“I am so tired of being in a never-ending cycle of broken and toxic relationships. I am trying to break out of this cycle but there have been so many of them that I don’t even know what do I want in a relationship anymore.” Does this narrative strike a chord? Believe me when I say you are not the only one in this turmoil. There are hundreds of us in this same boat. The irony is that a lot of relationships fail because we don’t know what we want in a relationship.
In all fairness, it is no easy task to figure out what you want in a relationship. Inexperience, past relationships, childhood trauma, societal pressure, the way media portrays the idea of an ideal relationship are just a few of the things that cloud our judgment when we are trying to figure out “what is it that I am looking for in a relationship”.
As we grow older our needs change as well. The way we perceived love at the age of 16 is very different from how we perceive relationships at the age of 26. So, it comes as no surprise that a lot of people are confused about what they need. We’re here to help you understand the importance of knowing what you want in a relationship and figure out what questions to ask yourself to know what do you want in a relationship with insights from dating coach Geetarsh Kaur, founder of The Skill School which specializes in building stronger relationships.
How Do You Answer “What Do I Want In A Relationship”?
When dating, one of the first questions that people get asked is what do you want in a relationship. And unfortunately, most of the time, people have difficulty responding to it because the fact is this question involves a lot of introspection. You might ask, “Why is it so important to know what do I really want in a relationship?”
Geetarsh explains, “It is very important to ask yourself “what do I want in a relationship” so that you can nurture your needs and expectations better. When you are not aware of your own needs, there is a chance that people might receive mixed signals, which can lead to a lot of heartaches in the future”
Even if you know the answer to “what do I really want in a relationship”, communicating it is a whole different ball game. Geetarsh Kaur explains why that is. “The main reason a person is unable to be their authentic self and express their needs to their partner is due to fear of judgment. No matter how cute or small their needs are, they feel they will be judged for them,” she says.
But the bottom line is, no matter how vulnerable we feel talking about our needs, it is better to assert them right at the beginning of the relationship. All of our life we are asked to be mindful of what we say and do. That every action has a consequence. The question you need to ask yourself is whether the compromises and sacrifices that you have made are making you happy. Here are some examples of responses that will help you make your point.
- For the person who loves adventures: I like the outdoors and being active. So, what do I want in a relationship? A person who is interested in traveling, going on adventures, and exploring new places at the drop of a hat
- For the person who is comfortable being alone: I am an introvert, who is very comfortable being alone. I need a partner who has their own interests and hobbies, who understands I need personal space, and will not get insecure when I withdraw to my den for some solitary time. And doesn’t get awkward about long silences
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- When spirituality is important: I am a religious person. And I am looking for a relationship where my spirituality and religion will be respected. I have no objection if my partners have had intimate relations before but I do not want to get intimate before marriage. What do I want in a relationship partner? The ability to understand my needs
- When romance is non negotiable: I am a very romantic person and I want a partner who is romantic too. Someone who will not shy away from PDA. I need a person who is in touch with their emotions, is sensitive, and is a good listener
- For the perons who travels a lot for work: What do I want from a relationship? Security, loyalty, and acceptance. My job entails a lot of traveling, so I need a person who will have faith in me and not get insecure. A person who understands that my profession is also my passion and will be supportive of my dreams and choices
The idea is to put forth your needs, so both you and your partner are aware of what you are getting into. Life is too short to not be picky. Your time is too precious to waste on unhappy relationships. Nevertheless, all of this can only happen when you have figured yourself out. Here are 9 tips to help you figure out how do you want to feel in your relationship
9 Expert Tips To Figure Out What Do You Want In A Relationship
“How do I know what I want in a relationship? To resolve this perennial mystery, there are questions you need to ask yourself to know what do you want in a relationship. As Geetarsh says, “The first thing you need to determine is what is your definition of happiness. What is it that you would like to do more of or see in your life more of? Keeping aside everyone’s expectations, what is it that you want from your life? How do you want to see yourself?”
A healthy relationship is one where you are accepted and loved for being the person you are. Where both the partners get the space to be themselves and are encouraged to become better versions of themselves. This is the kind of relationship that you deserve, and if you are wondering, “how can I get the relationship I want”, then you need to follow these steps:
1. Do not be afraid of being alone
The biggest mistake a person makes is getting into a relationship when they feel lonely. And they feel being in a relationship will get rid of loneliness. The thing people most often forget is that you can be in a relationship and still feel lonely. Getting into a relationship to fill a void in you will make you dependent on your partner. This kind of dependency only leads to toxic behaviors.
In a healthy relationship, your partner enriches your life. Making someone else the reason for your happiness can lead to a lot of hurt in the future. You are the only person responsible for your happiness. Once you are comfortable being on your own, you will be able to address the “what do I want in a relationship” question without worrying about the consequences.
2. Heal yourself
Bad relationships can take a toll on our mental health. If you have been in toxic relationships where you have been gaslighted or manipulated, the after-effects can linger on long after you’ve gotten out of the relationship. The wounds of such toxic connections don’t heal on their own, they need to be treated.
Trauma can warp the way we see ourselves. We develop issues that make us feel we are not worthy of love. Or we might feel guilty about putting our needs before others. These issues must be addressed so that one can get out of the vicious pattern of bad relationships.
Remember everyone deserves to be loved. Online therapy from Bonobology counselors has helped a lot of people to come out of toxic patterns and build healthy relationships. It is always good to know there is help you can count on. Our experts at Bonobology are right here for you if you need someone to fall back on. Once you are at this place mentally, only then you will be able to correctly answer “what do I really want in a relationship”.
3. Figure out who you are as a person
One of the most important steps to figuring out “what is it I am looking for in a relationship” is to figure out who you are as a person. “One needs to be self-aware and accepting of oneself before they go ahead with a relationship. We are taught to please others and cater to their needs. We are asked to be accepting of others. But unfortunately, no one ever teaches us to be accepting of ourselves,” explains Geetarsh.
To answer “what do I want in a relationship”, it is vital to figure out what is important to you. If it is family, then you will want someone who respects your family as much as you do. Similarly, career, being healthy, faith, traveling are some of the criteria to factor in before you get involved with someone.
It’s not just who you are that is important, it is equally vital to know who you want to be. Ask yourself where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, etc. Do you want to get married? Do you want to have kids? What position would you like to hold in your career? All these are critical questions to ask yourself to know what do you want in a relationship.
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4. How do I know what I want in a relationship? Make an ideal mate list
Here is a very interesting exercise that will help you determine “what do I want in a relationship partner”. Make a list of 15 things you want your partner to have. It can be anything. Do you want them to have 6 pack abs? Write it down.
Since no one but you are going to read the list, there is no judgment. You can also put things that you don’t want. For example, if you want a partner who doesn’t cheat, then write down loyal in the list. Don’t think over it too much, just write, it’s ok to fall short or have some more points as well.
Once you are done with the list, highlight the traits that are non-negotiable to you. The idea is to go for an 80/20 percentage. Finding a person who doesn’t check 20% of the boxes is okay. But you have to make sure that none of the non-negotiable are on that list. This list will help you build a good and healthy relationship for you.
5. Identify the deal breakers
Boundaries in a relationship help you realize how you want to feel in your relationship. Boundaries help to grow and nurture a healthy relationship. Know what your deal breakers are and communicate them to your partner. Pay attention to how your partner reacts to your boundaries. That will give you an insight into how they view relationships.
Also, keep in mind their boundaries, flexibility, and reactions to various issues that will be discussed in the conversation. For example, if they tend to invalidate your triggers and later backtrack when they know they have made a mistake, then there is a chance they haven’t understood the urgency of the situation and might ignore your boundaries in the future.
6. Your dreams and goals
When you get into a relationship, the hope is that it will last forever. For that to happen not only do we need a partner who is compatible and understanding of our needs but also someone whose goals and aspirations are complementary to ours.
If you are not looking to get married, if you don’t want kids, or if you are planning to move to a different country in the future, you and your partner need to be on the same page. If you are wondering “what do I want in a relationship partner”, then these are some of the questions you need to ask your partner, that too right at the beginning of the relationship. Not having a partner whose life goals are the same as yours will lead to unnecessary conflicts and hurt in the future.
Related Reading: 13 Tips To Date Online Successfully And Find Your Ideal Partner
7. Work on yourself
Now that you have made the list of things you want in a partner, read it and make a note of how many qualities of the list do you embody. If you are setting up standards for your partner, then it is only fair that you meet them too. You could want a partner who is not insecure, but if you get insecure every time he goes for a boy’s night out or she goes to meet her guy best friend, then your expectations are arbitrary.
If you are asking, “Can I get the relationship I want?”, the answer is yes. But you have to work on yourself too. Relationships are a two-way street. When you develop qualities that you are looking for in a partner, within yourself, there are more chances that you will find someone who matches your wavelength.
8. Be aware of the red flags
When in a relationship, trust your instinct. There are times when you go out with a person, who was so much fun and you had a great time with. Yet, there is an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. There is a voice in your head that keeps saying something is wrong. Listen to the voice.
Sometimes our subconscious is able to catch on to the red flags in a person that we might as such miss out on. For instance, it could be something as simple as him talking a good game of respecting women but ignoring the women who are with you. When you respect women, you respect all women and not just the one woman you are dating. Your subconscious is trying to tell you how do you want to feel in your relationship, listen to it.
9. Give it time
Once you have figured out ‘what do I want in a relationship’ and how to get it, half your battles are won. But the mistake that people make is not being patient about the process. For some people, the result can be instantaneous, but for most, the process takes time.
Prepare yourself, work on yourself while you wait. If you are not in the right frame of mind, then no matter how amazing the relationship is, it will take a major hit. To nurture a healthy relationship, you need time. So, give yourself time, give your partner time. All good things come to those who wait.
When you ask yourself, “What do I want in a relationship?”, your answer might be different from what your parents, siblings, or friends think you need and that’s completely all right. At the end of the day, it is you who knows yourself the best. You are the one who has to deal with the consequences of your choices.
So, think it over and introspect, look at your past relationships and why they didn’t work out. Look at the couples around you, see what problems they face, and also how to they work on their problems. All these things will help you answer “what is it I am looking for in a relationship”.
And once you have that figured out. Assert your needs. There will always be things you need to compromise on. It is best to establish right in the beginning what things are acceptable and what is non-negotiable for you in a relationship. The sooner you do this, the better the chances of you having a healthy relationship.
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