“You’ll know it when I’m angry,” he said matter of factly.
It was our first date. Charming!
“Will you forgive me if I cheat on you?”
That was during the second date.
He alerted me that two of my "bottom line" needs were probably not going to match his. Someone who can control and manage his anger and wouldn't cheat.
He had a temper tantrum a few days later because I replied to his text too late, and I dared to asked a question about our date that night.
These were only two of many enormous red flags that slapped me in the face each time we met or talked.
Overall his actions words and behaviour gave me the feeling that he wasn't a "safe" person to invest more time in.
This came from a man in his 40’s who on the surface level seemed to have the right profile. Successful, educated, ambitious, well presented, and said he was looking for a serious relationship.
I was tuned in and moved on quickly.
It was a reminder to me and to all smart selective relationship minded singles to never compromise on, or accept low-quality behaviour from your date.
Avoid prolonging the "let's wait and see more " if you've already seen a pattern of the same low-quality behaviour over a few dates which don't match with your bottom line standards.
Move on swiftly without explaining it away as just their sense of humour; a bad day, or worse still believing it's you. It's never about you!
The substance of a person beneath the surface always counts more. Pay attention.
Being super attractive, and in good shape is never enough if someone is unkind, rude and immature; And career success and education are never enough if someone’s arrogant and condescending, and plays games.
WHEN DO YOU KNOW IF SOMEONE GOOD IS "GOOD ENOUGH"?
There is no one perfect partner and no perfect relationship. Only one that is a great fit for you.
As a smart, selective commitment-minded single woman or man, hoping to meet a great partner; your strategy will involve taking the time to think carefully about your non- negotiable needs such as your values, principals, morals, relationship goals.
Your Needs are your bottom line- can't be with someone unless these are met. This list should have no more than five or six vitals, which shouldn't be compromised. If these aren't met you'll be settling, and you should never settle. These define your standards for a partner and relationship.
Your Wants or preferences should be flexible, things like; looks, interests, education, intelligence, style, body shape. A person shouldn't be defined by these, and happy relationships don't survive on these "preferences" alone
It's great to have an intelligent, successful, great looking partner (your wants) but if they aren't faithful, honest, don't make you feel secure, and can't communicate maturely (good bottom line needs) your relationship will not be happy.
Focussing just on "ideals" without being laser focussed on your bottom line needs, can make the process of attracting and keeping the perfect partner for you frustrating, disappointing and a long one.
FIVE IMPORTANT THINGS TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR DATE BEFORE INVESTING YOUR HEART AND EMOTIONS.
While you’re getting to know a potential future long term partner; these 5 IMPORTANT and often overlooked qualities and traits reveal more depth and substance to the person you're dating.
If these 5 things don’t make you feel safe or impress you; then their looks, education, and even values really don’t count at all.
1) EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY
Have they shown you that you can trust they will be there for you; are they supportive and available when you need them?
A red flag is if they bounce back and forward inconsistently with hot and cold treatment creating confusion.
Do they acknowledge and respect your feelings, without belittling them; can you share opinions freely, without judgment; And are they accepted and respected, even if you don't agree on things.
Are they present? Do they focus without distractions, looking bored or ready to interrupt and needing to control the conversation, and talk about themselves? Do they start advising you on what you should do, or what they would do that's better?
2) WHAT DID THEY LEARN FROM PAST RELATIONSHIPS
The way a person talks about their ex and what they learned from past relationships shows their level of maturity.
Is it negative talk with blame towards the ex and high drama or are they reflective, respectful, and accepting?
There are two sides to every break-up. Stay a little objective.
If your date tells you their past relationship was a nightmare and their ex is a "psycho" for example; be cautious about that until you get to know them better first. A few weeks down the line you may appreciate why their ex-left and will want to do the same.
Can they tell you directly what they learned from their past relationship and how they have grown as a result of it, if at all?
Red flags to look out for are: they don't take accountability at all; have learned nothing; and have a history of repeating negative relationship patterns, like having many short relationships which ended because they thought their partner changed or found petty things which irritated them. Did their ex's leave them and why?
DON'T ASSUME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT WITH YOU- BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT LIKE THEIR EX.
It might be, it might not be. Just don't assume anything, until you've have seen your date in a number of different interactions and situations over time.
3) HOW DO THEY REACT WHEN THEY’RE ANGRY
In the romantic, getting to know you dating stage, we don’t consider what kind of person they are when they’re angry, upset and when things don’t go their way.
I don’t suggest provoking in a game playing way, but tune in to how they react when plans change, or you say "no" to something. Be mindful that until you’ve seen this side of a person, you haven’t really seen them.
Do they shout; are they aggressive, do they shut down?
Are they accountable and apologise?
Getting upset is human, but how it's projected and managed makes all the difference between a mature, stable person who is in the adult phase of emotional maturity and a grown up child.
How will they react when you argue and have challenges, and how will you resolve them.
4) THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
We know that not everyone has the perfect family. If it isn’t good, how do they feel about it and does it negatively affect other areas of their life; or do they have a healthy accepting attitude about it.
Understanding your dates childhood and family relationships makes you aware and sensitive to their life experiences, and what has shaped them.
Relationship Counselor Bob Grant has a thoughtful perspective;
"One thing people look for in relationships is to heal childhood wounds".
Someone who is self-aware and has done the work on themselves will approach their relationship with more wisdom, insight and empathy.
They will be consciously making smarter choices for themselves to achieve a happy and healthy relationship.
The book "Attached"by Rachel S Heller and Amir Levine is a great resource about the main attachment styles people have; secure/ avoidant/ anxious-needy/ anxious- avoidant, and how they influence our partner selection and relationships)
Great relationships are based on the foundation of friendship. Does the person you're dating have the qualities to be your close and trusted friend?
How about their friends; what role do they play in their friends lives; how loyal, trustworthy and close are those friendships; how do they talk about them? How do their friends influence them?
5) YOUR DIFFERENCES
People often want a partner who shares the same passions experiences, interests or are similar to them in some way.
They unconsciously look for a version of themselves and fear too many differences. It's a safe and limited approach to dating.
Someone with different personality traits, interests, habits and strengths to you can be an exciting dynamic.
As a team, you can learn from each other and bring out the best in other in good times and challenging times.
Those differences can be stimulating, as long as you can accept them, without believing you can change someone later.
You can NEVER change someone or should want to.
People will only be inspired by love to change, adjust and make compromises about some things. It needs skilful, respectful communication and understanding.
Red flags to look out for are: if the person you are dating makes subtle or direct suggestions about aspects of your personality or appearance you need to change, or comments on things they like in others that are different to you. These are controlling, insecure behaviours or ignorance.
It's a common issue, which is naturally taken personally and can slowly erode someone's self-esteem especially if they lack confidence in themselves. There is always room for improvement in everyone, there is no perfect person. But you shouldn't be made to feel "not good enough" by the person you're dating.
In this case, ask yourself what would you advise a friend who is experiencing this to do; and remember your own bottom line needs.
If you need a partner who values, respects and appreciates you; and you're not feeling this, then your time and energy are being wasted on the wrong person, and you need to move on.
Deep lasting, happy, genuine connections aren't instant, and people are imperfect.
Finding the perfect partner for you involves more than a checklist of "ideal" qualities.
It's also about knowing someone's imperfections and issues, which all humans have. Then deciding if you can be with them anyway. Can you accept the mostly great attributes of that person, as well as the bad parts, without compromising your own bottom line needs.
Take the time to observe, listen, and really learn about your date before taking that important step to invest your heart, time and energy
You will know the difference between the "one" and "not the one" when you tune into your dates overall energy, actions, behaviours and attitude over a period of time.
When your bottom-line, non-negotiable needs match, and there is an effortlessly high level of mutual attraction, emotional connection, and chemistry despite knowing your dates flaws and weaknesses; that's someone worthwhile investing more time and energy in.
Stay smart, positive, proactive, FEARLESS, and take it slow
Love Maria x
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