It's normal to yearn for a companion and to want to share our lives with another and in our community it can be a battlefield looking for the right companion. Sometimes we can mistake sex for being the most important thing in a partner.
Sometimes we crave a variety of different things that the other person cannot give – and it's not wrong that they cannot do that. We all have different needs and different capacities to meet the needs of others however I believe we have the best chance of finding the right partner for us once we have done a bit of work on ourselves and also when we are clear on what our own needs are. It also helps to get clear on what healthy intimacy truly is and if are really prepared to receive it..
Robert Weiss defines intimacy as 'the experience of being known and appreciated over time – one individual discovering the true inner life of another – more than feelings of immediate intensity and excitement.'
If the initial thrill of a relationship starts to fade it is important to know what it is that will sustain the relationship after that point. Getting clear on our needs first is part of the work I mentioned earlier. Some of the needs that seem to be basic for most of us is that we need to feel safe, we need to feel encouraged, we need to feel supported, we need to be responded to when we make contact, we need to be acknowledged, there needs to be consistency, we need to feel respected and appreciated, we need to feel attended to and valued. If we are not having most of these needs met by the person we are with then there is a good chance that there is a lack of intimacy.
If you are the kind of guy who seeks out, perhaps unconsciously, aloof or unavailable partners or partners who are unavailable or incapable of responding or communicating in a fundamental way there is a way to take responsibility for yourself and your situation. First of all rather than searching for the next one to wash away the pain of the last one you can take practical steps towards creating or attracting a healthy love relationship. Some of the answers are in making your personal 'self care' work in this area the priority. This includes starting to journal about feelings and needs to get clarity around your behaviour, attending therapy groups that help you develop healthy intimacy, getting personal therapy one on one regarding these behaviours, spending time building relationships with others who understand your challenges and people who are capable of being available and willing to help when you are struggling. Also scheduling time carefully on weekends and free time in order to make sure intimacy needs are being met when you are single as well as when you are in a relationship. If you are a member of a 12 step group it will be about setting clear boundaries around the types of potential partners you are going to get involved with so that you can protect yourself from falling into old unhelpful patterns, reading materials and articles on the same topics so that you can empower yourself with knowledge and skills that offer you the best chance for finding your right partner, quiet time for self-reflection, spirituality, yoga, meditation , self-care and exercise as well as a comfortable home space.
The journey to finding a safe and loving romantic relationship can be a long road. It doesn't just happen. For many of us it is a journey and can be a difficult and challenging one. It is possible to support ourselves on this journey.
Finally I believe the most important part of this journey incorporates a lot of the actions mentioned above but also definitely includes how we take responsibility for our journey and our search for love. We are all co-creators of any relationship we ever go into with 50% of the responsibility. No matter what happens in our attempts that do not satisfy we always need to ask 'What part did I play in this?' It is really easy to blame and much harder to own the reality of the things that are a repetition of old patterns or themes. So while you are practicing all these positive and supportive actions also ask yourself 'Am I taking responsibility for my choices?' This may be the fastest way in the long run to your finding real love.