted to, would I still choose to be in a relationship with them?”
This question will help you find someone with whom you connect and contribute to a relationship that grows and stays strong.
What We Often Get Wrong About The Law of Attraction
To shape your understanding of reality, it is important to recognize the significance of words.
You are the person with whom you communicate the most every day.
Thoughts manifest through words, and words lead to actions.
Thinking that a good partner will manifest without putting in any effort is not a plan, it is a dream.
In order to effectively translate your beliefs into actions, there are several additional components that are absolutely crucial to:
Define the life you want.
Make a commitment to becoming the person you aspire to be so that you don’t have to rely on a partner to fill any voids.
Understand what drives your choices in romantic relationships
Embrace challenges and track your progress.
Seek coaching and feedback.
The struggles we encounter individually are part of our human experience, and it is the beauty of our shared struggles that unites us.
You can’t control circumstances, but you control your responses. That shapes the person you want to date.
If you found freedom, vulnerability, and a deep connection in your romantic relationship, you clearly understand what you find attractive.
Share your insights with others.
If you’re still navigating relationship challenges, recognizing attraction, compatibility, and love offers a comprehensive understanding, paving the way for meaningful connections.
This concept is so important that it deserves repetition: a partner is not something you find; it is something you create.
By embodying the qualities that align with your values and needs, you will attract a suitable partner who appreciates and is drawn to those same qualities.
Existing as someone you’re not, especially in a romantic relationship, is painful and attempting to sustain a false persona is unsustainable.
You can’t fake or compromise your way into a healthy relationship.
Once you take a moment to ponder on it, you undoubtedly conclude that it makes perfect sense.
When you and your partner’s values are mostly aligned, there is no need to make compromises in terms of values and purpose.
For years, I was unaware of my values, practicing people-pleasing, and losing sight of who I was.
Whenever things went wrong, my default response was to play the blame game.
I made sure to tell everyone who was willing to listen that I had not yet come across the perfect person.
I even went to the extent of blaming my partner for my lack of self-awareness.
Throughout my life, self-awareness has consistently proven to be my most valuable and influential teacher.
I don’t have a universal definition of love.
The only thing I have to share with you is my personal understanding has helped me transition from transactional relationships to experience a profound, healthy love in my marriage.
Just to clarify, healthy love aims to create minimal suffering, its free from attachment and selfish desires.
It’s not a goal or something you check off on a list and then you’re finished.
It’s a work in progress rooted in respect, trust, and mutual growth that I am working on every day.
Some days, I experience a sense of flow, where everything seems to fall into place effortlessly.
Other days I feel frustrated. This is a stop signal for me. It serves as a reminder that there is a lesson to be learned.
I take a deep breath and acknowledge that I am surrendering control to my emotions, rather than embodying the person I want to be.
Healthy love recognizes and manages emotions, it doesn’t suppress them.
It fosters empathy and understanding within the relationship.
You cultivate the soil of your relationships with the nutrients of effective communication, emotional intelligence, and a commitment to personal and shared growth.
Healthy love is not a competition but a collaborative journey requiring effort, compromise, and commitment to growth.
Do societal views of love hold you back from having a fulfilling relationship?
Have you ever taken the time to contemplate whether you date yourself based on more than just your outward appearance?
Do you maintain emotional balance in relationships, or do you use your partner as a means of compensation instead of focusing on self-improvement?
Abandon the idea of finding a partner; focus on becoming the partner you want to date.
Identify qualities you admire in others and strive to cultivate them in yourself.
Engage in self-reflection, assessing areas for personal growth.
It’s not about perfection; it’s about embodying qualities you desire, so you don’t date someone for the wrong reasons.
Pursue activities that aligned with your values and interests.
Surround yourself with learners that inspire you to become the best version of yourself.
Practice effective communication and emotional intelligence.
Becoming the desired partner is an ongoing process that never ends because both you and your partner are constantly growing and changing. Or not.
The choice is yours.