the simplest (and best) advice on choosing your ideal partne

findingyouridealpartner.jpg

This post will be short and sweet, because I believe that’s the best way to soak in those big life truths.

I don’t remember at what point this occurred to me (and I’m sure it’s been said in more eloquent and elaborate ways by plenty of smart people), but when it did, it was a serious lightbulb moment:

As the image above says...

Your ideal partner must be both:
-good TO you
and
-good FOR you

Period.

Many times in my own past, I thought (at least subconsciously) that one or the other would be okay. Good enough. Someone was really good FOR me, and sorta-maybe-kinda good TO me. And vice versa. I’ve also seen this dozens of times with my clients. It’s especially the worst when all they have to compare Current Mediocre Relationship with is Past Asshole Ex. Because any relationship looks good and healthy next to THAT guy!

Let’s clarify.

Good TO youThis person treats you really well. They think you hung the moon, and they’re always doing sweet things to show you they love you. Flowers just because, the occasional breakfast in bed, random love notes. Not to suggest that all this kind of stuff must carry on for the whole life of the relationship — but it should to a degree, and especially if it’s not there in the beginning courting phase, red flag alert!

Good FOR youYou ‘click’ with this person. They listen to the same kind of music, have an appreciation for similar style and humor, the same type of friends, maybe similar religious / spiritual or political beliefs. You always saw yourself being with someone in their profession. They’re good on paper, and it actually translates to real life, too. Of course, someone can also be good for you if perhaps they don’t mesh with you fully “on paper” but they have a dynamic spirit that just fits with yours, and you both appreciate each other's differences.

So, bottom line: If you are someone who finds yourself in a relationship after relationship with the wrong person, you are settling too much in one or both of these areas. Ask yourself which one, and really define what qualities are most important to you in that area.

Make a list of non-negotiables, and stick with it. Even if other people might disagree with your list, who cares? It's YOUR relationship. If you know you won't be happy with someone who doesn't enjoy hanging out with your family, don't settle for it just because they like you and they share your political beliefs.

Need guidance to get on the right relationship path? Let’s talk.

 PS - The photo is me and my new husband, a person who is ridiculously good to AND for me!

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Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.