As with every other area of existence, a rewarding and long lasting love life requires attention and planning. Yet, somehow, most of us expect our one true soulmate to suddenly materialize so that we can live happily ever after. Sound familiar? Or does it sound crazy?
Finding and succeeding in love may, indeed, be harder than ever as we wind our way through the first decade of the new millennium. But, the problem with starting and sustaining relationships is not a lack of available partners or a fundamental flaw in the concept of monogamy. The problem, rather, is found in our expectations! And the solution is simple.
It’s time to change perspective. Getting real about love is not giving up on romance – it’s creating the chance to actually experience it!
The whole truth
Like our point and click “have it your way right away” culture, daters these days analyze each prospective partner with laser sharp acuity and a checklist a mile long. We anticipate a lightning bolt and swear that we’ll settle for nothing less. We bemoan a lack of passion citing some failure or imperfection in our pairing, then order more take out and tune into our Tivos. We’re complacent and unrealistic. It’s no wonder divorce rates and never-been-married statistics are soaring! So few of us realize when we have to put in the effort.
If you want to improve your odds of success in love, there are three simple facts you need to face – whether we’re single or in a relationship.
First, no one person is perfect. Second, no matter how close they are to perfect, no one person is going to fulfill every need any of us has. And third, each and every one of us changes over time. Translation? Perfect today may not be so great down the road. Life ebbs and flows and requires the ability to adapt (read: no happily ever after). Likewise, “the one” is not some magical figure who will waltz into your life and effortlessly fit into it.
Shift your perspective
Armed with this knowledge, it’s time to create a new paradigm for love – and plan accordingly. What does this mean? First and foremost, it’s recognizing that “the one” is whoever you choose them to be. That is not to say you can make someone love you or force yourself to love the person in front of you. Instead, it means that compatibility is the factor that best determines a relationship’s longevity, not some external force or intense feeling of desire or “knowing.” Stop looking for that sign from above and look for the sign from within.
How do you feel when you’re with this person? Beyond starry-eyed and desirous, do you have the same goals? Do you communicate well with each other? Are you able to work through conflicts together? Can you see yourselves as a functioning, well-balanced pair in a life that would make both of you happy? These are the questions to ask yourself… Of course, attraction is also important – vital even. But lust alone does not a successful pairing make. The ability to compromise may very well be the most important determinant of a couple’s odds.
Beat the odds
In the end, know this. If two people decide to give it a go through an honest lens with love at the core and willingness to grow and change together (effectively becoming each other’s “one”), they can usually make a relationship work. In fact, relationships built on these grounds outlast those founded purely on a “lightning bolt,” statistically speaking.
Lastly, single or paired, extroverted or shy, and regardless of the state of your relationship, you can never stop working on you. Not only do those who take care of themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually experience higher levels of overall wellbeing, their partners are happier, too!
So, if creating a happy partnership is part of your year’s plan, focus on communication, conflict resolution, stress management and sexual self-awareness. The more in touch you are with yourself – both literally and figuratively speaking – the better your chances are of building a well-rounded relationship with an equally adept mate!
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