Making Smarter Choices in Love

While there is no magic formula to guarantee a “happy ever after” ending to your love story, these seven guidelines for making smarter choices can be a big help.

Avoid Rushing Into a Commitment. Have you asked a woman to move in after knowing her a few weeks? Have you ever asked where this is going and what his intentions are, sometimes on the first date? Don’t think about a permanent relationship until you have been together a minimum of one year. Spend the time required to find out what your beau is all about – the REAL man or woman, not the one you imagine them to be while wrapped up in the excitement and lust of a new relationship.
Frequent Fighting is a Red Flag. A stormy relationship full of arguments, breakups and passionate reunions is a big red flag. It’s unrealistic to expect that you will never have a disagreement with your mate. However the sign of a healthy relationship isn’t that you never fight, it’s that you resolve the conflict in a manner that is respectful. A disagreement in a healthy relationship provides a win/win resolution after discussion that is free of accusations, guilt tripping and name calling. If you have broken off your relationship more than once, you two have established a negative relationship bound to go nowhere.
Fear of Commitment. If you have postponed making your relationship permanent for a couple of years or more, look carefully at your motives. Dating someone that wants to “get married someday” does not mean that he or she wants to marry YOU! If you are the one avoiding a deeper commitment, maybe you just aren’t ready to give up your independence, or are still looking for the “perfect love with Mr./Ms. Right” while biding your time with “Mr./Ms. Right Now.” Make sure you aren’t wasting your partner’s time as well as your own.
Similarities vs. Differences. Surveys demonstrate that people have a tendency to marry those who are like them. Though some opposites-attract marriages are successful, living together without friction is easier for couples that have similar interests and attitudes. Basic compatibility tends to be social and have more to do with similarities in values, outlook and upbringing than it does age or race.
Personality Conflicts. Consider your mate’s basic personality. A person that is more of a loner, or who finds it hard to demonstrate or accept physical affection is a risky prospect for a fulfilling and emotionally warm relationship. If you truly need affection, attention and physical closeness from a partner (which most people do), make sure your partner offers that type of intimacy. If you feel that you are constantly “begging” for time and attention, you two are not compatible.
Mental/Emotional Maturity. How your mate handles frustration, disappointment and anger are critical components to the long-term success of your relationship. Controlling, aggressive, violent or overly critical people can be extremely destructive to relationships. Immaturity, jealousy, low self-esteem or lack of trust also warns of trouble down the road.
Flexibility and Willingness to Work as a Team. Willingness to adapt is one of the most important attributes to look for in a romantic partner. An uncompromising person will find it hard to meet the changes you will go through in a long-term relationship. Do not fool yourself into believing that your partner will magically change once you “get married” or “move in together.” If you find yourself hoping that he will become less moody, less stingy, less angry, less jealous, or that she will be more loving, more domestic, more sexual — you are running a big risk of being disappointed.

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