Have you ever stopped to really consider who should you be with?
Most of us find ourselves in relationships without much thought. Somehow, someway you cross each others paths, hit if off; and wham, bam, thank you mam...you just find yourselves “together”.
But how many of us ever actually stop to really consider who we should be with before we commit to a relationship?
For me personally, this is something only brought to my attention fairly recently. An older and wiser friend of mine, who only stopped to think about it age 45 after two failed marriages, pointed out that it was no wonder I hadn’t found the right partner when I hadn’t stopped to think about who the right partner for me actually was.
Now for the science...
Anyway, according to scientists…the vast majority of us decide to be with people based on good old chemistry and physiology. This is because the human body is wired to trick us into making babies – ergo subconsciously prioritising who we most fancy a good shag with, not who’s actually most suitable for proper partnership.
The subconscious biological responses is so strong, akin to taking hard drugs, that you fancy someone enough at the beginning to overlook any potential “red flags” of incompatibility, and you dive straight in, because that’s the romantic thing to do right?
Yeah it’s romantic, but according to psychologists it’s also the reason why 40-50 per cent of marriages end in divorce these days - depending on where in the world you’re based. Before anyone panics, apparently this is the lowest level in the 40 years since it’s been acceptable to live together before tying the knot - so things are definitely on the up. Praise the lord for letting us live in sin.
Attachment style can prevent us choosing the right mate
Now if luck would have it that you’re the 50 per cent of the population who have a healthy sense of relationships and ‘secure’ attachment (you can read about that here) then, huzzah – well done! Chances are you’ve subconsciously made a wise decision and signed yourself up for a healthy partnership. Which if course comes with a healthy dose of irritation because das life.
However, if you’re a member of the other 50 per cent of the population who is anxiously attached…then following your gut (or loins) without any logical analysis is likely to end in heartbreak. You can read about why here.
Logical list of love
Apparently the best thing to do is instead formulate a lovely logical list of all the values you find important in a relationship or partner and then rigorously stick to it, even more so when you fancy that person like mad.
Turns out the School of Life has developed a fun card game specifically with this in mind. My cousin stumbled across it with her friend in a shop one day, and we then played it last weekend – hence this post.
Play the game
The game is literally called “Who Should I Be With?”. It contains 60 cards and retails for about a tenner. Each card has a character trait on one side and the opposite trait on the reverse; listing the pros and cons of each to help guide you to more successful choices in love. Together you go through the deck and you select 6 of your “must-have” traits for a partner.
We’re not talking things like “dark hair” or “nice butt” here, we’re talking things like “very confident on the dance-floor versus refuses to dance ever”, “obsessed with their mother versus doesn’t talk to their mother” and “needs to arrive to the airport four hours early versus always a last minute dash to get to the gate before it closes”. They then go into more detailed personality and relationship attributes that would go hand in hand with these to give you a flavour of the kind of partner and relationship you’d be signing up for.
You think it would be obvious what to choose because surely we’re all looking for the same things but interestingly my cousin and I, who’ve had very similar upbringings, went for totally opposite traits.
Now once you’ve got your six, you have to select two to compromise on (flip over to the negative trait) – because we all have to accept that the perfect person just doesn’t exist. We’re all human and that means we’re all flawed. Heh heh!
The idea is to then use these traits as your guide for searching for the right partner, rather than just saying yes to whoever you fancy that crosses your path by luck. And to play the game on and off as you learn more about yourself, what works, what doesn’t work so you can fine tune yourself into a healthy partnership.
Logic can help guide your luck
Now I’m not saying that I don’t love a bit of good old fashioned luck, fate and romance. I actually happened to meet an ex-partner on Twitter through a very random stroke of it and we were together for a couple of years. I also know a few people who’ve met their partners on Tinder. I’m also a massive believer that the right people and opportunities cross your path at the right time and you can’t force the right thing to materialise.
But, what I am saying that it seems like taking time to stop and really consider who you should be with before jumping into things can only be a good thing. And that this is particularly important if you’ve got a habit of welcoming less-than suitable partners into your life.
Aside from that it’s also really good fun watching other people sift through the cards to realise that the partner they really want is actually very different from the partner they think they want.
I highly recommend having a go if you’re single or popping in the stocking of that friend or family member who seems stuck in a relationship rut next Christmas.