Michele Armani and Sally Meisenheimer
Dear Style & Substance:
My brothers think I am not good at dating. I have had boyfriends and many guys ask me out on dates, but these relationships work for a while and then they don't work anymore. I am very committed to my career but I would like to have a happy, healthy relationship even though I am not ready for marriage. Where do I start?
Dear Dating Dilemma,
All healthy relationships are the same at the core: they make you content and satisfied the majority of the time. Being clear with yourself helps you to be clear with others, and in this case ‘dates’. To begin; you can start with defining happiness for yourself and then put it into action on the dating scene. Try to be more discerning up front, sooner, rather than later. You may not be ready for marriage, but it sounds like you are ready for LOVE!
Clarify your "happiness" quotient - what basic qualities are most essential to your well-being? Is it honesty, movement and activity, compassion, intelligence, clever dialogue, humor? Make a list of those qualities that make you happiest in spending time with someone. While you’re at it, distinguish what things you spend time doing; work, leisure, recreation, volunteer work, community activities and time with family and friends. These answers will help you in finding a compatible partner. Compatibility is essential to a harmonious relationship. It can be as simple as energy levels or as complex as a personal worldview.
Different areas of compatibility can include (interpret and clarify, then add your own “areas”):
Level of success; which can mean level of education, drive to succeed at work, hours and sacrifices you make for work over pleasure.
Lifestyle comes into play; are you active, a homebody, always looking for something to do? Are you an inside or outside person? Do you make healthy or non-healthy choices? What do you like to eat; adventurous or picky? And so on…
Family life; what practices would you like to continue from the way you were raised? What would you like to change? Do you want children?
Spirituality and religion; do you need a partner with the same beliefs and practices?
The future; who will you become and who will this person most likely become? This is a big question, as very often we are struck by charisma and chemistry, paying no regard to who you both might be in ten years.
Pay attention to warning signs, when your mind is telling you, “Oh, oh!” Trust your gut and instincts to gently say, “No, thank you”. Here are some great warning signs that we have heard from clients (go ahead and add to this list!);
• When you end up “training” someone in many areas to be a better boyfriend or girlfriend
• When they are not “into” your friends and family, whom you really enjoy spending time with
• When they only have YOU in their lives
• When there seems to be some addictive tendencies
• When your friends and family raise concerns about your girlfriend or boyfriend
Don’t settle for less or talk yourself into someone because you think you “should” have a partner. That is not to say that you should only accept perfection, as people (yourself included!) are interesting because of their idiosyncrasies and quirky qualities, which make them endearing and unique. It is up to you to decide what you can and cannot tolerate in a relationship! Above all, be gentle and honest with yourself and your dates….Good luck!
A S K
Style & Substance
creative life coaching solutions
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