Psychology has shown us that the process of finding a mate is one of the most dominant and powerful forces in our lives. It is also one of the most daunting and overwhelming tasks. People often complain about getting this wrong more often than getting it right. Part of the problem is that we make a lot of allowances for the behaviors of our potential mates. We compromise; we give in; we negotiate…all against our better judgment, thus ending up in situations in which we are unhappy and unsatisfied. If you’ve seen people fall prey to this vicious cycle, tell me about it in the comments section below.
Just because you jump when the phone rings in anticipation of his/her call, your heart beats rapidly when you see the person, you feel butterflies in your stomach at the mention of their name, does not make this your lifetime partner. All these physical symptoms do is to confirm attractiveness, a key ingredient in relationships, but they also get you prepared for the big payout: s-e-x. Though most people won’t admit it-and may not even realize it-the possibility of sexual interaction is ultimately what all the sweating, twitching, nail biting and anxiety is about. And, it’s perfectly natural. We’re all hard-wired for it.
However, don’t get confused. It is not necessarily indicative of having met your life partner. In theory, most people understand this. However, in practice people often behave in contradictory ways. Thus, they end up making the same wrong choices over and over, creating a string of disappointing relationships and an expectation that one always has to settle, at least a little. As Carrie Bradshaw proclaims on Sex and the City, ‘Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for less than butterflies.’
What determines the difference between those who settle and those who refuse? I would pose that one of the key differentiators is one’s ability (or inability) to articulate, identify and hold to the ‘must haves’, the ‘can’t live withouts’, our relationship non-negotiables.
Relationship non-negotiables are those criteria that are not just nice to have, but which you expect wholeheartedly and without exception in anyone in the running for your life mate. Not everyone will have the same list of criteria. Attractiveness will be of utmost importance to some while income will be more important to others…spirituality to some, politics to others. Weigh in and let me know: What are your Relationship Non-Negotiables?