The young women of today are living in what I’d like to call “The Dating Revolution.” They’re learning to raise their standards in what they want from a romantic partner and consequential long-term relationship, and they’re learning how to quickly recognize when a relationship is worth their time or when it’s time to find someone else. In today’s day and age, young women are not standing for nonsense; they’re demanding what they want. Thanks to the popular advice given by celebrities Steve Harvey and Oprah Winfrey, they understand why previous relationships didn’t last, and what to expect in future relationships. However, that doesn’t mean heartbreaks are a thing of the past.
Why People Choose the Wrong Partner
According to Swiss philosopher and founder of School of Life Alain de Boton, men and women search for dating partners who are familiar to them, rather than who they really need. If a guy is loyal, patient and kind, but a girl’s parents are emotionally abusive, she might, unfortunately, find him unattractive and unworthy of her time, because she is not accustomed to that kind of person. Boton explains in “How to Choose a Partner Wisely,” that what attracts men to women, and vice versa, are the qualities they know to be within their own parents.
In addition to raising your standards when looking for a romantic partner, as many women are realizing they must do to find “the one,” this particular note is useful. Boton states that in order to more skillfully choose the right partner, you need to figure out the type of partner you seek by listing the qualities you find attractive versus those you find unattractive. Being aware of who you are and the qualities you seek will aid in finding the most suitable person and healthy relationship.
I personally was unaware of the factors that go into my choice of who I’d like to have a relationship with. Some guys—though very caring—were boring, while others acted harsh, but I still adored their gentler side. So making a list of the appealing versus unappealing qualities of my own potential partner gave greater insight as to why I usually broke up with the nice guys and tried to make it work with the mean ones.
I’d also heard that women go for the romantic qualities missing in their own fathers. This means if a father is constantly unfaithful to his wife, for instance, causing her much distress in their marriage, their daughter may search for a man who is more loving and loyal. In my past experiences, this has proven to be true, and it’s important; being aware of the characteristics you seek in a relationship, and how it’s a result of your father’s attitude in a romantic relationship, helps decide whether those characteristics are worth seeking or compromising on.
However, numerous sources, as well Boton’s The School of Life videos, warn against always wanting to be in a relationship, arguing that you can’t be happy with someone else unless you’re happy by yourself. And it makes sense: Two people can’t be happy together if they’re already perpetually unhappy by themselves. Why should a romance change that? Madison Moore, author of “You Should Enjoy Being Single Before You Get Into a Relationship,” puts it best. She says “you don’t love yourself enough to be alone,” if you constantly feel the need to be with someone. “It means you’re afraid to be alone. It might even mean that you don’t really, truly love yourself.”
I am all about loving myself before loving anyone else. Like many other women, I have had my fair share of disappointments when a relationship didn’t work out. From high school to college, I’d spend hours crying and eating ice cream, complaining to friends over the phone and deliberating on why me and my significant other couldn’t be together regardless of the reason. It took some time before I finally learned to recognize my own self worth both when entering a new relationship and when I was in an unhappy one. Now, instead of trying to make someone something they’re not, or waiting for a situation to suddenly change, I accept that the person isn’t for me and move on, because as Moore goes on to say, “We shouldn’t put our entire self-confidence and self-worth in the hands of other people, because loving yourself is the hardest kind of love there is.”
Yet, it’s not just about knowing when to let go. Being happily single involves taking care of yourself in other ways too. Actively pursuing your own goals, spending time with friends and family and regularly practicing the hobbies you enjoy all make up who you are, and therefore contribute to a healthy and successful romantic relationship. Jennifer Kind, author at Meet Mindful offers “8 Tips to Feeling Happily Single While You’re Single,” an article which further discusses how to know who you are and find bliss when not committed to anyone. She begins by advising single people to accept their current relationship status, then moves on to falling in love with yourself and finally considering being in a relationship when the time is right. To Kind, being single is a wonderful learning experience despite the emphasis our culture places on being in a relationship. It is also the prerequisite to being in a happy and loving relationship.
Once you’ve learned to be happily single, you should know what to look for in a guy, and remember to let the relationship go if it’s making you unhappy. Guys who have good relationships with their mothers, and are pursuing their own career goals, usually know how to treat a girl with respect, love and kindness, as well as give her appropriate space. In addition, being mindful of the guy’s emotional needs (because yes, they’re there), and avoiding asking for anything at the onset of the relationship, as this can be quite unladylike if not on that level yet, enable his greater appreciation for you and contribute to a more valuable relationship.