These would be those instant deal breakers of yours—he’s a smoker, a non-monogamist, a cat-lover, etc.—that instantly tell you to move on so you’re not wasting your time. “What are those three things that are not negotiable when you’re looking for a relationship?” asked relationship expert Dr. Melanie Mills. “Try not to include physical or financial attributes. Focus on character traits, personality type, and value systems.”
Ray says that in a new relationship it's common for couples to drop some of their usual activities and cancel on friends to see their partner. "Remember that attraction is also created by the anticipation of seeing your partner and by creating some distance," says Ray. "When you always drop everything to be with your new partner, it may set the expectation that your previous commitments are secondary to who you're dating." She says to keep yourself busy and honor your plans with friends as you adjust your schedule in moderation.
"For long-lasting love, the more similarity (e.g., age, education, values, personality, hobbies), the better. Partners should be especially sure that their values match before getting into marriage. Although other differences can be accommodated and tolerated, a difference in values is particularly problematic if the goal is long-lasting love. Another secret for a long marriage: Both partners need to commit to making it work, no matter what. The only thing that can break up a relationship are the partners themselves."
The period after a breakup is the perfect time for a little post-relationship debriefing with trusted friends. It's also a great time for some self-reflection about what you're looking for in a new relationship. This self-reflection often includes reading up on love and relationships to make sure you are wiser and better equipped for relationship success.
Have your non-negotiables and boundaries, but dating with a strict itemized wish list—he must make this much, be this tall, drive this car, be this funny—will only hold you back from men who could be great for you in real life and limit you to men who only look good on paper, says Goldstein. “If you need a wish list it should be small and include feeling words instead of car makes and job titles,” she adds.
"The number one thing I have learned about love is that it is a trade and a social exchange, not just a feeling. Loving relationships are a process by which we get our needs met and meet the needs of our partners too. When that exchange is mutually satisfying, then good feelings continue to flow. When it is not, then things turn sour, and the relationship ends. That is why it is important to pay attention to what you and your partner actually do for each other as expressions of love... not just how you feel about each other in the moment."
Once you're in the bedroom (and aware of his insecurities), remind him of how much you enjoy being intimate. For example, if he's worried about his weight, maybe give him a sexy once-over and tell him how how buff he looks naked. Other key areas to compliment: His gut, as men often worry about the size of it (and other measurable parts), and their hair, as guys tend to feel self-conscious once they start losing it.
"Every couple has what I call a 'good conflict.' In long-term relationships, we often feel that the thing you most need from your partner is the very thing he or she is least capable of giving you. This isn't the end of love—it's the beginning of deeper love! Don't run from that conflict. It's supposed to be there. In fact, it's your key to happiness as a couple—if you both can name it and commit to working on it together as a couple. If you approach your 'good conflicts' with bitterness, blame, and contempt, your relationship will turn toxic."
When I returned to India, he would send me photographs of himself. Photography had just been invented so this was quite a big deal! He later told me that he would go down to a shop and pay to get his portrait taken — it was very expensive. But oh, how I looked forward to receiving those photos. He only grew more and more attractive as time went on. I saved every photograph.
"Whether it is a professional athlete or a CEO, when I ask my clients, 'Why her?'...the feedback is almost always the same. TEARS! Seriously, big burly guys that you would never imagine being emotional. The response is often they are just grateful for her. Grateful she let him in his life. Grateful of a specific experience the two shared. Simply, a large of amount of gratitude which led to him wanting to spend eternity with his chosen one. Even without a partner, studies show that when we are grateful, The Universe gladly makes more show up in your life for which to be grateful. Next up for you...a +1!"
Realising from the outset that relationships require work, hard work, is the basic starting point. It’s not a fairytale, but it’s your story - your love story. And that’s what makes it magical. Approaching love as a verb, put in the effort and don’t be surprised when it’s not all smooth sailing. Do the work and reap the reward; back your love with your choices and do the deeds that need doing. Action really does speak louder than words.
We’re all about empowered woman, but when you don’t let your man do even as much as change a lightbulb for you, it will make him feel inferior and not needed. Remember, his self-worth is directly connected to his ability to provide for you and protect you. Let him open doors for you, fix what needs to be fixed, pick you up late from the train station, etc. And if you make more money than him, still, let him pay for things. Being strong and independent is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean you can’t accept help or courtesies from other people.