Larry Alan Nadig, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologsit, Marriage & Family Therapist

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by Larry Nadig,
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Last updated:
July 19, 2010

  

Selecting a Mate

If you and your partner are a good match, it can be easy to have a long-term fulfilling, relationship. If you are a bad match it can be impossible.  

Basic Considerations  

Deciding on whom and when to marry and committing yourself to a primary relationship are significant life decisions with long-term consequences, and should not be taken lightly or made quickly or without sufficient data and careful consideration. You should not be guided by your feelings and emotions in making these decisions because they are too misleading and narrowly focused. By all means consider your feelings, but be guided by your judgment. 

In order to have a long-term, fulfilling marital relationship you must be considerate, respectful and true to your spouse and to yourself. Most people understand that how they treat their partner is important, but do not realize that how they treat themselves is equally important. It might be even more important.

Be direct, honest and respectful to the other person and yourself. If you donít treat your partner right, you will be paving a path that leads to problems and resentment. Donít let bother, upset, disappointment and little problems fester and turn into resentment or depression in you. Be respectful of yourself and let your partner know what is important to you. If you avoid conflict you cannot have a long-term, fulfilling relationship.

Pick and Choose

It is your life and you are responsible for it. Be clear with yourself about what kind of life you ideally want based upon your needs and values and be active in trying to achieve it. Also know what personality characteristics and values you want your partner to have. Be clear with yourself about your minimum requirements or what and how much of your ideal you can do without and still be satisfied. Make sure you are clear and realistic about this and then never settle on something that is less than your minimum requirements

These are the standards that you should use when considering someone as a potential mate. See how he/she fits into what you want. If your best judgment leads you to believe that living with that person on a daily basis will allow you to have the kind of life you want, then it is probably worth getting to know the person better. If there is something about the person that would likely lead you to a life that is below your bottom line, move on and donít put any more time in the relationship. It is not wise to spend a lot of time with someone unsuitable until the right person comes along. You risk developing an emotional bond with that person which may make it very difficult for you to end the relationship. Besides itís not fair or respectful to that person.

It takes a long time to really get to know a person. Donít be misled by what you see in the beginning. When a relationship is new, people tend to be on their best behavior. A person may be quite different after the relationship is established and has become ordinary and routine.

Donít make a long-term commitment during the first phase of the relationship. It is all right to commit yourself to spending more time with the person, or to agree to be exclusive with the person while you are developing the relationship and getting to know each other better. Donít, however, commit yourself to the person until after the first phase of the relationship has passed and you are each seeing each other more clearly.

You should also delay committing yourself to the person until after you have had a fight or two so that you get an idea of how each of you will act and react when angry and in conflict.

If you are just nice, accommodating and agreeable with your partner, always going along with what your partner wants, never disagreeing or requiring your partner to accommodate you, you will unintentionally teach that person that your needs and wants donít matter. You will help the person learn not to be sensitive or respectful to you. Disappointments, hurts, frustrations, irritations and anger will fester inside of you and eventually poison you to the relationship.

Your potential partner needs to get to know you, so be visible, open and honest yourself from the beginning. If you start a relationship hiding and pretending, you canít really trust and fully enjoy the relationship. You will be haunted by the fear that the person may not like or accept you if he/she discovers what you are really like and you will be insecure in the relationship. If you are open, honest and visible about who and how you are, some people will like you and some will not. But the feelings toward you and acceptance of you by those who do like you will be solid and real.

Suggested Similarities for Smoother Relationships

Highly important core beliefs and values regarding ethics, morals, religion, spiritual, cultural and political issues.
Contents and style of life. Desire and need for affection and togetherness. Parenting and discipline. Standards of cleanliness and order. Beliefs regarding division of labor and responsibilities.
Level of need and desire for social activities, amount of involvement with others, types of activities and frequency.

Pitfalls to Avoid:

Denying or disregarding information you already have about the person that is an indication of a dysfunction or problem.
Focusing only on the positive. Not wanting to know about the weaknesses, limitations and bad habits. You need to see the person clearly, the good and the bad.
Deciding the person is right for you when you are madly in love or are still in the first phase of the relationship. When you fall madly in love, enjoy the feelings, but be careful. You will be in a wonderful "drugged state" and easily misled by your feelings, so donít make any significant decisions. Let the wonderfulness settle down before reaching any conclusions about the person and your relationship.
Disregarding your feelings. If you donít feel good around the person, are afraid to be yourself, or canít talk about certain topics or sensitive issues, then move on and keep looking. Donít pick someone as your significant other if you donít trust or feel fully accepted by the person, or if you donít feel secure and safe with the person.
Picking someone who needs changing. Thinking you can teach and guide the person, or love the person enough to overcome their shortcoming.
Picking someone who needs you. Pick a person who loves you and wants to be with you, not someone who needs you. The person may not want you in the future after the need is met.
Getting in a relationship when you are needy, or are on the rebound and havenít finished grieving the loss of another love.
Just being nice and accommodating, always trying to make the person happy, never doing anything that might upset the person, or trying too hard to get the person to like you. The relationship has to work for both of you, and you both have to share the responsibility for making it work.

You can increase the probability that you will find the right partner if you are friendly and socially active. You will decrease the probability if you don't talk to people or isolate yourself.

Donít make finding a partner your primary goal. Your own well-being should be your primary goal. Donít go to activities just to meet someone. Primarily go to events and activities that you have a genuine interest in or are curious about. Since you are also interested in meeting someone, chose the events that will also likely attract the kind of person you want to meet.

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Contents: .
Home 

How to Express

Difficult Feelings 

Tips on Listening 

Conflict: Healthy

or Unhealthy

Stress: Health &
Relationship Killer

Selecting a Mate

Weight Control

Holiday Blues

How to Get the Most From Therapy 

Psychological Tests

About Dr. Nadig

Treatment Philosophy

Professional Services and Fees