“Ok, we all know that we are finally waking up and in this great relationship revolution, but, how do we tell what’s the real deal or just another spiel when shopping for a long term commitment? Our hearts, and perhaps something a little lower is shouting, This is it, this is the real deal. Yippee! I have finally found my true love and soul mate. The problem is that while we are mid-air in flights of fantasy we may be missing some very human qualities that could mean the demise of our dream at some point down the road. So what is it that one should look for in a long-term mate? Perhaps the best approach is to become aware of what we don’t want.

I’ll do anything for you!

Run; don’t walk to the nearest exit. There are lots of people out there who really feel this endearing willingness constitutes love. The truth is it constitutes codependency. Anyone who is willing to give himself or herself up completely for you, will, in the not too distant future, be expecting the return of that favor. When it is not forthcoming…you can expect to hear things like, I have given you everything and what have I gotten in return? A person who is capable of loving you in a whole-souled way, loves himself or herself as well. In fact they are not able to commit to you or put you first in their lives as a partner, unless they are committed to themselves and first in their own lives…not in a selfish, but rather, a self-loving way. This kind of attraction is not about being an adult who can give love equally. It’s about a lack of maturity or an inner child who needs to be nurtured and taken care of. Ask yourself, Do I want to be a parent or a partner?

Everyone one else I’ve been with has abandoned me!

Dah! There is probably a reason. People who abandon themselves and don’t have good boundaries that are self-respecting often get abandoned because it’s simply too much of a burden to be with this kind of person. No one wants to be responsible for another’s happiness, safety or fulfillment. If you share these things great, but it’s not your job to be responsible for the quality of another person’s life.

Let me tell you about how bad my past partners were!

Put on your tennies and run again! You are next on the list for bashing and the whole world will know your every flaw. People who have integrity don’t talk about other people including past lovers. They talk about issues, principles, growth, spirituality and love. If your past partner was worth sharing your body and love with, they deserve the respect due any human being once the relationship ends. You can tell about how mature your prospective partner is by how they treat their families and their past partners. Yes, there are times when we must set good boundaries and we might decide a person is not the kind of individual we want in our lives. But we don’t run all over town airing our dirty laundry about the ugliness. We simply move on and learn from our mistakes.

I want to spend every minute with you.

This is not love. This is insecurity and control. Love takes a break, spends time with friends and comes home to share. Love wants you to grow, do the things that make you happy and does not expect 24-hour attention. Control, insecurity and the need to possess underlie this kind of behavior. When someone wants to know where you are every minute and what you are doing and with whom, you are in trouble. This is an unstable person who will make your life miserable with doubt and jealousy. No matter how much you reassure him or her, it will never be enough because it’s not your problem. It’s theirs. It’s a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. Ask yourself, How does my partner make me feel? If you feel afraid to be open, truthful, make decisions that are right for you or if you find yourself withholding information because your partner will become angry or hurt, this is not the right relationship for you. Move on.

True love is based on freedom and truth. It is never about control, coercion, ownership, possession or material gain. It’s about giving. When you want to know the truth of someone’s heart watch what they do not what they say. You can always tell what someone is really like or what they really believe by watching what happens beyond the words. Take your time. Enjoy the ride and stop rushing into anything. There is always time to discover the true nature of the person to whom you are about to give your heart. Not only can shopping for a new love be fun, but it is also a great exercise in self-love.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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