I was wondering how you start a relationship without getting hurt?
Starting a relationship can be scary and daunting. Luckily you can minimize your chances of suffering pain. I am going to outline several tips you can use to start a relationship without getting hurt.
Most people who have not found a partner would like to be in a relationship. This is understandable. However if you desperately need to be in a relationship, you will hit problems.
What indicates a desperate need to be in a relationship?
- You have imposed a time limit for settling down or having children.
- You feel left out because your friends are in relationships.
- You feel upset after a break up and think finding a new love will alleviate your disappointment.
- You think having a partner will make you happy.
- You hate being alone.
- You don’t enjoy your own company.
- You feel empty.
If you have ticked any of these, beware! Your neediness will distort your judgment. You will not see your new partner clearly. You will focus on all their positives and ignore the negatives.
In the meantime, you will start creating this marvelous fantasy about how happy you are going to be together. You might start thinking about engagement rings, romantic holidays, a cozy home, children, meeting the parents and so on.
In fact, you may have created the fantasy before you have even met the partner. This is especially dangerous. You have written the script and cast them in the role and yet you don’t even know them.
By fantasizing, you have unwittingly set yourself up for huge grief and disappointment.
The truth is you don’t know this potential life partner. You might have been out with them numerous times but you still don’t know them. You are blinded by your agenda. They have to be “the one”.
One day, the discrepancy between reality and fantasy will stretch too far. They’ll walk out because they are sick of trying to play the part you scripted for them. Or you’ll give up, finally realizing they aren’t who you thought they were.
A break-up can be painful but the loss of a “dream” is truly shattering.
You can avoid this grief by refusing to be needy.
Most likely, you will have to do considerable emotional work to reach this place of self-sufficiency. You might need a skilled therapist to help you. However, if you want to avoid pain and grief, you would be wise to develop emotional independence.
Once you have gained your emotional independence, you can make objective assessments of your partner. Here is how:
- Keep your feet firmly on the ground. Don’t dream about togetherness and blissfulness.
- Keep seeing your friends and enjoying your usual activities.
- Don’t frequently change your arrangements to fit in with them.
- Be objective. Score them. Did they turn up on time? Did they phone when they said they would? Did they speak to you respectfully when you disagreed or had a miscommunication? Are they flexible or rigid? Do they share your values?
- Are they honest and consistent? Does their actual behaviour fit what they say? Remember, words are cheap.
- Is there any reason to suspect they have an agenda different to your own? If so, test this.
- Don’t have sex too early. Sex creates an emotional intensity and intimacy between you and your partner. This makes it even more difficult to stay grounded and objective.
- Don’t reach a conclusion about this potential partner until you have gathered a great deal of data. This takes time. You don’t know them. You have only experienced their behaviour and reactions in a limited number of situations and environments.
Here is an example: Meg and Aiden backpacked together for two years overseas. They faced a number of challenges. She lost her passport. He had his camera stolen. They ran out of money. They missed a train. They worked illegally in poor conditions to survive. They trekked up mountains and slept in hovels.
In spite of the trauma, he stayed calm. She was distressed; he comforted her. She didn’t know what to do; he solved the problems. She was impressed with his confidence and competence. She felt safe with him. She thought they would be partners for life.
It was not to be. He was great during this extended holiday but it changed when they came back home. He soon became restless. Being settled didn’t suit him. Working consistently at the same place and at same job bored him. After a year, he became depressed. He left, seeking more adventures.
You don’t know your potential partner until you have faced a variety of situations. It takes time and experience to understand another person. You can never be certain about how long a relationship will endure. You never know absolutely how long you will be together. Make sure you are strong enough emotionally to deal with whatever life may bring.
Do you need help with your relationships? The team at North Brisbane Psychologists can help. Book an appointment today.