The holidays are a wonderful time of year to reflect on and be thankful for our relationships.
It can also be a time to contemplate what may be missing from them. As we quickly approach a new year, there’s no better time to decide on what you want moving forward. Since time is our most precious asset in dating, it’s important to consistently ‘clean out the closet’ (aka rid ourselves of unhealthy people, relationships and attitudes) to make room for something spectacular.
Right before I met my husband, I had an aha-moment. A girlfriend of mine asked me a question that ultimately changed my life: where are your exes now? As I started to think about my past relationships and where they were in their lives, I was nearly mortified to realize that not one of them were married. At the time, I was a ripe 35 year-old and some of my exes were already in their forties. Two things dawned on me. Either I was not dating the ‘marrying type’ OR I was just not interested in settling down. After much deep reflection on what attracted me to my old boyfriends, I realized that I was choosing ‘rollercoaster love’ over solid, mature love. Qualities like fun, spontaneity, charm and adventure were more important to me than emotional maturity, kindness, stability and integrity. I just wanted to hop on the rollercoaster and see where it took me. Carpe Diem! was my go-to phrase. When I finally got clear and understood that I really did want to find my husband and build a strong, healthy relationship, the universe tested me. I had just started dating a musician. In my heart, I knew that the music would always be ‘the other woman’ and there was little chance of building a solid relationship together. So I left. With no prospects in sight, I held onto the belief that I would eventually find someone who adored me, could laugh with me, charm me and build a beautiful life together. And five months later, I did.
I share this story to encourage you to pay attention to your choices. We all have a long list of ‘wants’ but few of us really know what we need. Sometimes we need to stop, get off the roller coaster and really dig deep to make sure that our relationships are giving us what we truly need. Always look for qualities that endure the test of time and challenges.
If you really want a healthy, long-lasting relationship, choose someone with whom you can build something solid together, who respects, supports and adores you and above all, has integrity. Or else you may find that once the ride stops, you’re left with wind-blown hair, a fun experience and little else.