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What to Look for in a New Relationship

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The list.

He must have three white cotton blend button down shirts in his wardrobe and like the color off blue. He must shave starting on the left and working his way around the lower portion of the jaw to the right ear.

She must have all the latest Bonnie Raitt CD's and listen exclusively to NPR, never CNN. He must have been in at least three years of therapy. Preferably, Jungian/Archetypal. She must never smoke. He must never have had an affair with an older, younger and hotter woman. She must never have inhaled. Anything.

The list starts off as an ode to maturity, to self-protection, as in the Dr. Seuss classic "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" we've been there, done that. We've been cheated on, abused, mistreated and used, tasted cigarettes have been drawn to cheat, cried into our Jack Daniels, cornflakes, Special K, and put on weight because of our terrible relationships. We've lost weight, dyed our hair and moved across the state promising this time it will be different. Our lists grow and grow, until we resemble another Dr. Seuss character, Sam, from the book "Green Eggs and Ham," and we will not, can not, in a car, in the bar, or with a star.

So often our defenses protect us and keep harm out, but they can also keep real life out and keep real love at arm's length.

How do we enter in to a new relationship with wiser eyes and yet stay open so that we actually experience ourselves and our partners for who we really are? This question haunts everyone and anyone who's ever been single.

My slanting eight-ball magic states the following: "'The outlook is decidedly inward" which is to say, look for your own reactions when starting a new relationship. Take your list with you but check off how important each item is as you slowly (and I stress slowly. Otherwise, you will not have time to really understand him, her, or yourself). Get to know this person. Maybe you've written on your list that you will never, ever again date someone without siblings because the last person you dated was an awful, spoiled, only child type.

Add a Comment2 Comments

I AGREE! Thanks for the important comment about a woman loving herself enough to be in a healthy relationship.

This can't be stressed enough..


March 6, 2010 - 9:08am

I believe the very first rule should be that he is respectful. Respectful in how he dresses for a date, in how he treats a woman. The second is that the woman must take full and complete responsibility for the man she allows in her life. She must love herself enough not to ever allow herself to be abused or disrespected by a man more than once. She must be willing to kick him to the curb if he persists in jealousy, abuse, puttting down her friends or the way she dresses or wears her hair. These things will only get worse if she stay in the relationship. Take it from someone who has been there but is now married for 12 happy happy years.

March 1, 2010 - 12:12pm
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