Suzanne B. Simpson

Author | Licensed Psychotherapist | Coach

A friend called me recently telling me that she had a prospective suitor, but she didn’t feel like he was the image of what she wanted in a partner.  She had known this guy for ten years as a friend and suddenly he was moving in with so much romantic interest that she was thrown off course!

How could he be the one she was longing for to spend the rest of her life with her? She decided to just accept some dates with him anyway since no one else was vying for her time and showing interest. She kept saying to me I just don’t see us together…he’s not my type.  I’m not drawn to his body physique and I am not sure he can financially provide the income I am wanting.  My response to her was, sometimes they may show up different than what you expected.  You just may have to be more open to what you need, not what you want.

I thought about my relationship with my spouse and how I longed to have a partner that would fulfill every need of what a husband should be for me. When he pursued me, he wasn’t at all what I had pictured. After all, I had been waiting all these years and deserved someone that had successful work and many of my interests in common.

So here are some strategies that will help you discern is this the right man or woman in your life?

1. Pursue what you need; it’s not all about attraction.

Do I feel comfortable with this person? When I am around the person is there a relaxed feeling or does it feel like an addictive buzz? If it’s the latter it might be more of an addictive high and may not maintain the excitement.

When you fall in love, there is an adrenaline push usually, your boundaries may collapse, and you feel like you are suddenly in a land of utopia and immersed in this person. It’s such a great love feeling, but some may wonder if it’s real… a true genuine relationship that will withstand over time. Later those feelings may cool down and you question what happened. You may say to yourself, I’m not too drawn to the person now.  So single men and women think about what you need, not the void you feel the person will fill.

2. Bottom-line requirements are important.

Think about what you really need to have for a relationship to thrive and survive!  By doing so you might think about what was important to look at… what were the limiting factors in your past relationships and what you want to not see in the future.  You don’t want to continue the same patterns that didn’t work out before. What I’ve noticed is sometimes you attract the same inner characteristics, but they show up looking different on the outside. Be aware of that.

3. Opposites attract, but they don’t wear well over time.

Do we share similar values, religions, family desires, and interests? The glue that I have found that holds the relationship together is having similar values, faith, temperaments, and family aspirations.

I’ve known couples that I have counseled through the years that were polar opposites on the Myers Briggs. They tended to have more difficulty getting along and repetitively showed up in counselors’ offices. You don’t want a clone of yourself, but you want to find someone compatible with your personality. If he or she is constantly wanting to go out all of the time, and you are a homebody you may have conflict.  Or it feels like you are having to argue all of the time about how you spend your time. That incompatibility may not be very well-suited for you.

4. Chemistry is essential, but it isn’t the sole reason for attraction.

Questions you may ask yourself is this person committed to loving me through the tough times when anger is on the forefront and suddenly we don’t like each other? Do they show signs of hurt and resentments from the past relationship that they are hanging onto? Am I holding onto heartbreaks, also, that I need to be freed from?

Most importantly, be open-minded when there might not be a big buzz of attraction, but getting to know the person, hearing what the person values etc.  See if it might be a match even though it looks different from what you expect.