Here’s how to set relationship goals
When you’re at the start of a new relationship you have a magnificent opportunity to set some goals for how you envision your future. A lot of the challenges that people face within relationships stem from not truly knowing what it is they want, or not having the confidence to voice it. Setting goals is easy once you know how and the more you practice and do the foundation work, the better the results you’ll see.
Your own goals and milestones
There are some common milestones within relationships that many of us aspire to simply because it’s the done thing, such as moving in together, marriage or kids. Before getting caught up in all those prescribed steps however, take a look at your own life and consider whether these are the stages you want to experience. Think about what they mean to you, as an individual. Think about the type of life you want to lead, your priorities, where you see yourself in a couple of years time.
Do you want to find a man who has travelled a lot, or a man who sees a future island hopping with you, who is adventurous, open to lavish and spontaneous trips that you take turns in planning?
Are you looking to meet a woman who has her own money, or do you want to date a woman who allows you the freedom to be in a relationship without feeling responsible for maintaining her lifestyle, who looks to you for emotional support and physical intimacy, rather than financial?
These distinctions are important because you are unique and need to be clear about what is right for you. Before you even enter into a relationship, use the time that you have to mentally picture and create what it is you want to experience. Although going with the flow and simply seeing where a relationship takes you can feel liberating at the time, the real liberation is in knowing you’ve hidden nothing and know what you want.
Your new partner
So as well as deciding what sort of experiences you want to have and the goals of a relationship, you should have a think about the person you want to spend this time with.
Starting with them as individuals, what is it that is important to you above all else? What are their life goals and ambitions, do they want children, do they come from a large family, have a big group of friends, or are they deeply spiritual and encouraging of your own love for all things yoga and meditation? This is what you need to consider before dating a person. They are the things that may not affect you in the early stages of a relationship but will the more time that goes by.
A partner with no friends will seem perfect in the beginning if you enjoy him lavishing all his time on you, but when you realise two years later that he detests socialising and you’ll never holiday with other couples, it may feel too late to complain.
Another great reason for knowing what it is you need from a partner is that you then have some very early and clear choices about what it is you’ll be flexible with and compromise on. You’re able to make decisions knowing they’re important ones, without convincing yourself that something never really mattered, as a lot of people do in the moment.
Your partner and other people
Whilst of course you need to think about how your new partner would ideally treat you, paying attention to how they treat other people is just as important. Having lots of attention and feeling like the centre of her world may feel marvellous, but if she ignores her own children, is rude to her friends, or has zero respect for her family, or she stopped texting me everyday, you may want to think twice about your future together.
Likewise, when you’re deciding on what sort of relationship experience you want to have, think about how you would like your partner to interact with people they don’t know. A person’s true nature can often and unwittingly be exposed in the moments where their actions have little immediate consequences, or any real impact on their daily life.
Setting goals for your entire relationship world, means looking outside of just both of your immediate circles.
Be clear on your dating profile
Doing all the above prep work is useless if you don’t put any of it into action or are too afraid to communicate it to the significant other who walks into your life. Expressing your needs in a dating profile where you’re not scared of coming across as too needy, too alpha male/female, or asking for too much is essential. We’re not saying you should write a manifesto about your life and unshakable expectations, simply that if something means a lot to you, it’s probably best you are open and clear about it in the first instance.
Any fears you have about being too forward on your dating profile, or indeed on your first date, can be tempered with the knowledge that if someone is right for you and they want the same things, they probably won’t be put off by your honesty. Of course, how you write it and how you communicate it in person will matter greatly, but the information is just that – information, and people need to know what you want.
Most important of all, you need to try to stick to your guns. Just because someone comes along who looks like an Adonis and is eye-wateringly rich, it doesn’t mean all your goals need shoot out the window, without so much as a second glance. This sort of diversion usually has short-lived perks that don’t amount to the value of what you really need. Keep your eye on the long-term prize, unless you’re really after short term fun. Look out for attributes that match what you want, stay aware of those that don’t and make conscious decisions.
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