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Romantic Relationships

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Alicia Divico

Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in addiction therapy

How to pursue Romantic Relationships
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Romantic Relationships

Many many many people struggle within romantic relationships. Generally speaking, these struggles leave individuals feeling insecure, as if there is something wrong with them. I like to help people depersonalize by realizing that whether or not a relationship works out is NOT all about you! There are a lot of factors that go into things, many of which are uncontrollables. Hear me out. This is my breakdown of how it goes:

  1. The first thing that ignites a relationship is ATTRACTION. However, attraction is NOT just about your physical appearance. I have found myself attracted to people that I actually don’t find to be physically attractive, and on the flip side, I have met HOTTIES that turn me off real quick! There are also plenty of people that are good looking that I’m just not attracted to at all. This is me, and I’m a woman. Men, of course, are more visual, but most men (those with insight) will tell you that there are many things that make a woman attractive aside from her physical appearance. It’s about personality, sense of style, sense of humor, eyes, confidence, and the list literally goes on an on. Some research shows that whether or not we are attracted to someone actually goes deeper and is more about whether or not we would be a good reproductive combination! Can you believe that?! If you aren’t convinced yet, think about this- if attraction were all about looks, gorgeous celebrities wouldn’t get cheated on, right? Bottom line is that sometimes we are drawn to people and sometimes we aren’t, and most of the time, it’s not about JUST about the way the person looks. Have you ever met someone who just has the sweetest vibe ever? Does that lure you in? Does that have anything to do with their appearance? Put the pieces together, and stop with all the pressure on yourself! Just make yourself presentable, and let the worries go!
  2. Once we decide we find someone attractive, the next step is to “get to know” them, right? But what does that really mean? The truth is we all put our best foot forward for a good 3 months (often times longer, depending on your ability to maintain), so it takes a lot of time to TRULY get to know someone. Instead, what we are really talking about here, is do I have chemistry with this person? Chemistry is something that many people have tried to pin-point and can’t seem to do it. It’s just whether or not we jive with a person/get along/feel connected. You may be attractive, easy to talk to, have a good job, etc. and I still may not FEEL into you. There are many times I’ve talked to girl and guy friends and they have said, “On paper he/she looks good” or “There’s nothing wrong with him/her” and their follow up is usually, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!” Listen, there is a chance that you are used to abusers so you are drawn only to abusers, but often times there’s nothing wrong with you, you just don’t have chemistry with that person. Have you ever met someone that after 30 minutes you feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s serious chemistry! I most commonly hear this aspect described as, “We just clicked.” Sometimes you do, and sometimes you don’t, but it’s not personal- it’s chemistry!
  3. The next step here is pretty dang important- it’s timing. Sometimes people have the attraction and the chemistry, but they just aren’t in the mindset to commit. Maybe they are trying to build a career. Maybe they aren’t fully over their ex. Maybe they are struggling with their sexuality in general. There are a lot of possibilities, but the end point is that sometimes it’s just not the right time. That doesn’t mean we should hold on, because it may never be a good time. Many men (most often, but women too) will say, “I just need more time”, and that man may truly believe that, but people also often have limited insight and may be wrong in their own self-assessment. Self respect says- okay then come find me when you’re ready and we’ll see where I’m at, because time should not be wasted, it’s too precious!
  4. If you actually have all 3 of the above, the final step is this- are we compatible? This may SEEM personal, but it’s not, and here’s why. The things that we can and cannot tolerate generally have more to do with our own personal issues than anyone else’s issues. For example, some people are really into eating clean and working out, and they need a partner who can help keep them on track. If that’s the case, they would not do well with someone who is naturally skinny and doesn’t have to work out or eat well. Is that personal? No! Another example might be, let’s say you grew up in an abusive household so loud people make you anxious. You can’t date a loud talker, and that is not the loud talkers problem! Is this starting to make sense? Whether or not we can tolerate someone else has a lot to do with our own stuff. So if you and your dream person break up, it’s not that you aren’t good enough, young enough, smart enough, whatever. It’s just that your personal issues clash with each other, and one of the two of you can’t tolerate it.

I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing to look at ourselves and try to improve. That’s ALWAYS a good idea. What I am saying is that whether or not a romantic relationship works out has nothing to do with whether or not YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH (see what I did there? Just read the caps). There’s a lot that goes into relationships. They are complex and complicated, and often times break ups really aren’t personal. So wish your ex dream person well and know that there is something better out there for you. It’s just a fact! I know people get discouraged, especially with age, but I have met so many people that didn’t meet their person until later in life…and guess what? It was worth the wait!

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