“Love is all you need.” I’m a huge Beatles fan, and every so often their lyrics pop into my head unannounced. I used to wholeheartedly believe that all you need is love to create an ideal relationship.
People love the idea of love. Let’s all agree on one thing here; everyone wants to feel good, and the idea of being loved purely for love’s sake makes us feel good.
With all the exposure to romantic ideals of love we get from childhood through adulthood, we should all be relationship experts.
But despite all this exposure, first marriages still have about a fifty percent chance of lasting. This general statistic should give us all pause to reflect on why couples can’t seem to stay together. But for now, let’s address the question that is asked time and again: What should I look for in a partner?
It Starts with You
This may seem counterintuitive, but in order to find your significant other, you must first uncover your significant self. In other words, conduct a thorough investigation of who you are.
By doing so you will begin to understand who you’ve been in romantic relationships, and who you will continue to be unless you change.
If you’re concerned about your ability to maintain healthy, satisfying relationships, you’ve likely developed unproductive relationship patterns. You may have also made poor relationship choices. What you don’t want to do is carry those patterns and poor choices into future relationships.
When coaching my clients on this process, I take them through a series of powerful, self-reflective questions. You can begin to do this too. For example:
What do I really want?
Why do I want a partner?
What do I bring to a committed relationship?
What are my values?
and so on…
Going through this exercise of asking the right questions, you may learn that the relationship you really long for is a healthy relationship with yourself.
If that’s the case, and you're not currently in a committed relationship, you’ve saved yourself and someone else a great deal of trouble. You can’t give to someone else what you don’t have.
If your relationship with yourself is whole and happy, creating satisfying relationships will come easily. Bottom line is you need to take the time to make yourself whole first.
Self-knowledge is a gift you give to a potential mate. So when you’re ready to attract a life partner, the process of examining past relationship patterns and lessons learned should come as a welcome exercise.
If you find yourself becoming defensive or rationalizing negative behaviors, you might consider working with a coach to help you through the process. Remember, it starts with you.
Check your inbox for Part II of this question, "Finding the Right Partner for You" coming soon.