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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

Potential Partners:
How to Determine Them

Searching for potential dating and partner prospects often seems like a long road trip. There are signs along the way, and, if you don’t pay attention to them, you can get lost. Just as on a trip, it’s important to be aware of certain emotional and mental “signs” that can help you to determine if someone is “right” for you or worth pursuing.

When going on a long road trip, it’s usually a good idea to have a map of some kind, unless you know the way very well. And, unless you are an expert at “dating,” you could probably use a plan of sorts to keep you on track of your goals.

There are some definite characteristics present when chemistry between people exists. The following is a short list of some important guidelines to consider when you reach a certain point after meeting someone.

1. How well do you communicate? Do you both listen as well as you talk? Do you feel that each of you is comfortable saying what’s on your mind? This is probably the most important issue to address, because if communication isn’t happening, there is little hope for any success at a long-term relationship. Generally, people who truly care about you will listen as well as they express themselves.

2. How “natural” does it feel to be around each other? When there is natural chemistry, it’s very evident. There is no need to feel like one has to act like someone else or think about every word or gesture; it just feels “right” to be around someone. This, too, is very important. If you find that you always have to wonder what someone is thinking about you, an uneasiness can creep into the relationship that can cause problems later. You should always feel as though you can be yourself in the presence of someone you plan to be spending a lot of time with. You shouldn’t have to compromise who you are to be in a relationship. Much of this has to do with self-esteem. You should make each other feel good about yourselves, while encouraging growth. When people don’t feel good about themselves, they tend to try to take others down with them. It’s also hard to feel good about someone else when you don’t feel good about yourself.

3. Do you feel as though you trust each other? Trust, not only creates a basis for the best relationships, but will also serve to foster much more growth within the relationship. It’s no secret that lack of trust dooms a relationship. Trusting each other begins with the belief that each person is doing the best that they can in the relationship and maintaining realistic expectations is a key to this.

4. Is your life enhanced by being together? Your quality of life should increase when you are in a relationship. You should feel like your own, your partner’s and your goals as a couple are in sync in terms of agreement. A great relationship possesses the components of a productive partnership in terms of professional, personal and spiritual support. Being with someone who does not agree with your lifestyle or life goals is counter-productive, no matter how much “fun” you may be having. And if all you are having is a “great time,” stop and ask yourself if that is really enough. It could be that it is, but always remember that if you have life or relationship goals, you should never have to forsake them just to be involved with someone.

5. One of the best tests to determine if someone really is relationship material, is, would this person be your friend if you weren’t romantically involved? Friendship is just as important as anything else in any relationship, sometimes more so. “Friends first” is usually better as “friends always.” People are better together if their qualities are desirable even if you are not in a relationship. True friendship is present if you would still have this person in your life if you were not in a relationship.

6. Do you share commonalities? Aside from hobbies and other activities, having a unified direction spiritually, socially, financially and economically creates cohesiveness. If you cannot agree on fundamental values, it is unlikely that you will go very far or for very long. Just being together is not enough; there must be growth potential, and this is accomplished through fundamental commonality.

7. How much a part of each other’s lives are you? As you get to know someone, it is natural that they will want you to know their friends, family and others that are important to them in their lives. And meeting those people gives you a better sense of who each other really is. People who are serious about becoming partners want to include each other in their lives by getting to know the others in their lives.

8. Is the relationship equal in terms of give and take? When people are willing to give – whether it’s time, expertise or even money, without being asked, it demonstrates a level of care and seriousness. When something is done by one or the other with good intentions, it's an investment in the future of two people.

It’s important to get to know who people are for their values rather than surface issues. These guidelines can serve as a template in measuring where a relationship stands, and may be indicative of whether or not you are on the same wavelength. And it’s a good way to get to know who a person really is, by what their viewpoints are on those issues. The way people behave in terms of those issues is also a good way to determine a person’s interest. Once you have determined where you stand, you can decide which way to proceed with someone and whether or not it’s a good idea to continue to get to know them or consider them a potential life partner.

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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