This statement is not meant to echo the ever-advised mantra that maturity is important. Being “grown up” isn’t merely a matter of not acting like a kid anymore. It’s not about a boyfriend who remembers to take out the trash or a girlfriend who never runs late. These qualities are nice, but to truly grow up means making an active effort to recognize and resolve negative influences from our past. An ideal partner is thus willing to reflect on his or her history and is interested in understanding how old events inform current behaviors.
When people mature emotionally, they are less likely to re-enact or project past experiences onto their current relationships. They develop a strong sense of independence and autonomy, having differentiated from destructive influences from early in life. As they evolve within themselves, they are less likely to look for someone to compensate for shortcomings and weaknesses or to complete their incompleteness. Instead, they’re looking for someone to share life with as equals and to appreciate independently of themselves. Having broken ties to old identities and patterns, this person is much more available to a romantic partner and the new family that they create together. Naturally, becoming emotionally mature ourselves helps with this process and dramatically improves our chances of achieving a solid and rewarding relationship.
The ideal partner is open, undefended and willing to be vulnerable. No human being is perfect, so finding someone who is approachable and receptive to feedback can be a huge asset to a lasting union. When someone is free-thinking and open-minded, it enables them to be forthright in expressing feelings, thoughts, dreams and desires, which allows you to truly know them. Their openness is also an indication of their interest in personal development and often contributes to the development of the relationship. Like perfect people, perfect unions do not exist, so finding someone with whom you can talk about an area that you feel is lacking in your relationship and who is open to evolving is more than half the battle. Conversely, being willing to accept feedback from our partners and looking for that kernel of truth in what they say allows us to develop ourselves in a similar manner.
- Honesty & Integrity
Dr. Lisa Firestone discusses seven characteristics to look for in an ideal romantic relationship.
This article was originally published at PsychAlive . Reprinted with permission.
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