By Eileen Edwards
Walk these 5 steps to relationship success.
“Of course I want a life partner you may be saying why else would I read this?” Our society considers it important for women to be in a relationship. There is still a perception in many quarters that a woman without a relationship is unhappy. Our friends and relatives want us to be happy and fulfilled and so encourage us to find a life partner. The media also exerts pressure on women to be part of a couple. Many women have mixed feelings about this, which often shows up in them selecting unavailable partners. This is particularly true where the woman concerned has a history of choosing unavailable men. We all have a right to choose a partner or not choose one. We also have a right to decide when we will choose our life partner. If you are enjoying life as a single and currently have no desire to find a life partner please continue to enjoy your life as a single. Only you can decide when and if to choose a life partner.
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Step 2. Define your life partner.
Whether you want a new pair of shoes, jacket, home or life partner you can’t have it until you define it. If you have any doubts about this imagine the following. You are at the Railway Station and ask for “a ticket ” “a ticket to where?” would be the response. “Somewhere nice” you might say or ” somewhere where I will be happy”. Its clear what type of response you would receive. It would be along these lines ” madam, until I know exactly where you want to go I can’t provide you with a ticket” It’s exactly the same with a life partner we have to have a clear picture of him before we can find him. “What do I mean by a clear picture?” you may be asking. You need to know what kind of man you want to share your life with and what kind of life you want the two of you to share. Your answer to those two questions will be as individual as you are. For example I am an animal lover and would not have chosen a partner who disliked or was indifferent to animals. Here are some headings to help you identify your ideal man. His looks, height, build, hair colour, eye colour etc? His personality outgoing, quiet, demonstrative, sporty whatever appeals to you? His lifestyle, what kind of work he does, home he lives in, car he drives, how he spends his spare time? Of course finding a life partner isn’t like ordering a take away pizza you may not get all that you desire. The important thing is to know on what you will and will not compromise. For example you might think “I can live with some untidiness but not a man who can’t get on with my parents” Or ” I’ll watch football every Saturday for the right man but he has to be someone who takes my opinions seriously”. It is also important to visualise your shared future, the type of life that you would live together.
Step 3. Get pro-active.
It’s only in fairy stories that the handsome prince beats a path to our door. In reality we have to make an effort to find him. This means getting out and about and being in situations where you will meet males. This may seem obvious. Many women who don’t have time to socialise due to work or domestic responsibilities have problems in finding a life partner. If you are in this situation there is a technique’ which is perfect for you. Its called “random and specific search”. Even if you have lots of time to socialise I would still recommend that you use it. Most women only look out for their ideal man when they are in social situations. In reality attractive available men are around all the time. Just like you they travel to work on the train, walk their dog, go to the supermarket, attend evening classes, take their Mother out to dinner, they may even use a unisex hairdresser. I am not suggesting that you give your home number to every attractive man you exchange a few words with in the park or supermarket. Begin by being aware that attractive available men some of whom you would certainly like to know better surround you. Situations with an ongoing element are particularly useful for example evening classes or interest groups. These will allow you to meet, talk with and observe the behaviour of potential partners in a number of situations. I’ve just described the random element of random and specific search. The specific element is fairly self-explanatory. For example my friend’s elder sister was happily married to a Greek man. She wanted to follow in her footsteps and visited Greece as often as her budget would allow, ate in Greek restaurants and learnt Greek dance.
Step 4. Qualify potential partners
When you apply to work for a company you go through a qualification process. That process normally begins with completing an application form and/or submitting your CV. If you are successful at this stage you then attend one or more interviews before being hired for a trial period. In choosing someone to do work on your home or garden you would probably ask friends and neighbours if there was someone that they could recommend. You might enquire about what trade associations your prospective gardener or builder belonged to. Or ask to see some work that they had already completed. Amazingly most women choose a potential life partner on the basis of he has a great smile, lovely blue eyes or a wicked sense of humour. In seeking a life partner you are offering and applying for the most important position possible. So it’s important to go through a qualifying process rather like that mentioned above. Not doing so means that you could waste months or even years with someone who never makes the commitment to being your partner. Dates are a little like life partner interviews although of course much more fun. Using the insights of psychology it’s simple to know quickly, within one or two dates if a particular man is life partner materiel as far as you are concerned. Top tip don’t observe how he treats you on dates but how he treats others. Any man on a date with you will be out to impress you so he will obviously be pleasant to you. If he isn’t he has immediately disqualified himself as your future life partner. Observe how he treats your waitress or taxi driver; someone who isn’t important to him and you will see his true personality.
Step 5. Overcome obstacles
These come in two forms. If he is attrcative to you he will be attractive to other women. You can’t stop this and in a way you wouldn’t want to. After all they are complimenting you on your choice. Using the insights of psychology can give a number of ways to ensure he chooses you. Space only permits me to share one tip here. It’s this- recognise his individuality. Modern society can make us feel like numbers rather than the unique individuals which we are. It’s important to let him see that to you he is a unique and very special individual. Secondly, most women reading this will probably have had some negative relationship experiences in the past. Psychologists know that our perspective is greatly influenced by our past experiences. We expect the things that happened in the past to happen again. Yet there is no logical reason why they should. Your new man isn’t the one who cheated on you in the past, never showed up on time or saw you as a source of free meals and financial handouts. So you are both starting out with a clean slate in this relationship So now you are ready to walk the five steps to relationship success. Don’t just think about it. Do it, you’ll be glad that you did.
Eileen is a psychologist with a special interest in dating and relationships. She turned her life around in this area as a young woman and now helps other women do the same. Visit her at Eileenedwards.co.uk