Are you guilty of an instant relationship?
In this day and age we are used to getting everything at high speed – order something online and it is there the next day; if you want information about anything, no matter how obscure, it is there at your fingertips courtesy of Google. We are also much more used to complaining if what we ordered doesn’t fit with our expectations; this is fine if you are ordering a sofa but when it comes to relationships it can become a block to finding the right partner.
Relationships don’t come ready made – they are more of a flat pack.
People who are guilty of instant relationships often begin the relationship in their heads and are five steps ahead of their date. Once the relationship is underway they usually have an expectation of their new love coming fully informed of their likes and dislikes, already able to trust them implicitly and 100% committed to the relationship. The misconception often arises because online profiles can give the impression that a person is fully committed to a long term relationship, having children or living in the countryside etc. Just because they have said that they want to do these things doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to do them with you – straight away – they need to find the right person. Even if you are sure that you are the right person it will still take time for them to get to know you and to figure it out for themselves.
Do you have a situation vacant sign and are just waiting for the right candidate?
Some people approach relationships like they are recruiting for a job. They often have very fixed ideas of gender roles and the part a new boy/girlfriend would play in their life. Men may say they want a girlfriend to cook, look after them and make them feel macho. Women may say they want a new partner to fix things around the house, cut the lawn or to make them feel safe and protected. These are obviously generalisations but it is worth checking what your own expectations of a new partner are.
Problems often arise when a new partner is expected to fulfil these fixed roles straight away regardless of their abilities or personal interests. It takes time to get to know someone well enough to be able to ask them to get involved in your domestic affairs. The role a person comes to play in your life will be based on them as an individual, on your relationship together and a developing mutual partnership where each person is allowed to contribute what they want to rather than according to a fixed idea of what they should do.
Second time around
Roles are often more fixed, and the likelihood of someone wanting an instant relationship is increased, when people have lost a long term partner. Whether it was through bereavement or divorce if you have been in a relationship for many years and then find yourself on your own it can feel like there is a chasm in your life that you desperately want to fill. A new partner will never be able to step into someone else’s shoes. It is important that you give yourself time to grieve the loss of your old relationship before embarking on a new one. If this doesn’t happen then you may find yourself trying to fit a new partner into a role that they can never fully live up to and ultimately it is unfair on them and on you.
A new mummy or daddy
If you have been left with children it can be very tempting to quickly find a replacement for the lost parent as much for the children as for yourself. It is hard work bringing up children on your own but it is better to enlist the help of friends and family rather than to introduce a new partner into their lives too soon. Give yourself time to really get to know someone before you take them home to meet your children, six months is a good rule of thumb. This will give you enough time to see someone in a variety of different situations, and to develop a solid relationship that is based on just the two of you.
Although instant may be good in many areas of modern life when it comes to relationships it is better to take your time and build solid foundations. Have flexible ideas of the role a new partner can play in your life – and you in theirs – and remember everyone is an individual with unique strengths and weaknesses.
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