One of the most important life decisions we make will be with whom we choose to be in a romantic relationship and life partnership. Of course, since this book is called Be Your Own Boyfriend, I want your first focus to be on making sure the life partnership you have with yourself is strong and healthy. But when all is said and done, most of us are very excited about falling in love and meeting The One.
While all relationships have valuable lessons for us, not all people we are mutually attracted to are meant to be our romantic partners. A good relationship is one where each of you lives in integrity with your own values while building up, supporting, and loving each other. A bad relationship is one where you frequently hurt each other and routinely destroy one another’s spirit. In a bad relationship, neither of you are living in integrity with your individual values. While not every relationship is going to be easygoing all the time, it definitely makes life easier to have more good relationships than bad ones.
Strangely, many women are accustomed to filtering potential boyfriends with a checklist of the physical and material qualities they want in a man (e.g., height, build, salary, level of education), but they have not concluded with the same precision what kind of emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal qualities they want in a relationship. A great guy in a bad relationship is a world of heartache for a woman in love. In addition to knowing what kind of man you want, be sure to know what kind of relationship you want.
SELF-LOVE PRINCIPLE #27
Get clear on what matters most to you in a romantic relationship. Then make sure you are living in that experience by yourself before expecting that experience with a partner.
Getting clear on what you want could drastically change the way you date, the people you date, and how long your relationships last.
As I gained clarity on what I wanted out of a relationship and a partner, I noticed that the time I spent with guys before parting ways was getting shorter and shorter. I went from a four-year on-again, oﬀ-again emotional torture match of a relationship to a year-long dysfunctional long-distance relationship. After those two relationships ended, I would typically give it a good three months before calling it quits. After my three-month phase passed, it would often be a few weeks before we said goodbye. I started to worry that I was racing through men and that this was surely a sign that I was doing something terribly wrong. My happily married friend and editor of this book, Millie, put a more positive spin to my situation. She had gone through a similar pattern in her single days, but each time she ended a relationship, she felt relieved she hadn’t spent more time with the wrong guy. “You’re just getting better at spotting what you want and what you don’t want,” she said. “You’re getting pickier, and that’s how it’s supposed to be!” Hopefully Millie is right and I’m not just a maneater. The more clear I get about what I want, the less I feel the need to cling to a man who is not right for me.
What is one way a past relationship gave you clarity to move forward?