What essential qualities make for a happy, long-term relationship? We find out
Here’s why it’s important to find a relationally self-aware partner and not focus only on materialistic elements such as job, income and appearance.
Published : 28 Jul 2017, 17:32
People would have heard about perfect couples who stick together through thick and thin, supporting each other when the going gets rough. But the most poetic description of sustainable love that one can come across is from Alexandra Solomon, a psychologist.
In a recent article in The Independent written by Solomon showed readers how to look for a partner who is also relationally self-aware. Solomon shared why it’s important to find a relationally self-aware partner and she told that “external trappings” - think jobs, income, appearance, tend to “come and go”.
She noted, “When I get laid off or when you get transferred, you want somebody who has the tools that it takes to sit in all of that complexity of: How do we value your job needs versus my job needs? What comes up in me when you tell me that you want to move us across the country? How do we work shoulder-to-shoulder, side-by-side on that kind of stuff? That to me is far more important than the job description somebody has.”
Though, it is really difficult to learn about someone’s relational self-awareness level on the first few dates. But if you notice that the person blows up at the waiter for bringing them the wrong drink, or screams at another driver who cut them off, that’s not a great sign.
In the article, Solomon also suggests paying attention to how the person talks about their past relationships. She wrote, “People who don’t have much relational self-awareness tell stories (especially love stories) that are full of blame and shame. They tend to cast themselves as victims and other people as suckers, losers, or fools.”
On the other hand, a relationally self-aware person might say something like, “It wasn’t the right time for us,” or “It was painful, but I learned from the experience.” As Solomon puts it, they can appreciate the “shades of gray”. Once you’re in a relationship, notice how the person handles himself/herself during conflicts.
Solomon concluded by saying that it’s pretty useless to try to “get” your partner to become more relationally self-aware. “A better bet is to try working on your own relational self-awareness and act as a role model for them.”
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