For the most part, if your expectations are for an effortless relationship, you might be at risk for throwing in the towel at the earliest sign of any discord. Think of how many good relationships have been discarded before they matured, dismissing a life partner while searching for a soul mate.
The idea of a soul mate is romantic but also damaging because healthy relationships are developed and don’t just appear. Author Lisa Arends explains: “A fulfilling relationship occurs when both partners are open and vulnerable, creating an environment of mutual understanding, and intimacy. It takes time – often lots of time – and effort to reach this point.”
In some ways your belief in a sole mate may hold you back from achieving a healthy relationship or cause some you to postpone or abandon the option of making a commitment to a partner who is a good match for you. This can happen when you confuse chemistry with an authentic connection.
In the beginning of a relationship, we tend to present our best selves and only see the best in our partners. But that honeymoon stage always ends and disillusionment can set in. A supportive partner helps you navigate the unpredictable, ever changing aspects of life as your vulnerabilities are exposed and you disagree.
After all, there is no such thing as a perfect partner. Nonetheless, you might want to ask yourself this question: Is there something about the way that he or she treats me that makes me a bigger and better person? If the answer is no, ask yourself: Am I settling for less than I deserve in my relationship?
These are 5 good ways to give up on the idea of a sole mate:
- Work on having more realistic expectations of your partner. Afterall, we all have flaws so try to focus on his/or her good qualities and not point out their imperfections.
- Get busy working on improving your life. The more you set goals and actively engage in your own life, the more you’ll be able to be understanding of your partner’s struggles and flaws.
- Keep a gratitude journal and write a least three things you are grateful for each day, making one of them something you appreciate about your partner. Be sure to share this with them.
- Stop comparing your partner with your former partners – especially if they tend up fall short. There is a reason why your former relationship ended and so try to stay in the present.
- Do at least five positive things today to improve your communication with your partner when you are experiencing conflict. Dr. John Gottman’s winning formula is five positives for one negative interaction when you’re going though a rough patch with a partner.
Another important aspect of a healthy relationship is whether your partner is trustworthy. Do they call when they say they will and follow through on promises. It’s impossible to build trust in someone who does not keep their agreements. The cornerstone of a long-lasting relationship is trust and intimacy develops over time. If you can be vulnerable with your partner and trust that they are there for you – and have your best interests in mind – love and intimacy with blossom and endure the test of time.
Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy A Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship was published in January of 2016 by Sourcebooks.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry