What do you want to be when you grow up? This is an important question in high school and the smart choice is to intern in several potential career fields before committing to one. It is also an important question when considering settling down for a lasting committed relationship. The premise is the same, but internship considerations for a committed relationship will be slightly different.
When you feel you are ready to settle down and get out of the dating scene, it is ideal to do so between relationships. This is not to say you should exit a great relationship if you are in one currently. It simply means that as a single, you can be up front with a potential partner on what your needs are. If you are currently in a relationship, you can begin to move toward addressing these needs with your partner. Either way, long-term commitment should be mutually agreed upon.
Making room in your heart for another is more than simply about caring deeply about someone. It involves valuing the other’s needs as you would your own. This is a vulnerable position for you, but is an integral part of successful relationships. This must be mutual in a relationship, so a giving nature is important in a potential partner. It’s not necessarily about pampering, but about making important and difficult relationship choices that benefit your partner. Your potential partner will need to exhibit this same trait as well.
Searching for a companion when you are ready to settle down only requires us to alter our dating criteria somewhat. In the past, we may have gone on a date and found the other to be too needy, clingy or too uptight. We need to reevaluate our definition of these descriptive labels to determine if these are honestly needy, clingy and uptight people or if that was simply our own outlook at the time. Remember, in the dating scene you may be labeled needy or uptight now that you are looking for commitment.
Compatibility is perhaps the most misunderstood concept in relationships. You may think simply because you had a wonderful time on your first date you are compatible with that person. Because you share the same destructive habits with another does not mean the two of you are compatible. Often an honest and sincere person who is shy or nervous on a date would rather remain quiet than lie to or mislead you.
Equality and mutual respect play important roles in committed relationships. Both partners have their strong points in certain areas. Letting your partner make all the important decisions is not a trait of a healthy long-term relationship. Your partner should acknowledge your strengths and rely upon your decisions in these areas rather than foolishly decide for you both in matters of which he/she has little or no understanding.
Having mutual goals is arguably the most important aspect of a committed relationship. Even if everything else about the relationship is perfect, if either of you must sacrifice who you are for the other, you are treading a slippery slope. Some degree of sacrifice is called for. It may be prudent for one to take a low paying job while the other completes college. But an ideal partner will prioritize your enrollment into college following even if he/she does not find a great paying job after graduation.