Congratulations! You have just made a major decision. A buying decision. That's right. When you think about it, choosing to relate to someone new is really just an- other buying decision. People make buying decisions regularly: A new home, car, parakeet; a change in diet, shampoo, personal exercise regimen. Curiously, most people devote more time and energy planning, comparing, researching-- then making-- tangible purchases than they do selecting a mate! Instead of putting their best foot forward as when purchasing new shoes, many indivi- duals approach their choice of partners with both feet firmly planted in mid-air!
Let's face it, when it comes to being lovers, people often think with the wrong...criteria. Under the circumstances, choosing a mate often becomes a game of "relationship roulette." Like impulse buying-- a selection process during which "judgement" is on vacation-- people often decide that they need to decide again, once their feet hit the ground. The flavor has run out and it's time for a change. However, if you are tired of changing-- if you want the flavor in this stick to stick, you need to sink your teeth into some thing new. People often ask, "Where did we go wrong?" Typically, a poor selection begins at the beginning. Did you ever buy a pair of shoes that initially felt uncomfortable, then convince your- self that you will "break them in?" Several blisters later, they end up becoming gardening shoes...or a toy for the dog, right? Now consider a relationship that failed to stick. What attracted you? What discomforts did you ignore, believing you would "adjust?"
In order the make better choices, you need more information, more criteria. You need to put your best foot forward. 1) Find out about the person behind those starry eyes. People in the midst of romantic exchanges, often fail to uncover enough information. Romance is supposed to be about long, sighing glances and flowing juices-- not cross-examinations. But for a relationship to fit, it must be comfortable. And "comfort", is a kind of understanding. During the course of an evening or two, casually discuss each other's family background-- how family members relate, their aspirations, values. Explore past love relationships and how they changed; and attitudes about loving, committing to and communicating with a potential loved one. Exchange personal and professional goals. In contrast, a date does not have to be a job interview. It does not have to appear like you are trying out for the posi- tion of "girlfriend." But important information can be gleaned through the use of emotional energies that are empathic, consoling.
2) Regarding potential problems, be rational-- don't "rationalize!" Many times, a person is so thrilled to be relating to another in that special way that a serious problem is over- looked or minimized. "She's always at least an hour late for our dates-- but after all, she's a professional with alot of responsibilities." "He's not really an alcoholic. He only drinks at home-- and even then, it's just wine." Better take inventory! Create an internal experience of your ideal relationship. Create a movie as it progresses from it's inception. How does it appear? Sound? Feel? Now look at past relationships. What events occurred? Any warning signs you overlooked? What were the consequences to the relation- ship? Can you see yourself going through it again? Or can you imagine usefully attending to the things you previously ignored? 3) Avoid making premature compromises. Selecting a mate with feet in mid-air may lead to altering your behavior or denying moral convictions in order to please the other person. Drink- ing more, avoiding friends or relatives, even sexual behavior that you otherwise would consider inappropriate may be compro- mises that can render you lost in lust. Better, enter a new relationship with your feet firmly on the ground. Lead with your own values, interests and loyalties.