Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What Makes Someone a Good Match?

And by good match, while I am primarily gearing this article towards romantic relationships, much of the insight within can also be applied to platonic/familial/friendship connections as well.

So, what makes two people a good match for one another?  How do we really know when someone we are having a relationship with is truly healthy for us, as well as someone with whom we are well suited?  Because, as you and I both know, plenty of us (myself included) and very, very often, have made or make the mistake of thinking someone is great for us simply because we have strong feelings for, maybe have some things in common with, and are already into the midst of a relationship with them.  So, we ignore red flags. 

We let time pass and sweep concerns under the rug, not wanting to truly have to face nor address them.  We reason away things about someone that we may not think make them the best fit for us after all.  Or, we are in denial about a persons true character (which may not be so great after all), instead, preferring to see them in the best light possible since we chose them as someone to love, so we desperately want to believe that we chose right.  That actually, this person doesn't totally suck.

However, that isn't what I am talking about here ;-).  Those who cling to the notion that the person they are with is right for them, even though much evidence, which is likely evident to their family and friends quite obviously, as well as to the person in the relationship- though they often don't want to see it, when actually that person probably isn't that great for them.  Instead, what I am talking about in this article are the people who are truly good fits for one another.

How do you know this?  As opposed to just thinking its so because you are smitten.  But what are some indicators that a person is genuinely likely a good fit for you?

While there are no hard and fast rules here, (because of course, no two people are an ideal match.  There will always be some areas of mismatch in every relationship- what's important is to find someone with whom you have not only a resonating connection but much of the criteria below as well) there are some pretty strong indicators and signs to look out for that make someone likely to be a positive match for you.  To name some key ones:

1. Openness between the two of you.  No, this does not mean you must tell your partner all and everything.  No one owes it to any one person in their life to tell them every single thing.  There are some things and bits of ourselves which we wish to keep private, or quiet for just our own.  This is normal and more than ok.  However, generally speaking, you should be able to talk about most things with your partner.  You should feel safe with them, able to reveal your heart, your fears and your passions, the mundane and the exciting, to the person with whom you are in a relationship.

2.  You generally feel joy, buoyed and happiness in their company.  Of course, everyone has bad days or tough moments.  This is human.  So your partner will not be ever positive and constantly happy.  There will be moments they might be down like all of us are on occasion too.  But the point is, the joy and happiness should significantly outweigh the "down" moments.  The majority of the time, you should come away from having spent time with/interacting with your partner, feeling good and happy.

3.  You treat each other with kindness.  This seems like a no brainer, but you might be surprised.  A lot of people do not actually treat their partners that kindly.  They might take advantage of them, say deeply hurtful/verbally abusive things to their partner, put them down, lie to them or dismiss them, the list of mistreatment goes on.  This is not someone who is a good partner.  And actually, to take it a step further, that isn't even love. 
People who are good together treat each other with warmth and caring.

4.  You trust each other.  Again, seems like a no brainer.  But then you hear about these couples where one of them just takes it upon themselves to routinely snoop through their partners phone.  Or, they get into their partners emails and take a look through.  Or, they constantly question their partners whereabouts in depth and with suspicion.  The list goes on.  This is not a healthy relationship.  A healthy one is built on trusting one another.  That doesn't mean never having moments of fear, anxiety or doubt.  Sure, these can flare up from time to time, even in the most confident and trusting of us.  But the key is in how you handle it.  Approaching your partner calmly and respectfully about your worries.  Big picture though, you should generally trust your partner.  If you have loads of doubts, it might not be the best fit, or, you yourself might have trust issues that need to be addressed and worked through.

5.  You are intimate.  While this does refer to sex, it isn't just about sex.  Intimacy occurs in and out of bed.  Sex is an important part of close intimate romantic relationships, but its not the only important part.  And though sex is connected with, its different than intimacy.  Intimacy is less about physical affection and more about emotional bonding, emotional closeness, familiarity and friendship.  In great relationships, you feel connected both in and out of bed.

6.  You let things go.  Your partner will annoy you sometimes.  And you will also annoy them.  This is par for the course in all close relationships.  You might say or do something inadvertently to offend or irritate one another.  You will say things you don't mean.  You will have moments of behaving inconsiderately.  This occurs within any close relationship.  Its part of being human.  Even with our best intentions in mind, we make mistake.  The key is in how you deal with it.  If its a little thing, maybe just let it go without a word.  If its something that is truly bothersome, speak up, mention it and vocalize your upset, but then let it go and move on.  Holding onto anger and petty annoyances, as well as ruminating on the difficult traits about your partner will only serve in adding tension and resentment to your relationship.  Yes, be open with one another when something they have done upsets you, but then let it go.  And focus more so on all that you love, admire and are in awe of about your love.  If you are coming to find it hard seeing things you love, respect and admire about your partner, it might be a strong sign the relationship isn't such a healthy one, nor a good fit, any longer.

7.  They inspire you.  There should be aspects of your partner that you look up to, think are awesome, feel inspired and potentially even awed by.  This also goes for friendships generally too.  Part of why we choose to be with someone, both romantically and platonically, is because they have pieces of them which draw us to them, which we find awesome, invigorating, interesting and motivating.  Choose people who add to and inspire your own life.  This will add layers of richness, new ways of thinking and potentially even additional discoveries and experiences to your life.

8.  To piggyback on #7, they bring out your best self.  This also goes for friendships and family connections.  If you find shitty parts of yourself coming out often around a certain person...such as, maybe you drink more than you prefer to every time you hang out with this particular person, or with one person you find yourself complaining all the time, or with another person, you feel gossipy and cruel whenever in their company, these are not good energies to be spending time around.  These are not people who will uplift you, who will bring our your best self, and who will inspire your life in awesome, positive ways.  Don't waste time with them.  Your partner (and friends) should inspire and make you feel like the best version of you.

9.  Your stomach flip flops with them.  Hear me out on this one.  And yes, this is more relegated to romantic connections.  This is a feeling that, as the years go by with your partner, tends towards dying down a bit.  Not necessarily extinguishing entirely (I have heard of couples, real ones, who are still actually smitten with one another well into old age, and who do still feel quite in love one another.  So this feeling absolutely can last.  A huge part of that comes down to you).  But, if you aren't a smitten kitten from the start with your partner, this can make things much harder down the road when you do go through more challenging times, not to have that sort of "positive currency" and passion for one another stored away, if you will.  If someone makes your heart flip flop, then, when there are tough times between you two, this is something you can remember...revisit...potentially fall back on to help you get through it.  Don't get me wrong, this isn't the #1 priority you should be looking for in a mate.  There are many other extremely important ones.  But, this one is more important than you might think.

10.  You play and have fun together.  People who laugh together, play, are silly and can be fun with one another, first of all, laughter actually bonds people and makes them feel closer to one another, and second of all, those who play together are more likely to stay together.  This goes for both friends, family and romances.

11.  This seems obvious, but again, a lot of people do not choose a partner who does this.  Be with someone who treats you really well.  Someone who is kind to you.  Thoughtful and considerate.  Who goes out of their way for you.  Who speaks to you with love and respect.  Someone who is willing to challenge themselves for you (as you should for them too).  Someone who inspires you and moves you.  Be with someone who excites you and makes you want to be your best self.

There is one caveat with this one (#11 just above).  Yes, sometimes really great people make grave mistakes and can really fuck up.  So, someone you love deeply may at some point do something that hurts you immensely.  In fact, there is a decent chance of it happening.  This is part of what happens in many, even most, close human relationships.  But the key here is this: look at this person over the big picture.  With regards to the entirety of your relationship with them, have they treated you great?  If the answer is yes, then one major misstep does not necessarily mean this person is outright crappy for you.  This is more something to weigh, with regards to who they have been to you over the big picture, as a whole.

Now, some general red flags to watch out for (in all relationships, romantic, friends and family): someone who says really shitty, nasty things to you.  Someone who lies.  Someone who dismisses you.  Someone who manipulates you.  Someone who attempts to make you choose between them and other people you love.  Someone who has very bad boundaries.  Someone who has addictions to drugs or alcohol.  Someone who takes advantage of you.  Someone who does not respect the boundaries you try to lay down with them, but instead bulldozes over them.  Just to name a few big ones, though there are of course more.  And again, these can apply to both romantic partners, friends, as well as family members.

There are of course, other important and great traits to look out for in partners.  Including, someone who is non judgemental, who is open to different ideas, ways of thinking, opinions, etc, even if they themselves don't agree with it, they are open to both hearing about and even considering such.  Also, when you are in an established partnership with someone, not making jump big decisions without considering and at least talking with one another first.  This is part of being a team, as well as being considerate of and wanting to remain close with your partner.  And its a major part of building a life with someone, talking with them about big decisions prior, as a means of navigating through life with them by your side.  I would add in certain traits here that make for great partners likely include someone who is generous, and thoughtful.  

Life is incredibly short to surround yourself with crappy people, those who are unhealthy, toxic or bring you down.  What a waste, of energy and time spent when its with not good people.  Sometimes, letting certain people go is incredibly hard.  In fact, it can be one of the hardest things you ever do.  But, in letting the wrong/unhealthy people go, weights will be lifted off your chest and life over the long term.  And this makes room for the healthy/positive/good people to be able to come into it.  Its one of the best things you can do for yourself.  One of the hardest, but without question, one of the most rewarding.  Being incredibly careful about whom you let into your life and to whom you choose to be close.  And choosing only those who enrich, add joy, inspiration, respect and awesomeness to your life.

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