Want A Happier Love Life? Find A Role Model

role models

YourTango Experts tell us how to use role models to improve our love lives.

There is no "right" way to find or maintain a relationship, but like anything we do in life, it helps to have teachers and role models helping us along the way. When it comes to romantic love, identifying and learning from a role model—from someone who loves how you want to love—can be extremely helpful. But how to find and learn from a relationship role model? That's what YourTango Experts are here for; read on as they tell us how to choose a role model and how to apply his or her precious wisdom to your own romantic life.

Where to begin?
The first step in identifying role models is to identify what your VALUES are. Yes, many of us fantasize about being a rich, famous and beautiful couple like Brad and Angelina or some other "power couple," but do they share the VALUES that you want to express in your life?

Take some time to write down what is important to you. Is it integrity? Deep love and intimacy? Prosperity? Security? Commitment? Freedom? Write it all down and once you have your list, prioritize it. What is most important to you? What is least important? Do any of the values conflict? 10 Dating Deal Breakers That Really Aren't

Now you can look to the world around you and identify role models. It might be a couple (or a single) that you've never met, but read about in a newspaper or on the Internet that really inspires you or touches you. It might be a close friend or someone in your peer group. It might be someone in your local community. If it IS someone more available, you can reach out to them directly or perhaps be introduced through a common third party.

If it's someone less accessible, learn more about them from observation and from reading. Perhaps it isn't even someone alive, like a historical figure. Or it might be someone who was NEVER alive, perhaps a great figure in literature. You can begin to attend to how they integrate the qualities you admire in their lives and then do the same.

Remember, it's a process and be patient with yourself.  Allow yourself to grow! As you grow and mature further in these qualities, how you want to express them may shift and your role models may change. Be open and willing for this to happen. And enjoy the process.
--Dr. Adam Sheck, Psychologist

How to make a role model work for you
Who makes for a good role model? A role model is easily identified as person who brings out the best in the people they interact with. When you see a person who treats their significant other with respect, it's a good idea to model that. Likewise, people who treat others well have many choices in dates. We all like to be listened to. Good role models, you'll find, make it more about the other person than they do themselves.

How can we learn from them? The best way to learn is to watch. Watch how others look at someone you want to be more like. Listen to what others say about them when they aren't around.

What do our role models tell us about ourselves and how can users transform this awareness into action? Role models help teach us what we value most. We learn who we are by understanding why we want to be like certain people.How To Fall In Love With Mr. Good Enough

How can we become more like them?
1.     All of life is acting. Act like the other person until the admirable traits they exhibit become more habitual.
2.     Take time for yourself. Journal how it felt when you tried these new behaviors that your role model taught you.
3.     Ask for feedback. Ask your significant other (or a close friend, if you're single) if they feel more special or valued when you changed your behavior to achieve higher standards.
 --Mary Jo Rapini, Therapist

Where can I find a good role model?
If your love life is transitioning, finding a role model who has the love life that you want to create can be very helpful. However, before you think about identifying a person whom you would like to emulate, it's important to figure out the type of relationship you want.

First, think about where you have been. Most people carry baggage from their past relationships. The more you unpack your suitcase before engaging in a new relationship, the better. What worked? What didn't? Self-evaluation and growth are key. The ultimate goal is to take your time, look within, and identify the qualities of a relationship that are important to you.

Then think about the people who are in such relationships. Get involved in events, organizations, and social networks where people with those qualities are members. For example, if your last relationship failed because your significant other did not want children and you do, consider volunteering at a non-profit organization that benefits kids.

One of the best step-mom role models I ever had is a woman who had been remarried for over 20 years who led a step-family support group in my local area. I learned from her example. I asked a lot of questions, and it took time. But, it was worth it. It was very inspiring to hear from someone who had faced the same challenges which I was facing and who obviously loved her life despite the tough issues she once faced.

Having such a role model helped me see that I was normal. For the first time, I felt like I wasn't the only one in the world experiencing step-mom challenges. She helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and provided ideas for solutions. And, one of the most important things she taught me is that relationships take time to build.

Role models are out there. You just have to know what qualities you are looking for, engage, remain open, and give it time.
--Paula Bisacre, Marriage Educator