I asked myself a question, “why do I want a long-term relationship” some time ago. I had to do some soul searching because we take this so much for granted.
Is it because we are supposed to have one?
Historically, women were traditionally often involved with men in co-dependent relationships based on defined roles, which assumed that women needed men to provide financial support in exchange for producing heirs and lifelong caretaking.
We are biologically wired, and nature wants us to reproduce and pass on our genes.
As our culture evolved, and women no longer assumed dependent roles in relationships with men, new roles were defined.
But what happens when you cross the age of reproducing? Or, in some cases, women voluntarily don’t want to have children by choice.
Still, society and the media send messages that women must be perfect and flawless in all respects.
Whereas men are shown as outwardly strong, and it is acceptable to be angry, but not sad, vulnerable, or outwardly emotional.
If we let these misleading messages influence us, they can destroy us and our relationships.
We have observed, some tend to take more than give in relationships.
All my friends got married, so I wanted to get married. My number one wrong reason.
And when I found a person I thought was right, all my focus and energy were on my dream wedding (which I am very grateful for to my family for fulfilling all my desires) rather than how I was going to make my marriage successful.
It was the wedding vs. marriage between two souls. And I gave all my attention to the wedding.
My number two wrong reason. Growing up in India, all I heard around me – a piece of advice given to a woman – was to keep quiet for the first two years of the marriage and get used to it.
Wrong advice. But that’s exactly what I did. Wrong move. That is like taking a voice away from someone and their authenticity.
But I held the fort because I believed that marriage is for once, plus I didn’t have the guts to say anything until I cracked, which resulted from a struggle conforming to traditional values and my desire to fulfill my emotional need.
The reasons to be in a long-term relationship has to be right and not have any ulterior motive.
When looking for a long-term relationship, I feel everyone should look within and honestly find out what their reasons are.
And the morning of April 9, 2020, while reading my morning prayers meditating on a line, this thought came back to me again, and because of these recurrent thoughts, I decided to document them this time.
Being a realist, though, I also say that we are not always all sorted out before getting into a relationship. But what your reason is to look for a long-term relationship is something to think about.
When we challenge our expectations and beliefs, we can make a shift so that we can have an amazingly romantic, healthy lifetime partnership.
So, choose wisely . . . because YOU . . . deserve a joyful relationship.
There seems to be a lot of grey areas and overlapping between needs and wants. It can get confusing and controversial for some.
Each person has a unique set of needs and wants that they think are essential for the long-term relationship to thrive.
Your needs and wants are two essential things to know before getting into a relationship.
When you feel you need someone for certain things and that will complete yourself, you become clingy, and it can be detrimental to you and your partner.
You must complete yourself. You must find happiness within yourself. At the same time, a combination of needs and wants may work together in balance to have a successful and emotionally committed long-term relationship.
Connect with yourself and do some soul searching to see what profound needs (things you must have in your life regardless where and how they are met) and wants (desires or cherry on the top) are essential to your long-term relationship satisfaction.
Also, identify your non-negotiable needs, which are basic requirements that will not work for you at all in your relationship.
It is our responsibility to understand and communicate what we need in a relationship versus what we want.
Our intentions are often buried deep down, and we need someone to show to us and objectively talk to us so that we can decide for ourselves.
These needs and wants can be broken down even further to get a clearer picture of yourself.
2. Do I want/need someone to take care of me?
Another important question to ask yourself in a relationship is, are you afraid of being alone or feeling lonely, and you want someone to take care of you and your problems?
In a committed relationship, it is important to take care of oneself first to take care of your partner.
It is also important to be actively being self- aware in the relationship working on constantly improving yourself or else you will drag your partner down with you.
When we neglect ourselves, we lose our identity, which can bring resentment toward our partner.
Of course, if the situation arises for you to take care of your partner, you will do whatever it needs at the moment because love is all about being there in thick and thin and not running away from the situation.
Don’t forget that some things are beyond our control, but you can have control over yourself.
So, be aware of how you respond to your emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical needs and take care of your own outer and inner desires in a long-term relationship.
3. Do I want/need someone to meet my sexual needs or sexual adventures?
Sexual intimacy is crucial for a fulfilling relationship for some but may not be the only factor for others.
A new and well-conducted investigation by Debrot et al. (2017) points to the role not of the sex itself, but of the affection that accompanies sexuality between partners.
Over a series of four separate studies, Debrot and her fellow researchers were able to pinpoint how everyday kissing, hugging, and touch between partners contribute uniquely to relationship satisfaction and overall well-being.
The need for affection and sex are often confused, especially by men.
Would you like to have sex to create a bond with your partner or just to satisfy your sexual needs and adventures?
4. Do you need someone to show off in public?
For some men and women, they want an arm candy. For some, marriage is a status symbol just because society has set that standard.
You hear this all the time when you see a single person, that she or he may be difficult or finicky and hence are unable to find a partner.
But it is your life, and you must figure out what works for you and your partner. It takes two to tango. You must fit in with each other, like the pieces of a puzzle.
5. Do I want/need someone to do/fix things around me?
Women – Are you looking for someone handy to fix things around you?
Men – Are you looking for someone who will cook, clean, and do all the household chores that you don’t know how to do or are tired of doing yourself?
“The degree to which housework is shared is one of the most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction. And husbands benefit too since studies show that women feel more sexually attracted to partners who pitch in.” – Stephanie Coontz.
6. Do I want/need someone to ease my financial life?
Are you looking for a partner just because you feel tired of working, or you feel you have worked enough?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sonali Kukreja is a Certified Relationship & Life Coach, Psychologist, Visual Artist, Writer and an Ordained Minister. Her Ph.D research studied Marital Adjustment as she was always interested in working with intimate relationships. Being divorced herself, she made her a mission to help others by presenting thought provoking questions and spreading awareness about relationships. Born and raised in India she currently lives in South Florida, United States.