Growing up in a small NW Ontario town, I only had a few examples of love to compare to what I wanted in my own life. The highest example that I've witnessed, were my Grandparents.
I knew what they had was real. The way they were just with each other, the inside jokes, the deep caring and friendship they had. I deduced that if what they had was real then it was possible for me to find love.
After much trial and error, through many years and different relationships, I know exactly what I want and don't want in a partner. Although I haven't found it yet, at least I know what I'm looking for.
Should you listen to someone who hasn't had complete success in this realm yet? I know what I've gone through and what I've learned. Maybe some of this will apply to you and maybe none of it will. If in sharing what I've learned helps one person avoid heartache, then it's all worth it.
So read on or don't, it's up to you!
Intimacy and Closeness
No, I don't mean sex, you dirty minded apes :p It's a part of the deal but only a part.
I mean REAL intimacy.
A spiritual and emotional connection between two people that is built upon a truthful dialectic that builds a foundation and trust that can support a relationship that reaches to the stars!
I will never settle for anything less than the real thing. There won't be a half-assed love in my future. There will not be anything make-believe about it and I will never be a part of someone's immature and manipulative tricks or tactics.
If you're too immature and selfish to take responsibility when you fuck up, this won't work. People will make mistakes, I understand this, but if you can't or won't own them, properly apologize and do something about the hurt or wrong you've caused, then please see yourself out.
Oh and for fuck sake, when you in one breath deflect from the issue at hand and try to project your anger onto me for getting called out for YOUR crappy behavior, over something minor ... are you 5? No, stop it. Just don't. Get help.
Shitty behavior BTW is fractal and exponential, if they manipulate you on the small stuff, it doesn't matter how big the issue gets, they'll do far worse. It will be a war of millimeters, bad behavior (see list below) will ratchet up one mm at a time, just to the point of you complaining and then stop until you feel comfortable again. (For an example of this, see my article on reactive anger.)
Have a line that no one can cross, make them aware of it and aware of the consequences. Then hold to that, you can't be weak, if you set a boundary, you have to hold to it or they will know how to manipulate you.
Emotional hide and seek
If you're a girl that doesn't know how or can't express herself, including the dark parts of your soul (we all have them). I want to hear your truth, what made you the person you are, the person I am attracted to. It's natural curiosity and a safe place to explore who we are. I can't nor do I want to fix you. I don't think you're broken. I do want to understand, a shared pain is easier to come to grips with and helps me to understand what makes you ... you.
You are a human being and regardless of anything, no one deserves to suffer alone. Although for some people, it may only come down to pity and sadness for them, not out of respect or compassion. How that ends up, is all on you.
Poor Values, Morals and Ethics
Values are the rules by which we make decisions about right and wrong, should and shouldn't, good and bad. They also tell us which are more or less important, which is useful when we have to trade off meeting one value over another.
Morals have a greater social element to values and tend to have a very broad acceptance. Morals are far more about good and bad than other values. We thus judge others more strongly on morals than values. A person can be described as immoral, yet there is no word for them not following values, except maybe weak-minded.
You can have professional ethics, but you seldom hear about professional morals. Ethics tend to be codified into a formal system or set of rules which are explicitly adopted by a group of people. Thus you have medical ethics. Ethics are thus internally defined and adopted, whilst morals tend to be externally imposed on other people.
If you accuse someone of being unethical, it is equivalent of calling them unprofessional and may well be taken as a significant insult and perceived more personally than if you called them immoral (which of course they may also not like).
Ethics of principled conviction asserts that intent is the most important factor. If you have good principles, then you will act ethically.
Ethics of responsibility challenges this, saying that you must understand the consequences of your decisions and actions and answer to these, not just your high-minded principles. The medical maxim 'do no harm', for example, is based in the outcome-oriented ethics of responsibility.
If you don't understand what these mean and how important they are to a functioning society, let alone a relationship, then we won't make it very far.
Low rent mentalities
If the only way you know how to define yourself is with your looks or physicality, we're not going to gel. If your repertoire is only gossip, yeah, there's the door. I need someone with an expansive mind, that isn't afraid to talk about deeper, meatier issues AND can hold their own.
Someone who doesn't bother to invest in us
This ones pretty simple for me.
You're either all in, or fuck off.
You're not perfect, I'm not perfect. Let's see if we can strive and help each other to be better than we could be on our own. All in, no open relations bullshit, no games, no one night stands and own your own shit. I prefer quite a bit less chaos in my life than any of that incurs.
I respect myself and need to be an example to my daughters.
Someone discouraging and thinks the worst of me
This boils down to respect and humility.
I have depression and anxiety, among other things that are completely out of my control. I simply can't be with someone that would judge any of that, feel pity for it or put me down for it.
I have my flaws, the ones I can change, I am working on. The other flaws that I can't control? Like I have to, you will have to accept as part of the package. Likewise, I accept that there's no perfect human being and your going to come with your own unique quirks and flaws that I will have to learn and adapt to.
As well you should want to work on your own flaws that you are able to change. Anything that doesn't grow, stagnates and dies.
If you're going to try and use any of the following manipulation tactics on anything resembling a regular basis, we're not going to last long.
These all have to do with respecting boundaries, being honest and owning your own shit. Once or twice isn't an issue, ongoing and you'll find yourself kicked to the curb after being given a chance to recognize the error of your ways and change.
Sniffing out the truth of toxic behavior
The following have been gleaned from various sources over the course of the years and have worked for me in sussing out the truth from a situation.
Most people won't do these things because they're not aware that this exists in people, we have this predisposition to assume that everyone is good and doesn't want to see harm come to anyone.
This whole process of becoming embroiled with evil and deception is usually very intoxicating. It's very akin to becoming addicted to a drug. It's cheap until you're hooked.
Then watch out.
Observe their baseline behavior, if when they speak, something changes in that baseline during or within 2-5 seconds, there's something more to this that you need to pay attention to.
Watch the Words - listen carefully to the language, early extreme flowery language towards you and negative towards others, big red flag.
Examine your emotions - are you left with this ethereal glow or profound confusion after talking to them? Any extreme emotion other than that was cool or I didn't care for that much at all, should be a warning sign.
Beware their behavior - their words will not match their actions.
The 90% rule: if they tell you something that you think 90% of the population would/could not do? Big red flag.
None of this is foolproof, the older they get, the smarter and more cunning they are with their tactics. Listen to your gut feeling, if you need to slow the roll, slow it. If you need to stop the ride to get off and barf, do it.
Anyone who doesn't respect themselves, or our relationship or me, will find the door slapping their ass on the way through it.
Self-centered, immature, 2 faced thots need not apply. My time is valuable to me. If it's spent with you, respect that, it's taking away from other things that are of high value. Don't take that for granted, please. Likewise, time you take out of your busy schedule to spend with me will be greatly appreciated.
I want someone who will respect me, my life, my family and what I do in the world. Someone who wants to prove to me that I'm the only man for her, will have a partner who wants to prove she's the only woman for me.
I've managed being alone for damn near 10 years now, raising my daughter alone, working full-time and running my own business. Doing all of the things I want to do, despite my flaws and in some cases, because of them. If someone doesn't compliment my life and I don't equally compliment her life in the same way, it's always going to be unbalanced and the relationship will degenerate quickly.
I won't go through that kind of heartache again and I won't introduce that into our family, because if it affects me, it will affect them too. I won't do that to them.
No one expects you to be perfect, but when you fuck up, and you will, make it right instead of digging a deeper hole.
I won't help you dig, I'll just push the dirt in on you and we'll be done.