Have you ever fallen madly in love? So madly in love that thoughts of your newly found love enter your mind day and night, your stomach tingles, you lose your appetite and begin to believe that you can quit your day job and somehow just live off of this freshly replenished feeling you have. It can last a few days, weeks or even months and you have realized that you absolutely must spend the rest of your life with this person? The next thing you know, whether it’s that their representative has left the building and you’re getting to know who they really are, or your rose-colored glasses have fallen off your face faster than you thought they could ever be moved, you realize this person isn’t for you and couldn’t possibly be. You begin to wonder how you could have thought so in the first place and begin down the road of questioning if you had been fully awake or conscious over the last x many days.
I see many couples who describe falling for one another in this quick and fast way, some who move in together quickly, and some who get married, some who try to bring a baby into the picture as quickly as possible in an attempt to cement these new-found feelings and relationship. And while there are times where story book romances do happen, people gaze into each others eyes and just know, unfortunately that is not the norm, and taking the time and energy to be certain before making big decisions is well worth it.
Keep your head clear by asking yourself about what you really want and who this person in front of you really is. Many people come up with a list of the qualities or traits they desire in a partner to help them do this. As a big list advocate I agree with this method as long as the items on the list are the things that are really important. I cringe when I hear a client focus on the type of car and income as their main someone should have as the most important elements they are looking for. Personal qualities like loyalty and emotional availability are more likely to make a dent in whether or not a relationship can last. But keep your eyes open to how they handle conflict, how do they disagree with you, do you ever get your way or must they always “win” when the two of you are making decisions? Do they abuse alcohol or marijuana? Can they maintain some degree of independence from you and the relationship? What do they truly value and how does it compare to what you value? Do you share many basic values or are there big differences that will likely become a problem down the road? Do you both give to one another reciprocally in the relationship or does one partner seem to give much more than the other? How do they treat their friends, family members and even strangers? These are some of the things you might want to ask yourself before and while you are falling in love.