We tend to have a long list when asked what we want in our future Significant Other and so far, in my experience, everyone misses the most important quality. A quality that must be present if the relationship is going to have a fighting chance.
What is it?
Your future SO has to have the capacity to be an SO.
If your love interest doesn’t know what it takes to be in a healthy relationship and/or doesn’t want to make the effort to be in a healthy relationship…you need to GTFO because you don’t want to waste your time with someone who doesn’t have what it takes.
Seriously. Your love interest might check all your boxes but if they’re not single, emotionally available, and interested in a committed relationship, please walk away.
Easier said than done but it can be done
This is a million times easier to say than to do once you’ve fallen for someone so my suggestion to you is to inoculate yourself by inculcating it into your head right now. That way, next time you encounter a person who is a catch in every way except not single, emotionally available, and interested in a committed relationship, you will catch yourself before you catch feelings, and tell yourself this is not a person who deserves your investment of energy and emotion.
If we put ourselves in the right head space when we’re single, we can have a better relationship because we will know what we want, what’s good (and not good) for us, and have an acute sense of self-worth and self-knowledge. This will all guide us to making better decisions.
Start while you’re still ahead (and single)
If you don’t make this effort before you start meeting people in hopes of finding a Significant Other, I think you will make the same errors you’ve made in the past because you are allowing old patterns and thinking to guide you instead of letting past lessons do the guiding.
One of the problems with being single when we don’t want to be single is the fear that we’ll never find someone. This fear can be overwhelming and make us accept people who shouldn’t be accepted.
Fear is a strong emotion. To counter it you need resolve and grit.
Introducing Dr. Amir Levine and the Abundance Philosophy
To help you, consider the Abundance Philosophy that Dr. Amir Levine writes about in his book Attached (a marvelous book that is a must-read for anyone who wishes to learn why they love the way they do).
The abundance philosophy isn’t like The Secret. It’s real science.
The abundance philosophy is all about:
- The “many unique and wonderful individuals out there who may be superb partners for you.”
- You should give several people a chance “without settling on one person very early on.”
- A lot of people “assume that meeting someone suitable is an unlikely occurrence…(but) there are many charming, intelligent people out there who can make you happy, but there are also many who are not right for you.” It’s your job to meet people and not settle.
Dr. Levine says it’s the law of probability: the more you meet, the greater the chances you’ll find the one who is a good match for you.
Makes sense, right?!
But wait, there’s more…
Dr. Levine’s book is called Attached and it’s about the three main attachment types: secure, anxious, and avoidant.
- Secure: They are comfortable depending on others and having others depend on them. Moreover, they are relatively unconcerned whether other people truly care about them.
- Anxious: Those who can be vulnerable but are worried that the other person they’re with is not or will not be available when needed. They would like to depend on the other person and have that person depend on them, but feel that such dependence is not reciprocal.
- Avoidant: They are uncomfortable depending on others and serving as an attachment figure.
Anxious people often worry that the person who is interested in them is their only chance at love and will do all they canto make it work even if it’s not a fulfilling and healthy relationship.
As Dr. Levine says, “By using the abundance philosophy, you maintain your ability to evaluate potential partners more objectively. What you are actually doing is desensitizing your attachment system and tricking it into being easier on you. your system will no longer get so easily activated by one person because it will be busy”
Or as, the world’s most popular dating coach for women, Matthew Hussey, says, “Approaching your love life from a position of abundance rather than scarcity helps to put the odds in your favour.”
You got to trust Hussey, Levine and me on this: There are a lot of great people in the world (yes, even in Hong Kong). I’m interviewing people all the time and it’s incredible how such amazing people (who want to be in a relationship) are single. It’s a total waste that these people, who want a relationship and have the capacity to be in a relationship, are single.
Of course, I don’t want you to start treating people like objects or financial investments or to go down the self-defeating path of looking for the “perfect match” but I do want you to compare what’s available. This way you don’t settle for someone who makes you feel insecure or inadequate or anything else negative. As Dr. Levine says, “Why would you waste time with someone who is unkind to you when you have several other potential partners lined up who treat you like royalty?”
I know that sometimes we fall for people based on physical attraction or immediate chemistry but this is how we fall into the same old trap. Give the above exercises and questions a go and get clear on what your priorities are and what’s negotiable and what’s not.