If I only knew! Hindsight is 20/20!
I just took part in a discussion “what would we tell someone who was just coming out of college about love and relationships”. As I started writing surprisingly the words kept coming and coming. I know, what a shock! 🙂
First off I want to openly admit I did exactly the opposite of what I am about to tell you. So as a typical parent, do as I say not as I did! I married the first man I ever dated at the tender age of 18. Yes I know, what does a 18-year-old know about real love? I thought I did, we had dated for 5 years. Of course after 9 years of marriage it ended, for no other reason than we married too young. We change so much between the ages of 16-30 that we sometimes think we want one thing and then a few years later we want something else. I learned that no one should rush into marriage, especially at that age. It is helpful to date a few different types of people, experience life on your own for awhile and make sure that before you consider marrying anyone you actually like spending time with them, as well as lust after them or the idea of being married. In other words you really do want your best friend and lover and know it is for the right reason.
A good partner for a long-term relationship should have the same life goals (ex. marriage, kids, etc.) similar lifestyles, the same beliefs and values, similar activity levels and know how to communicate and be willing to work through issues that will arise. The good thing about lifes obstacles is the more you struggle through them and survive the deeper you will strengthen your bond. Just like any long term friendship it deepens the more ups and downs you share and survive. No relationship is perfect and will ever survive without considerable effort from both parties. So good communication skills, commitment, a positive attitude, empathy and realistic expectations are also important.
Chemistry is a double-edged sword, you want it, need it and thank god for it, but it can blind you temporarily. That wonderful mind-boggling physical chemistry can sparkle so bright that you may not always see the red flags early on in a relationship. Once the stars in your eyes start to dim a bit you may be surprised at who is actually standing in front of you, even though your friends and family probably saw them all along. (So if your friends or family are rambling on amount something it might not be a bad thing to at least pay attention! They aren’t physically involved so they can often those flags a little better.)
A good question to ask when considering a partner is “would you want to have a child just like this person and would you be proud of them?”
We all need to feel loved, respected and appreciated, it’s not brain surgery, but sometimes it can seem like it. Especially if we have unresolved relationship issues from our past loves or family issues. I have learned the hard way that LOVE is not all you need! But if you Love and Respect Yourself first and then your Partner, it’s a great place to start.
PS. These are some common thoughts that really are tried and true! Pick your battles and make sure they are really something worth fighting for. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Would you rather be right or happy, if it really is just small stuff. Life will throw enough big stuff your way, don’t create your own obstacles! It could just be a slight bump in the road. Way too many relationships have ended up stalled on the side of the road when they really could have enjoyed the whole trip. 🙂
Best of luck wherever life’s path takes you!