There’s nothing wrong with seeking a romantic relationship and wanting to build a partnership with someone who makes your life better. However, it’s a fact of life that even the most independent and strong-minded of us can fall into the trap of looking to a relationship to fulfill all of our personal needs.
Sure, you can (and should!) get a lot from your significant other. However, while you can get a lot of value from a relationship, there are also a few things you should always look to cultivate within and for yourself. Remember this and you’ll not only have the security of being able to rely on yourself should you lose your partner, but you’ll become more attractive in the first place! No-one likes clingy, needy people with no sense of self. It’s far better to be looking to continually improve yourself and present this best possible version of you within your relationship.
Read on to find out what you shouldn’t expect to gain from your relationship.
The clue is in the title! Hopefully, your partner will respect and love you for who you are. However, there is no substitute for authentic self-respect. This has to come from within, and can be developed by honoring your true nature and pursuing your own goals and interests.
2. Financial stability
If you depend on someone else for your financial well-being, this takes away your personal power. Of course there may be certain points in time—if you stay at home while raising a child, for example—when your partner may be the primary breadwinner, but as a rule, you should always try to maintain your own income stream. It gives you additional power to walk away from an unsatisfying relationship and also keeps the power balance on an even keel.
You should pick a partner who believes in you, but it’s a mistake to rely on this person to stand in as a substitute for your own self-belief. Even the most loving, available partner cannot be counted on to provide you with emotional and psychological support 24/7—they have a life too!
If your partner comes complete with a great group of friends, see this as a bonus! It can be wonderful to meet other people when you start dating a new significant other. However, do not neglect your own social circle. Your friends are your friends for a good reason. You have a shared history with them, and you provide one another with mutual support. Do not overlook them in favor of the excitement that comes with a new relationship.
5. Unconditional acceptance
One of the best things about being in a solid relationship is the feeling that you can be yourself around the other person, and that they accept you despite your flaws. However, this doesn’t mean that you can expect them to agree with your every opinion and never tell you when you’re out of line. In fact, it’s a bad sign if they do, because it implies they either aren’t paying enough attention or are so insecure that they don’t dare disagree and risk losing you!
6. A substitute parent
If you had a poor relationship with one or both of your parents, make sure that you don’t unconsciously start looking for a partner to serve as substitute. Expecting your partner to provide you with unconditional love, acceptance and instructions for how to live your life is neither realistic nor healthy. You need to accept that if you didn’t receive all this from a parent whilst you were a child, the moment has passed and you cannot hope to find it in an adult partner.
So remember, while it’s fine and healthy to seek romantic companionship or even a “soulmate,” looking for one individual to fulfill your needs is not realistic. Try to maintain a balanced life in which you put time and attention not only into your relationships with others, but into your relationship with yourself.