Over the 11 years I have been offering dinners and events for singles, I have noticed a gradual increase in how selective and how much is expected on who is acceptable to date or as a partner. This level of selectivity and expectation creates a smaller and smaller field to choose from.
What is most important in a partner? Some would say, find someone who is loyal, caring and treats you well. Others would say, the most important thing is to have common interests, values, lifestyle and beliefs. Which one is going to ensure that the relationship goes the long haul?
There is nothing that can trump the feeling of having a partner who loves and supports you. Someone who praises you to their friends, supports your dreams, listens to your concerns and accepts your flaws. Some people have never known this feeling from another human being. But if you are lucky enough to have experienced it, you will understand what I mean. Some say this is the ultimate relationship.
But what if this kind, loving person doesn’t want to go out and enjoy things like going on holidays, exploring new places, being sociable, a day at the beach or having a meal out? Yes, you can do them by yourself or with platonic friends. This can cause a couple to grow apart and their lives can start to go in different directions. They may be truly loving and caring, but what if their lifestyle, values and beliefs are different. It can make it difficult in the long term.
So enjoying the same activities together can be fun, but what if you are with someone who doesn’t treat you well? What if you are at a party together, but they pay more attention to others than you? What if you went to watch a show together but couldn’t connect and discuss it afterwards? What if you are out exploring new places, but there’s no conversation? Enjoying the same activities is important, but not when you are with someone who doesn’t treat you well.
There is no need to have exactly the same match in these things, but both parties will need to put work into the relationship to keep it fresh and healthy. Stephanie Dowrick wrote in Forgiveness & Other Acts of Love “love is not love except when it is generous.” Feelings can not last, but you can renew them continuously with new actions.
Taking care of each other, backing each other up, treating each other with respect and doing this work together will make a relationship last. No one is perfect so throwing each other away and looking for greener pastures and someone better is not the best answer.
Happiness–like love–is itself an attitude.
STEPHANIE DOWRICK, Choosing Happiness
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