On Love 

Take Your Time To Find A Partner You Can Really Grow With

So many clients have come to me with relationship challenges.  This has led me to think a lot about what makes for healthy and enduring relationships, and what might also make for enduring but unhealthy ones.

I remember working with a client who told me she had just ended a very long and painful relationship.   She believed that she had found “the one,” this very special person who met all of her needs, understood her deepest desires, and fully shared her life goals.  She shared that being with this person was like looking into a magic mirror.  The mirror had shown her that while she and her partner looked different on the outside, on the inside they were identical.

And then it was suddenly over.

Mending A Broken Heart

The end of an important relationship can be so painful.  I wanted to understand the relationship history more deeply.  “How long were you together,” I asked?  “Thirteen days,” she replied earnestly. 

I remember feeling stunned though I shouldn’t have been.  My client was fifteen years old and in love for the first time. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where about the same age when they killed themselves for love.

What Went Wrong?

How does this happen?  How can we be so wrong about another person?  How do so many people find themselves in destructive, disappointing or hurtful relationships?  Why is it so hard to see that we are making the same dating and relationship mistakes over and over again.  Most importantly, how do we fix this? 

                                             (illustration)

Take Your Time

Please take your time when deciding whom to love.  It’s one of the most important decisions you will ever make.   Romeo and Juliet fell in love almost instantly and were in “happily-ever-after”  mode way too fast.  It didn’t end well.

Take time to get to know yourself first before you really try to know someone else.  Then take time for the real person in front of you to slowly shine through your “perfect” projection. 

Take time to figure out if you have enough shared values on which to build a lifetime together.  Take time to notice if you really enjoy being together.  Take your time to see whether you are able to resolve conflict in ways that respect both of your needs.  Take time to see if this person challenges you in ways that help you grow without feeling criticized.  Take time to see if they let you challenge and encourage them in ways that help them grow.  And take your time to find a partner whose words are consistent with their actions.

Good relationships make all the difference.  Please take your time to find the one who is right for you.

About

Dr. Andrew RIchlin, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Andrew Richlin writes for Teens, 
Young Adults and Parents on the challenges and opportunities in relationships… etc. and for parents and adults 

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