Recently I’ve given this advice to some younger people in my life, my hope is that it helps someone avoid relationship potholes. During my college years, I dated the same girl on and off for almost three years. We ran on a six month cycle. Almost every six months we would have some big issue and it would end with us breaking up. Inevitably we would get back together a few weeks or a month later. That would start a new six month cycle.
With each breakup came a few friends or family members that would say “she was a b____!” or something like that. I never felt comfortable with that kind of 180 degree turn. After spending months of being “in love” with this person, how could I forget all of the positive that quickly and focus on the negative. It just didn’t sit well with me because although obviously not a perfect fit, she did have many of the characteristics I wanted. The problem was that I had not diagnosed my “allergies” before we started.
People with acute peanut allergies have to be extremely cautious. Their life depends on avoiding certain substances. People with seasonal allergies are often inconvenienced by the amount of pollen in the air. In both cases, it is intelligent to take necessary steps to diagnose and use preventative measures. This mode of thinking can be used very effectively for relationships as well.
I did not have a “peanut allergy” to my college girlfriend. It was seasonal and only became pronounced in certain circumstances. The problem was not her but the combination of us and environmental factors. I selected someone that was going to continually provoke my “allergic” symptoms. We very rarely get into relationships with people who cause major “allergic” reactions because like a peanut allergy, the reaction is immediate and pronounced. So the key is to go in with a plan.
Write down a description of your perfect partner. Take as much time and paper as you need. Go into detail on all levels: physically, mentally and emotionally. List all of your MUST HAVES but list your MUST NOT HAVES as well. These are your violent allergic reactions. SHOULD NOTS will be your seasonal allergies that may crop up from time to time. With this list, you are more likely to diagnose problems early and make an informed decision on how to proceed.
Too often we start a relationship and “love, lust, attraction” all take hold and we no longer diagnose anything. We go on autopilot taking in all of the good and ignoring the bad that could eventually cause major problems. If you’re still in high school, you don’t need to do this yet. You need some failed experiments to figure out what it is that you want in the first place. Once you understand your “allergies” (both severe and seasonal), you’ll be able to have a better chance of finding someone for the long term.
Click HERE to tell me about your experiments and findings.
Good luck in your search.