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The beginning of a new relationship is all about presentation; putting your best foot forward and displaying the best version of yourself. But within a month or two, you start to show small glimpses of your true nature, testing the waters to see if your partner is capable of accepting you for you.
After the presentation period, couples may start seeing little traits about each other that were not visible before; traits they may or may not necessarily like. It takes an additional month or two for the rose-colored lenses to completely fade so you can clearly see the character traits of the person that stands before you.
This makes the three to six month mark a critical point in a new relationship. So many relationships fall apart at this point because the honeymoon period is over, and you are being exposed to a lot of the qualities that make your partner who he or she is. This is the point where puppy love addicts and chronic daters typically jump ship. The overwhelming sensation of happiness is gone, and they are probably disappointed with the character flaws they are discovering in their partners.
Successful relationships are very difficult to create and maintain because we are all human, flawed and imperfect. This is why there are storms and clouds in all relationships, even the seemingly perfect ones. This is why even the most loving and long-lasting marriages are still susceptible to falling apart. So the key is to find someone who has the qualities that will keep you together during the storms.
If you desire to be in a successful, mature relationship that will eventually lead to a loving and long-lasting marriage, then I would like to share some tips on how you can predict whether or not your partner has the qualities necessary to help achieve this goal. If you can pinpoint any of these characteristics within the first few months of dating, you will have better insight into whether or not this relationship has the potential to go the distance.
When You Should Take It
So you are at the three to six month point of a new relationship, and you have gotten to know a little bit more about who your partner is. Now that the honeymoon is ending and you are being exposed to more of who your partner is as a person, you have to decide whether or not to continue the relationship. To help make your decision, I would encourage you to take a good look at the character traits your partner has displayed so far. And as your best girlfriend, I’d like to share the top four qualities that I believe make your partner a keeper.
If you fall in love with someone whose every thought and action is dedicated to your happiness, do not let him or her go. A selfless person will devote the rest of their lives to your positive well-being, and will protect you during the storms of your relationship. This trait, above all others, is the key to a relationship full of true love and longevity.
But here’s the kicker. If it is in your nature to be a taker without making your own sacrifices and compromises to replenish what your partner is giving you, eventually he or she will break and your relationship will fall apart. It is impossible for anyone to keep giving so much of themselves without getting anything back in return. So if you are in a relationship with someone who is selfless, make every effort to at least match your partner’s giving. There aren’t very many people in our selfish and individualistic society who are utterly and completely selfless. So if you find someone who is, hold them tight and never let go.
Special Tip: I do not believe in soulmates (stay tuned for a blog post explaining why), but there is one exception. If you are 100% percent selfless, and you fall in love with someone who is also 100% percent selfless, your relationship will be magical and perfect. To give all of yourself to the person you love the most, and to be replenished by receiving all that your partner has to give is the foundation of a relationship made of pure silver and gold.
It is a gift to have the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes and feel what they are going through. One of the most important functions of a partner is to be emotionally present and supportive, especially during the most difficult periods of life. If your partner displays compassion for others’ misfortune, and empathy for others’ pain, he or she is a keeper. Before making any decisions in a relationship, compassionate and empathetic partners will always consider your feelings first. This means that (s)he will never intentionally do anything to hurt you, and they will make it their purpose to protect your heart.
If your partner is very close with his or her family, it will speak volumes to the priorities they will have once you start your own family. Chances are your lover will want to mimic the traditions that kept his or her family close, and you can count on the fact that (s)he will never put anything ahead of you and your future children. The goal will be to make sure your children feel as loved by you two as you did by your parents. So if you find a partner that loves his or her family more than anything, there’s a good chance they will love you and your children more than anything. This is definitely a keeper!
Strong Spirituality or Faith
This is probably my top pick for most valuable trait because it can potentially encompass all the other traits that lend to the foundation of long-lasting and successful relationship. Those of us with strong faith and spirituality – not to be confused with those who are religious – live by the calling on our lives, which keeps us grounded and focused. We will not be dissuaded by society’s rules, but will stand on our beliefs no matter what. We have a seemingly impossible ability to focus on the big picture while others are freaking out over the details. Strong spirituality or faith can prevent your partner from giving up hope even when everything around them seems to be falling apart. This is an invaluable trait to have within an ever-changing world, as you can count on him or her to remain steadfast and unmovable in what they stand for.
When You Should Leave It
Based on the conversations I have had with friends about why they are unlucky in love, I have compiled a few character traits that seem to be reoccurring themes in these failed relationships. If you find that you are at a fork in the road of a new relationship, and you discover any of the following traits in your partner, I humbly suggest you cut ties and move on.
If your partner is self-centered, the focus of your relationship will never stop being about what he or she wants. The benefits of whatever attracted you together may outweigh this character flaw at first. But rest assured there will come a day when your partner’s self-centeredness (I know this probably isn’t a word) will start to suck the life out of you. And chances are your lover is only focused on what you can do for them. So as soon as you stop giving, you will get dropped like a swift round-house kick to the face. Jump ship now.
If your partner belittles, undermines, or ignores your feelings, you can look forward to your future concerns and protests falling on deaf ears. Do not count on them to be emotionally present for you when you really need a shoulder to cry on. This may eventually drive you into the arms of someone who will be there for you, so you might as well jump ship now.
Likewise, if your partner is emotionally distant, if he or she avoids deep and personal conversations like the plague, and if your relationship seems to be grounded in superficial activities (i.e. sex), then let it go. Your partner is probably unable or unwilling to make an emotional connection with your heart. Any relationship that does not anchor two hearts together will eventually fall apart. If your lover never displays any interest in letting you inside his/her heart, you’re wasting valuable time. Jump ship.
If your partner just got out of a serious relationship, whether or not they are still hurting, they are looking for anything or anyone that will numb or distract from the pain. And they have chosen YOU to do it. The end of any serious relationship requires both people to dedicate time to truly healing and moving on. Without that healing, your partner’s heart is broken, and they are counting on you to fix it. And no matter how incredible you are, you do not hold the power to heal anyone. So run, don’t walk, to the nearest plank and jump ship now.
It is important to note that it really takes years to discover everything there is to know about a person. This is why I highly recommend becoming friends first. If the pressure of creating a successful relationship is off, you both may skip the presentation period and dive right in to really getting to know each other. Within a friendship is a great place to discover a lover who has everything you need.
Some of what I have shared stems from my personal experiences, but most of it stems from heart-to-heart conversations I have had with many veterans in the war of love. When you venture out on your quest for love, don’t follow the conventional roads to get there. Take a serious look into the soul of your potential mate, and don’t be afraid to let go if you find they don’t have what it takes to keep you together ’til death do you part. And remember that true love can come from anywhere, so try to keep an open heart and an open mind. Until next time…
~Love and Happiness from your Best Girlfriend~
The “Can I Get an Amen?” Corner
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