The One Thing You Need To Find Real, Everlasting Love

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There’s no such thing as “perfect” when it comes to human beings. The question that really matters when looking for real love is this: Do you think you’re good enough to have a great relationship?

Most dating advice will try to get you to find your ideal partner. Embarrassingly, even one of my own books has a subtitle that states how to find your ideal partner. I wish I could change that subtitle.

So what's the one thing you need to find real, everlasting love?

So let me square that here and tell you what I really think about the concept of the "ideal" partner: There is no such thing as an ideal partner. There is only a good enough partner and a great relationship.

Don’t get me wrong — a good enough partner is terrific. When I say good enough, I mean not perfect. While there are no guidebooks for being a perfect partner, learning how to find love, or finding an ideal mate, some solid guidelines will determine whether your relationship will be great, good, passable, or nightmarish.

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Determine what your relationship should be — not just for you but for both. It is important to ensure your ideas serve personal and mutual interests.

Fashion your great relationship around real concerns such as the following:

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Once you’ve fleshed out your principles for a great relationship, look for a good enough partner willing and able to play in the partnership sandbox with you.

Make sure you both agree on what the relationship should be regardless of your imperfections. For instance, in my marriage, our relationship is governed by a set of principles we both believe in. These principles protect us from ourselves and each other as well as outsiders.

These principles, or agreements, guide our behavior in the relationship because if we let our personalities, interests, feelings, or whims guide us, we would likely no longer be happily married.

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So to summarize, you do not need to be the embodiment of mental health, the nicest person in the world, or anything other than yourself.

You must be clear on the relationship for both of you and then accept nothing else. Hopefully, you will expect and insist that your love relationship be fully collaborative, egalitarian, respectful, and sensitive.

If your “ideal” partner doesn’t buy into these principles, they are far from ideal — and not right for you!

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Dr. Stan Tatkin is a clinician, teacher, and developer of A Psychobiological Approach To Couples Therapy (PACT). He specializes in working with couples and individuals who wish to be in relationships.