You’ve just met the woman of your dreams. She’s intelligent. She’s funny. She’s hot. You generate more voltage when you’re together than the power plant in Morro Bay.
Still you wonder, is this true love? Is she Ms. Right? Is she the person you’re destined to be with or will this die like a cell phone without a charger?
New love is always exciting. It’s the first step to finding a future mate. It pre-screens potential partners.
Still, it’s far from the only criteria for selecting a husband or wife.
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Consider whether you’re even in the market for a mate. If you’re younger than 24, you’re probably not emotionally ready to settle down.
Chances are that you haven’t lived on your own, charted a personal course or dated enough people to know who’s right for you. No matter how intense your feelings toward that special guy or gal, your feelings don’t constitute true love because you’re not yet ready for that stage of life.
If you are 25 or older, you may be thinking about permanently pairing up. Now’s the time to consider all that future spouses bring to the table.
Yes, attraction is one factor. Equally important are such issues as character, ability to earn a living, freedom from drug or alcohol abuse, common interests, family history and commitment to the relationship.
Be sure to discuss whether or not you want children, where you plan to live and what religion you intend to practice. These subjects may not overshadow romance in the earliest days of dating, but they will determine your long-range compatibility and ultimately the success of your relationship.
Ascertain if your potential partner is available for emotional involvement. Men and women who are married or in other relationships aren’t free to be on the dating market.
The same goes for folks who are divorcing or breaking up with previous lovers. They’re going through major disruptions and can’t offer the psychological energy that a boyfriend or girlfriend requires.
It’s even wise to avoid dating parents with young children. Their dance cards are already full taking care of their offspring. If an ex-husband or ex-wife is still in the picture, you may be stepping into the middle of two warring factions. Although you weren’t a part of the initial conflict, you may inadvertently become one of its targets.
Once you’ve chosen wisely, your next test is that of time. True love isn’t hurried. It withstands the challenges of months and years.
The varieties of rough patches are endless. You may have disagreements about your families or friends. You might encounter health crises.
You’ll have stress at work. Of course, you’ll never solve all your problems. There will always be something new.
What you’re assessing is your ability to handle difficulties. You’ll want to face them calmly and constructively. Avoid arguing unnecessarily.
When you do argue, do so respectfully, contain the scope and reach a swift resolution.
How much time is needed? I’d recommend at least one year, preferably two. Relationships, like fine wines, should improve as they mature. If you give yours ample aging, and your love continues to burn, then I’d say yes, you’ve found your true love. Congratulations. And have a wonderful life.
Do you consistently make bad choices in partners? Do you have a knack for finding losers, cheats or creeps? Then consider these dating suggestions to find the true love that you deserve:
• Think with your head, not with your hormones. Good relationships are built on thoughtful analysis, not hours of passionate love-making. Sure, attraction is important.
But true love begins with a series of wise decisions that are made every step of the way.
• Frequent places where nice people go. Want to meet great people? Go where they hang out. Join a gym. Play co-ed softball. Take a cooking class. Attend a church with an active singles program. You’ll increase your odds of meeting a first-class partner while having fun in the process. • Go slow. Avoid falling head over heels with someone on the first date. You’ll get into situations you’re not ready for. Instead, keep things light and casual. Allow true love to take its course.
• Don’t prolong bad relationships. Get out as soon as you experience anything that causes you concern. Don’t wait until you’ve become emotionally involved. You’ll save yourself lots of heartache and start on the path of finding someone new.
• Ask for help in assessing relationships. If you perennially make bad choices in men or women, get a second opinion from someone you trust. A therapist, a friend or a co-worker may be better at spotting problems that you tend to overlook.
Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her visit lindalewisgriffith.com