Post by Susan P. on Nov 9, 2007 16:50:43 GMT -8
LAA Dating Plan
Many people search for love and end up with the wrong person. This is because they fall in love and bond before they know what they are getting. LAA has prepared a list of characteristics that a person should have in their relationship before they become serious. Carry it around for you and check what you have against what you need to have a successful relationship.
The most important thing is availability. Your partner should be willing to move if you are long distance and they must also be available emotionally and spiritually. No avoidants or ambivalent people. One of our members found a woman with everything on tnis list and after he was in love and ready to move forward he discovered that she was not willing to relocate and neither was he. They lived in different countries. So many of the important things on this list should come up fairly early. If you want to date then go slow. If you want to end up married with children then you must find out if this is an option before you fall in love. Availability is EVERYTHING.
LAA Dating Plan
What to Look for in a Healthy Relationship . . .
1. Honesty that engenders trust.
2. Readiness for a relationship (both partners).
3. The willingness to negotiate or compromise.
4. Self-awareness—this means both partners knowing who they are and what they want.
5. Self-esteem—this means both partners feeling good about themselves.
6. Communication skills.
- Asking for what you want, but not being addicted to getting it.
- Fighting fair. (This means expressing your opinion without attacking the other person.)
- Reporting your feelings.
- Saying what you mean (not beating around the bush).
- Listening, as well as talking.
7. Sexual compatibility. This means similar values and preferences.
8. There should be a recognition of the fact that there are 4 people in the relationship—2 adults and 2 children (1 inner child per adult).
- That childhood wounds will probably be triggered and sensitivity strategies must be created.
- That rituals from your family of origin must be re-negotiated and new rituals created as a couple.
- And, finally, that the wounded inner child must be kept in check. (In other words, love your inner child, but don't give him or her the keys to the car.)
9. Similar (but not necessarily identical) values about such issues as money, religion, monogamy, and parenting. This avoids needless conflict. Still, you don't have to agree about everything—just what's important to you.
10. Patience and tolerance, but you should never tolerate abuse.
11. It is important to accept the fact that there will be days when the relationship seems very ordinary or even boring. Many people tend to have an “all or nothing” mentality. They either want a relationship to be exciting all the time, or they live with unbearable pain rather than move on. Healthy relationships are sometimes lukewarm.
12. The willingness to substitute “influencing” for “controlling.”
- Saying something once and then letting it go.
- It also means being a role-model instead of nagging someone to change.
13. The willingness to keep your personality boundaries (even when you feel like losing yourself in the other person). This is how we maintain our self-esteem.
14. Devotion. How can an intimate relationship feel good if we aren't special to each other.
15. Quality time together. At the same time, you want to set aside time for personal interests. Look for balance.
16. Knowing when to stay and when to leave. This means staying when things are going well (and you feel like running), and being willing to let go of the relationship if it is unhealthy.
17. It is also important to have compatibility and “ease” in a relationship. At the same time it must be understood that no relationship is perfect. (Compatibility comes from being alike or from having a high tolerance for your partner's differences.)
18. The willingness to face your problems (without over-reacting).
19. Respect and admiration, but there should also be an understanding that your partner will not always look good to you.
20. Reciprocity (give and take), but you should also be willing to make sacrifices now and then.
21. Realistic expectations about how much of your happiness should come from the relationship—not too much and not too little.
[/font][/div]Before you get started develop a fulfilling relationship with yourself before you attempt to have a romantic relationship. Romantic feelings can be like a tidal wave sweeping you out to sea if you are not securely tied to a relationship with yourself. Many of you may want to be swept out to sea, but this is not really healthy; and sometimes it is even dangerous.
- Take your time;
- Do everything you can to keep from being blinded by your emotions;
- Know what you don't want (people who trigger your dysfunctional behavior);
- Look for someone healthy, and observe them objectively before you plunge in;
- Look for someone who does not have to change very much too please you; but don't be too picky. Find the middle ground.
- Know what you do want. Make a list of the things that are mandatory and the things that are optional. Prioritize your list.
- This is when you find out what this person is really like ─ any false fronts should crumble after a few dates;
Be yourself ─ you want someone to know who you really are;
- Measure your compatibility during this time;
- Establish trust;
- Hold off on sex if it blinds you to what this person is really like, and keep a lid on any budding romantic feelings (you may feel them, but don't give them a lot of power by fantasizing too much);
- Be willing to change your mind if you usually "cling" to unhealthy people and be willing to hang in there if you usually "run."
- See if you can relax and have fun together;
- See if you can count on this person;
- Continue to see if there is enough compatibility to sustain the relationship;
- Build a strong foundation for a future romantic relationship.
- This is friendship combined with romance.
- Romantic feelings can now have a free reign ─ see if they mix well with the friendship;
- You can let romantic love blossom now ─ you don't have to put a lid on your feelings anymore;
- Now you can test your readiness for intimacy; this is usually the time when a fear of intimacy comes up ─ if you have any.
- Now things are getting serious;
- Set ground rules for the relationship;
- Discuss things like:
* Growing closer
* The future
* How much time you will have for each other
...anything that is important to you.
Partnership: (This used to be called marriage, but now the wedding ceremony is optional.)
During a partnership you should:
- Maintain what you have established up to now;
- Honor the values you have in common;
- Grow as a couple, as well as individuals;
- Get to really know each other and experience intimacy. (Intimacy comes from revealing yourself to a non-judgmental partner.)
- At any point in the progression of a relationship, one partner may experience a fear of intimacy and pull back. Don't panic. Give your partner some space. However, if he or she does not come around in a few weeks, you should move on. (This is discussed more fully in A Fine Romance by Judith Sills.)
LAA wants to give you a word of encouragement and a warning. Intimate relationships are wonderful and something to aspire to. They can enhance your life in unbelievable ways. They can be very fulfilling and help you grow to your full potential. But always remember that they are a "want" not a "need." Your self-esteem should never depend on finding someone special.
Also, love (as attraction and desire) is not enough. Love that follows a careful selection, and is coupled with a willingness to work hard and extend yourself is also necessary.
Finally, you must not become slaves to the myth that preferential love will always span an entire lifetime. Only spiritual love lasts forever. Therefore, as you change, your relationship will change; and sometimes (but not always) it will fade away. You should not be discouraged by this. Change is part of life. It is what makes life interesting.