Ali, a student at a local college, came to see me to manage sexual discomfort. As we explored Ali’s relationships, it became clear that Ali gave little to no thought about who was a good friend and who might be a trustworthy lover. When I gave the homework assignment of writing a list of ten things that make a good partner [“Come closer”] and ten things that shout “Stay away,” Ali was flummoxed.
“You can have specifications? I don’t even know what I want in a partner. What do I look for?”
The main thing to pay attention to is how you feel while with the person, but more importantly, when you are not with the person. We can have a delightful time, an intense time, a hard time with someone. How we feel after those experiences matter a great deal.
Do you feel Empty? Blank? Happy? Content? Gently awake? Abuzz? Do you want more time with that person? If yes, do you want more time in order to continue a conversation? To correct a feared wrong impression? Do you feel empty waiting to be with that person? Do you feel calm and connected when not with the person? Answers to this small inventory show us many things about the people we spend time with..
Loving on Life’s Terms means seeing the people we are with clearly. It also means seeing our responses and reactions to the people in our lives clearly. Seek people who energize you more often than not. Spend time with people who leave you feeling whole and hopeful.