1. Owning Up To Past (Destructive) Relationship Behaviors
After many years of research (read: dating), I learned that “demanding,” “always right,” and “severely codependent” weren’t qualities that people were looking for in a mate. My twenties were a shit show — an endless stream of flings and one night stands, bad boyfriends ,and even worse breakups. I was drawn to drama. I thought love wasn’t love unless it was complicated, loud, or forced. Perhaps, that wasn’t it at all, but then, I had no idea what was. At 30, who did I want to be for someone else?
First, I would be trusting. Given my past investigative tendencies, I might’ve been wise to seek a career with the FBI. In a relationship, when I became jealous, my social media stalking skills skyrocketed. However, I've learned that this ugly habit is detrimental to the health of relationships, as well as my sanity. A secure relationship cannot exist without trust, and nothing is less attractive than jealousy demonstrated in the form of stalking and snooping. Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
Third, I would show affection.
Instead of waiting to be shown affection, I would try showing it. I would give more readily of myself without keeping score.
Fourth, I would be vulnerable.
I believe we're all seeking to connect and be understood, especially by our partners. Talking about my interests and values with someone — without fear of judgement — is what I have to trust will ultimately create a deeper, more meaningful connection.
3. Demonstrating These Qualities In All Of My Relationships, Romantic Or Otherwise
Since I was single, the only thing to do with this list was start putting it into practice in my daily life. At parties, I sought out conversation with strangers, which led me to make interesting new friends. I expressed my love for family and friends by telling them I cared for and appreciated them. I asked questions at work when I needed answers, and gave help to those who required it. I showed affection on dates without being self-conscious, and I became open and uninhibited with my emotions. Slowly, I started becoming less of a brat and more of an adult.
4. Creating A List Of Non-Negotiables To Help Me Find A Good Partner
I used to to think I had my dream guy all figured out. I once gave myself a headache using tips from that dating rules book, The Secret, to land my man. I came to the realization that there are a few things I want for sure: My ideal guy smells good and will watch horror movies with me all night. He’ll have my favorite snack (Swedish fish) stashed in his cupboard.