It is not unusual that a relationship comes to an end. Whether people lose a partner through death or through a separation, getting over the loss is never easy. After a time of grieving the loss of a partner and the dream of a life together, people may start looking for a new partner.
Hopefully by now people have matured and don’t get attracted by superficial qualities. If people have approached ‘mid-life’ there is usually a sense of having no time for silly games. A new relationship will show much promise if people look for someone who is interested in establishing a lasting relationship rather than in a fling. This involves finding a person who is available rather than someone who has lots of excuses for not being able to form a commitment.
Look for a partner who is emotionally open, is comfortable with their vulnerabilities, and is willing to take responsibility for his or her own feelings. Is the person you are interested in honest, is respectful, has integrity, and is trustworthy? If you can answer these questions with ‘yes’, you are well on your way.
A totally other issue is, of course, having a good look at yourself. How well do you know yourself? Are you aware of the ways you contribute to relationship problems or even break-ups? Before you go about looking for a new partner, maybe it’s a good time to look at your own ‘skeletons in the cupboard’. It might be a good idea to get help with this self-exploration to make sure that you don’t trip over your own outdated beliefs and understandings. You can contact me if you would like some assistance in exploring these issues for you.
How open are you to a lasting, intimate relationship? Do you find yourself getting fearful, suspicious, and not trusting when it comes to making a commitment? Do you avoid showing your vulnerabilities and your honest thoughts? Are you avoidant and defensive? If this is the case, you might sabotage your relationships without being consciously aware of it.
Are you quickly interpreting other people’s actions? A major problem in relationships is that people draw conclusions without checking out with their partner why s/he has been acting they way they have. Mindreading is so common a mistake that it is almost tragic how many relationships suffer under people’s reluctance to discuss with their partner what was really going on.
Having realistic expectations of one’s partner is another key to successful relationships. Avoid thinking that through the power of your love your partner will turn into this wonderful person/prince. Modern relationships are not fairy tales. They are about understanding that your feelings are created by your thoughts and taking responsibility for them. Be sure that you have loving feelings towards the person in front of you and not towards a set of potentials that you fantasize into that person.
Last but not least understand that love is not something that you can find – like a set of keys you’ve lost when you were out jogging. Love is not a certain thing; it means many different things to many different people. Love is most of all a verb. To love someone means to demonstrate caring, supporting, understanding, respecting, appreciating, and enjoying another person. Long-lasting love means to demonstrate love mutually to each other over and over again.
Love has very little to do with ‘chemistry’, the stuff that makes ‘the earth shake’. Not that these experiences aren’t pleasurable. Love, is much more ordinary. This reminds me of movies where actors/actresses are cast because there is a ‘chemistry’ between them that translates well on screen evoking the pretense of love. Sometimes these actors are becoming a couple after they’ve finished the movie. However, often these relationships don’t last very long. Chemistry in itself is not enough. Love is like a garden that needs lots of constant attention.