The Relationship Couch

Finding Your Mate: From “The Right One” to “A Good One”

Couple celebrates finding their soulmate in one anotherSingles come to me to help them find love. One of the things I commonly hear is, “I want to find Mr./Mrs. Right” or “I want to find ‘The One.’” Even clients who are in a relationship ask me, “How do I know if the person I’m with is ‘The One’?”

One of the common criteria I hear that people use to determine if their partner is a good fit is whether there are problems while dating or in a relationship. “Anita, if you’re with the right person, you’ll rarely experience conflict. Right? Right?!?”

Focusing on finding this ‘One’ person somewhere out there can be an early setup not only for relationship failure, but for keeping yourself single. It’s a very limiting approach – whenever you meet someone, they have to meet your idea of Mr./Mrs. Right. If one thing doesn’t fit, or when you start having problems, it’s easy to dismiss this person and believe that there’s someone even better out there.

When you’re in the early stages of a relationship, it’s natural to overemphasize the positive and downplay any negatives. But when the infatuation wears off, you see your partner more realistically – including their faults.

And what happens when problems pop up? Common beliefs I’ve heard:

I’m just with the wrong person.
Maybe there’s someone better out there.
Things would be different with someone else.
He/She is not my soulmate.

The reality is that no matter who you are with, you will have problems. It’s impossible for two people to always agree in every situation – we’re too unique for that to happen. Since problems are inevitable, what it means for you when you’re dating is to date with the mindset of, “What can I live with? What can I compromise on?”

Respect each other’s differences and manage them so you both feel like you can win when conflict arises.

For example, one person you date may be chronically late, another may drink a little more than you’re comfortable with, and another may want to spend more time with you than you want to with them. You have to determine whether behaviors such as these are deal breakers or if you can live with them or find a workable compromise.

So instead of looking for “The One,” look for a “Good One.” A man or woman who treats you well, accepts you as you are, listens to your needs and is willing to compromise are essential for relationship success. Obviously you, too, have to be this kind of person. You can’t be too rigid, want things your way, and think you are always right and expect to be in a happy relationship. Respect each other’s differences and manage them so you both feel like you can win when conflict arises.

Bottom line – if you trade your current date or partner for another, you will trade one set of problems for another. The good comes with the not-so-good no matter who you are with. No one is perfect and remembering this can lead to a more satisfying relationship.