How often do you think about finding “The One?” Or, if you are in a relationship with someone, questioning whether another more appropriate could be on the horizon? Whatever situation in which you find yourself, the quest for love is an intrinsic and innate part of our lives.

Many people decide on a love quickly and enter into a relationship without fully addressing not only what makes them happy in the moment, but what qualities a person must have in order to maintain a healthy relationship for the long haul. The “I want it, and I want it now” philosophy can trip people up and cause angst later on. Here are some insights about finding a lasting and fulfilling relationship even during times when the love meter is low.

  1. When you decide that you’d like to enter into a relationship, write down the qualities of a person that would suit you. These may include intellectual, geographic, occupational, humor, attraction, religious and/or spiritual beliefs, education and whether children are in the picture. Endorphins can chemically attract for the short-term, but a thought out and thought through relationship plan can work successfully for a lifetime.
  2. The divorce rates for blended families are higher than those getting married or partnering for the first time. When children are involved, just remember that while you may have a new love interest, your children may make your life miserable bringing different DNA into the family system because they feel threatened, don’t want to share, and/or may have an alliance with their other biological parent who they think needs protection. Children also may have negative feelings visiting a parent who is married to someone with kids, feeling that they are merely a visitor watching their biological parent live with and parent the step parent’s kids. They can build resentments that can impact their future relationships.
  3. Online love is huge these days. But, it can be dangerous. Make sure to find out all you can and meet the person in a public place. Meeting a potential love match through good friends and/or activities you enjoy could be your best bet.
  4. Ask the opinion of those who are close to you about your potential love choice. Keep an open mind. Pre-marital counseling can ensure that you move into a relationship with open eyes and clarity rather than blinded by physical attraction and fantasy.
  5. Enter into some self-exploration before venturing into a relationship. The more whole you are, the greater the chances of meeting someone of the same mindset. If you enter into a relationship feeling like an empty vessel, you might just meet another empty vessel needing to be filled.

A mentor once told me, “It’s not about finding ‘the one.’ It’s about finding someone really appropriate and creating ‘the one.’” How to do that? With very conscious and random daily acts of kindness for one another. Mature love is quite different from a head first impulsive jump that may be based on childhood needs and wants, or what has been familiar, but possibly dysfunctional.

When you are proactive about finding love, love can blossom and flourish at any age.

Dr. Amy Austin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC # 41252) and Doctor of Clinical Psychology in Rancho Mirage. Dr. Amy can be reached at (760) 774.0047.

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