Perhaps you’re meeting men who don’t fit the archetypal ‘bad boy’ pattern, but who are reluctant to be in a committed relationship. Sadly, you haven’t realised that their priorities are different to yours until you are already emotionally involved.
In this kind of situation, defining your core values can be hugely useful. Dating psychologist and coach Madeleine Mason suggests asking yourself, ‘What is important to me in life? What am I not prepared to compromise on?’ She continues: ‘By being authentic and genuine, which requires a certain amount of bravery, we are in a better place to find someone who is good for us. For example, if you have a core value that is, “I want to build a family,” there’s little point in going out with someone who values a child-free, action-packed life.’
For some of us, expressing our core values can feel like a difficult thing to do, particularly if we fear rejection. Mason, co-founder of Passionsmiths.com, often recommends that clients practise asking for things they want in safer environments. Start small; go shopping and ask for a specific product, or order off-menu in a restaurant.
‘This is about gaining confidence in asking for what you want and seeing that it’s OK to ask for it,’ explains Mason. This kind of confidence-building helps us to be clear about what we want in other, more important areas, such as where we see ourselves in five years and how we see a potential partner fitting in with that.
This requires you having an idea about what you want in the next five years, beyond a relationship. Mason believes that people who can answer that question are always more likely to be committed to a relationship, so it’s a good question to ask potential dates.
And even better – get clear about what that looks like for you, too. By knowing what you want and need in your life, you are more likely to know what you want and need in a relationship.