Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Choosing a life partner. The does and don’ts

When I see couples in my practice I invariably ask them what attracted them to each other initially. Sometimes I get some surprising answers!

What initially attracted you to your significant other? Looking back, do you feel that your first impressions were accurate and did they predict a long and happy partnership?

It has been said that often we chose partners for the qualities we later find extremely problematic and sometimes these become the reason for the eventual demise of the relationship!

Why is this?

We all change as we grow older, to a greater or lesser degree. We also need to adapt to the changes in our partner too. If this doesn’t happen, the relationship starts to suffer.

For example, if someone chooses a partner because they are assertive and decisive, this might become a problem later in life when the partner becomes more assertive and then starts to resent his/her spouse for being domineering.

Perhaps, therefore, whilst usually opting to “follow our heart” when it comes to choosing a life partner, we should also analyze more critically a prospective partner’s qualities, values and goals in life in terms of whether or not they are and will be a match for our own, both now and in the future.

The publication Psychology Today recently posted an article on this topic entitled “What to seek in a long-term partner”, citing accessibility, responsiveness and engagement as core qualities.

What would you view as essential characteristics in a prospective partner?

If you have been in a relationship for quite some time, did the qualities you initially found attractive actually stand the test of time?


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