Earlier this week, I spoke with one of my girlfriends. She’s going through a painful realization that her partner is no longer the one and feels helpless, guilty even for feeling this way after everything they’ve been through.
Let me start off by saying that wanting to be happy is not a selfish act. Staying with someone because you feel bad for them and wanting to please them at your expense is not a long-term solution. Remember that one of you will be happy -until the other is not. Make a clean break and give yourself and your [ex] partner a chance at true happiness.
If you’re unsure about a potential new partner or are feeling this way about your current relationship, I’ve written out a few things that can help you determine if you’re making the right decision. In the end, my best advice is to tell yourself the truth.
- Do we share similar values? Ensure that the person you’re with is on the same wavelength, but how do you know? Values are principles that you live by or aspire to have that ensure the quality of life acceptable to you. For instance, things like trust, compassion, integrity mean a lot to me. Make sure you know which ones matter to you.
- Do you want/like pets? – My partner knows this about me; my one true loyal friend is my dog, and I will always have a dog in my home. Are pets essential to own? Some people have gotten divorced over their pets, even left them with inheritance. #petsrule
- Do we share the same religious views? – Make sure that you’re comfortable accepting your partner’s religion. What if neither of you are religious? If they are, would that be an issue?
- Do political affiliations matter to you? – This is a crunchy topic. I’m not the best at speaking politics; I’d rather listen. Are you willing to feel comfortable around someone with opposing perspectives in terms of politics? Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but make sure that you know that.
- Do you respect me? – Have they been the first ones to ever treat you with care and admiration (respect)? Is it conditional? Do they raise their voice in a particular way that makes you feel vulnerable? If so, why do you tolerate it? Do they walk away when you’re trying to get the point across? Do they leave you on read for days on end to spite you, instead of trying to communicate with you? Have they ever gotten physical? What would you do if they did? Respect is huge. If they don’t respect you, boundaries are non-existent. Remember that.
- How important is physical attraction to you? Physical attraction can be significant. I don’t mean in the cookie-cutter sense (model thin or buff as a UFC fighter), but more of what you find beautiful. Maybe it’s the face, a smile, a particular body part. Be honest with yourself. In the past, I dated someone charming, but I found him to be quite unattractive. I thought I was doing myself a favor by not being vain, but that was silly of me. In trying to do the “right” thing, loving someone for their personality only, conforming to society’s ethical and moral standards*, I caved and did it. I gained dissatisfaction and unhappiness. All to make myself be a better person. No matter how charming he was, how well he dressed, and kind he was, I couldn’t see myself happy with him. Know yourself. If a physical attraction doesn’t matter, then your pond is a lot bigger than others’. I tip my hat off to you, sir/ma’am!
- Family: Do you like my family/ does your family like me? – Do you get along with their family? Are they judgmental or welcoming? What about your family’s opinion of them? How many children do you want? Can you see yourself with someone who has children from a previous marriage? Do you want a big or small family? Have you told them the truth about kids?
- Do you have any debt I should be aware of? How does this affect your relationship? Do they need to have millions in the bank, or willing to be with someone blue/white-collar worker? How much does this concern you?
- What does kindness mean to you? Do they snap their fingers at the waiter? Do they say thank you often? Are they happy to collaborate in the kitchen if you clean/cook? What level of kindness is acceptable/unacceptable to you?
- Where you listening to what I said?– Listening is a virtue, and that’s something you want to make sure your partner does. Do they listen to you when you’re talking about the exciting things in your day? Do they cut you off? Do they linger with their phone tied to their hands?
If any of these questions made you hesitate, it’s important to recognize them. Your partner should be the one to silence your insecurities not encourage them. Questions that represent your lifestyle and values are important to discuss. If if you are committing to a life with someone, you need to be sure that they’re willing to accept you for who you are and what you stand for.