Choosing the right person isn’t about deciding once and then forgetting about it, it’s about deciding that you’ll have to re-evaluate as time goes by.
In this article I’d like to broaden your perspective regarding the importance of questioning your relationships in general, but especially your relationship with your partner, and of making different decisions based on both your experience and values.
The problem of not questioning your relationship
Often, it seems that you have to make quite an effort to decide whether or not the person you choose is “right” for you.
Then you assess whether:
- they have similar values
- they are social
- they can speak and seek solutions to problems
- they include you in their future
It’s good to take all this into account.
It’s important to consider it.
But what doesn’t seem so good to me is that once you decide “yes, this is the right person” you never ask the same question again.
Don’t people change?
Don’t you change?
Don’t life’s experiences make you grow and evolve?
Don’t your values change with age?
If you can ask yourself
- whether or not you like the life you have
- whether you want to change or stay in the same job
- whether your friends no longer provide anything, and you need new friends
Why can’t you do that with your relationship?
It’s as if a couple’s relationship had a different “status”.
It may be conditioned by the ideas of “getting married for life” or “choosing the right person for life”
In my daily practice as a psychologist, I can tell you that I’ve met many people who are surprised because their relationship “is no longer what it was.”
They even “hold on” to relationships that don’t fulfill or aid them, just because they decided that “that was the right person” long ago.
The problem with decisions that are made only once, is that you can spend your life next to a person who doesn’t really satisfy you or make you happy.
The fear of making a mistake
The fear of making a mistake is the basis of these “once in a lifetime” decisions.
Of course, if you can only decide once, you have as much chance of being wrong as you are of being right.
Clearly, if you’ve taken the time to reflect on what your relationship brings, you may have a better “chance” of making the right decision.
But tell me one thing:
Do relationships come with a guarantee?
I don’t think they do.
Who can guarantee that you or your partner will feel exactly the same now as they will 1, 5 or 10 years from now?
We don’t know.
And yet, we often make decisions BEFORE having the experience to assess whether the decision we made was right.
What often happens, is that until we experience it, we won’t know.
How can you know if living with someone will be good if you’ve never lived with them before?
Evaluate your relationship based on your experience
Imagine that you make the decision and choose a person who seems like the right person for you.
The relationship continues and you’re doing well.
But the time has come to move in together.
When living together, new challenges will arise that you’ll have to overcome.
- It isn’t the same to see someone for a while or a weekend than every day.
- It isn’t the same to imagine how you’ll distribute the house chores than to make a list and actually distribute them.
- It isn’t the same to imagine that each one will do their part, than having to negotiate, and deal with what happens when you don’t.
And you may be mature enough to overcome these challenges and grow as people.
But you could also:
- Disagree and one of you ends up doing most of the housework.
- When you have a problem, one doesn’t want to talk or seek solutions
- In an argument, you disrespect each other
Now you have some experience that will help you make a better decision.
But of course, if you keep thinking that “they’re the right person” because you decided so…
You run the risk of being trapped by your decision.
Looking for solutions
I’m not saying that if there are problems in a relationship, one must leave.
Not at all.
First, solutions must be sought.
But “looking for solutions” is already a way of questioning whether the decision you made some time ago regarding your partner is still the right one.
If the couple is motivated to work and improve their relationship, they could ask themselves questions such as:
- What does this relationship need to make it succeed?
- How is the communication between us?
- Can we resolve our differences?
- Are we missing something or need to get rid of something?
- What can we do differently?
- Can we look at this situation differently?
Once these questions are answered, you need to act, because it’s useless to reach agreements if they aren’t implemented.
That would only lengthen your dissatisfaction in the relationship.
But looking for solutions and implementing them helps water and nurture your relationship.
If you hesitate whether to continue with your relationship or not
The time could also come when, despite loving your partner and thinking that “they were the right person” for a while, experience has helped you see things differently.
Perhaps it’s no longer that clear if you want to continue in that relationship or not.
You’re already doubting whether they’re “the right person”
Then, you could ask yourself these questions:
- What did I base myself on when I decided they were the “right person”?
- Are those characteristics still there or have they disappeared?
- Does this relationship still give me what’s important to me?
- Is it “worth” continuing?
Here are more questions to reflect on.
In that case, you’ll have to question your relationship again and re-choose whether or not they are the right person.
If they aren’t, it may be time to take a step in a different direction, even if sometimes this decision can be dizzying.
The importance of choosing the right person every day
Would you rather know that your partner continues to choose you TODAY because they still value what you have or because they chose you a long time ago and haven’t reconsidered it?
And I’ll ask you the same:
Would you rather stay with your partner because they still contribute to the relationship, and you continue to enjoy it or because you dedicated some time to choose “the right person” a long time ago?
I know what I’d want.
When you choose them every day:
- You confirm your commitment to wanting to be with that person
- You tell yourself and them that you want to stay with them
- You value every moment that you spend in that relationship
At any time, they or you could choose something different.
And that’s what gives value to the fact that you continue to choose each other TODAY.
Of course, “every day” is a way of speaking.
I don’t question my relationship constantly.
If you do, then I can say that something isn’t working.
And you’ll need to find out what.
But occasionally, you do need to “check” or “question” whether you want to stay next to the person you’re with, especially when changes make the relationship shake.
And if at any point these decisions become too hard to make, you can also get some help.