Stronger at the Broken Places

How challenges can strengthen your relationship

Are All the Good Men and Women Really Taken?

Six ways to find out

Charlie and I have heard vast numbers of people making this claim over the years. My point of view is it only takes one. You may have to kiss a few frogs in the process but that’s a small price to pay for what could be a great outcome. It is true however, finding a qualified partner can be a daunting challenge. I'll be the first to admit that there are some trials and tribulations to go through in sorting through the possibilities. It's not a walk in the park to find somebody who will pair up with you, make a contract to support your development, won't bail when things get hot, who can stand the heat, and work with you to create the partnership of your dreams.

So why bother even going through this demanding process?  Isn’t it easier and less stressful to save yourself the trouble and stay out of the dating game altogether? After all, if you’re convinced that there's nobody out there who's available, who's really worth being in relationship with, then why should you even try?  Then again, it is somewhat arrogant to write off half the world’s population.

Many people embrace the idea that “all the good ones are already taken” because it protects them from the possibility of the rejection, disappointment, pain, or loss that can accompany the quest for love. Some of those who hold this position have a tendency to collect “evidence” usually from others who share this belief, that affirms their view. The perspective that the situation is hopeless has the advantage of justifying the avoidance of emotional risks inherent in the initiation of new relationships. Some prefer to find “friends” with whom they can commiserate and find solace and sympathy.

The truth is that there is no shortage of qualified, decent, worthwhile eligible partners out there. They are not, however likely to come knocking on your door without an invitation. And if your standards are such that you require your ideal mate to be perfect, be prepared to be disappointed (unless you’re perfect yourself).

But whether you live in Manhattan or in North Dakota, whether you’re 19 or 90, whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, whether you like country music or classical, there are people with whom it is possible to create true, lasting, and loving partnerships. What it takes is:

  1. The willingness to risk involvement and emotional engagement.
  2. The intention to BECOME the partner of your dreams, rather than just trying to FIND him or her.
  3. The commitment to hang in there without getting discouraged even if you do end up having to kiss a few frogs 
  4. The ability to be selective about who you talk and listen to, and pay less attention to your nay-saying friends
  5. A commitment to do your own work to become a more loving, authentic, and trustworthy person.
  6. And the patience, trust and faith that make it possible to hang in there and enjoy the ride between now and the time that you get to invalidate this belief!

Linda Bloom, L.C.S.W., and Charlie Bloom, M.S.W., are the authors of Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love.

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