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VIDEO: "What is parental alienation?" Parental alienation is when a parent allows a child to participate or hear them degrade the other parent. This is not uncommon in divorces and the children often adjust. In severe cases, however, it can be devastating to the child. This video provides a helpful overview.
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Author Topic: What to look for in a new partner  (Read 890 times)
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« on: January 10, 2019, 02:37:15 PM »

so youre detached from the relationship that brought you here. feeling stronger. more confident. youve learned more about yourself and relationships. youre ready to get back out there.

but what does that mean? do you know who and what youre looking for, or winging it, or waiting for it to come to you?

as we shift toward healthier relationships, what are things that we want to look for in a new partner?

please dont say "someone without BPD" or "the opposite of my ex". this is not a thread about what we want to avoid, but what qualities we want to look for going forward.
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 07:03:33 PM »

The question is a bit vague and maybe well meaning but kinda unanswerable

Imagine being raised on a diet of bland, water based porridge. Someone asks you what do you want for breakfast? anything you want. You want something nicer of course, but you've only ever known porridge, so you ask for either "anything but porridge" or "a nice warm milk and sugar porridge, throw in a few berries and a light dusting of cinnamon on top, that would be heavenly"

Of course there's a whole another world of dishes out there, arguably much better than porridge, but how do you know to ask for a sushi bowl with chicken teriyaki and chipotle spicy mayo if you've never even had anything but porridge?

That's kinda what I've seen and I think you have too, we just don't have the right vocabulary to express what we want, so we say "not like my ex", or like I did, "someone like her but that doesn't run away from me when I need some space" like saying add sugar and milk to my porridge and I'm good to go .
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 09:54:34 PM »

I think it is a reasonable question, and one to bear in mind if anyone is re-entering the dating world. I would say top of the list for me would be someone who can express their emotional intelligence well, not with hints of immaturity or self centred thinking.

Secondly someone who doesn't start idolising me from the first date, rather takes time to get to know me.

And thirdly, someone who lives in a drama free zone, they don't have ongoing feuds, family issues, etc, but are prepared to address and resolve issues. This doesnt mean they have to be nice to everyone, we all have people we dont like or prefer to not socialise with, but the ongoing drama is a waste of energy.
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 10:38:28 PM »

My T advised me a few years ago regarding moving on: "everybody has wounds." I think he was telling me not to assume and to exhibit grace towards new people. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 11:49:12 PM »

I gave this a LOT of thought over the last year... .My T gave me a paper he wrote that advises you to be like the person you want to find... .In other words, to work on improving yourself (in ways you want to improve) and on finding someone whose qualities and goals line up with your own.

It lists a bunch of attributes as examples and tells you to spend time thinking about which ones are the MOST important to you (you can make your own too, obviously). Then you have to examine yourself through that lens. If you want someone who is financially responsible, for instance... .are YOU financially responsible yourself? If not, you have some work to do

I thought that sounded like pretty good advice... .

Someone that is honest, drug-free, has a good/healthy family, deals with their own problems... .those were some of the qualities I listed.
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 11:54:32 PM »

My T gave me a paper he wrote that advises you to be like the person you want to find... .In other words, to work on improving yourself (in ways you want to improve) and on finding someone whose qualities and goals line up with your own.

i like what your T says, utnapishtim428!
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 01:27:53 PM »

here is just one at the top of my list.

loyalty. it is one of the things that i value most in others, and its something i value a lot about myself. now looking back, i havent always met my own standards, nor have i chosen partners that met my standards. so im extra focused on finding a partner who exudes loyalty, and in being a person that can attract a person that highly values loyalty.

im not just talking about monogamy, or someone who wont cheat. im talking about someone who is loyal in several aspects of her life, whom if you knew her, you would list her fierce and consistent loyalty as one of her top, most notable qualities in everything she does. loyal to her job, her company, because she believes in it, its mission, what it does, in the first place. loyal to and passionate for her causes. loyalty to her political party. loyal to God and not idolatry. loyal to her friends and family. her family should come before me unless/until im her husband. her friends (within reason) should come before me while we are dating. shes not blindly loyal, that loyalty must be earned. i dont want someone who reflexively interferes/triangulates where or how she shouldnt, but someone who will go to bat and fight against a force that would hurt her loved ones.
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 11:34:10 PM »

please dont say "someone without BPD" or "the opposite of my ex". this is not a thread about what we want to avoid, but what qualities we want to look for going forward.
Imagine being raised on a diet of bland, water based porridge.
I rofl'd so hard. Thank you gents.


I want a relationship with someone hot, practices similar faith as me, emotionally mature, and interested in healthy families.




loyalty.
I really relate to this. I want to share this.

What I found when dating is that it seemed more effective to me to listen to their opinions first. Then listen to their actions (good chance to practice those listening skills once removed  . Not be detective-like, but focus on what loyalty is to that person, in words and action, before setting it out as important to me. To me, it made much more logic because I met prospective partners that seemed to use this to attempt to sell themselves. When it comes to loyalty, I prefer to 'shop it' rather than have it 'sold to me'.

E.g., a plain example--I met a woman once who was very attractive to me, but her words weren't met with her actions. If she was doing this with the simple things, what about the multi-part commitments later? I was hurt because I thought I met someone I wanted to date, that also used those 'buzz words' about loyalty--that seemed to not be interested enough in me to follow-through.

i havent always met my own standards, nor have i chosen partners that met my standards.
I'm appreciate this and I'm with you on it.
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2019, 11:45:32 PM »

I want a relationship with someone hot

  now dont we all.

yeah. i look for hot and sexy in partners.

practices similar faith as me

this is a biggie of mine. i have mostly dated partners whom my faith was incompatible with - by that i mean there was none. so theres more to it for me than just not doing that again. there are millions of people that share my faith, that wont make us anymore compatible. the emphasis to me is her relationship to her faith, how she lives it, and how it will influence her family... .and whether we are generally on the same page.

What I found when dating is that it seemed more effective to me to listen to their opinions first. Then listen to their actions

i agree. i think some of these things are things we can get at least some sense of in a first date, at least in terms of being passionate regarding ones job, friends, faith, etc. but everyone sells their loyalty, and wants it in a partner. mentioning that quickly in a first date doesnt mean much.
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 11:55:39 PM »

or, my T listed "spiritually incompatible" during his "this is how toy were mismatched" lecture.  I don't need to quote The Bible and being unequally yoked (ok, I just did).  This leaves aside the scandalous divorce rates among Evangelicals, but that's another discussion... .

I'd just like to hang out with someone who's kind.  I mistook my ex's social advocacy for kindness.  Dig deep, and take things slowly.
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2019, 05:23:54 PM »

Great question!   

I will be looking for someone who it genuinely kind.  ( I think I am getting better at spotting that quality )

Understands how to resolve conflict in a healthy way that is fair to both partners by willing to compromise.

Someone who listens.  Not necessarily agrees with me but listens and validates my point of view.

Self-supporting through their own contributions in the relationship emotionally, financially and physically.

Someone who is not ego driven but we are all human I get that.  Just not to the extreme.

Reciprocity.

Emotionally mature to a healthy degree.

Someone who is available to spend time doing the things we like to do together.

I would want to feel a spiritual connection with this person.

I would want to be physically attracted to them.

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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2019, 01:09:35 AM »

Tsultan   Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

I like your list.  

Understands how to resolve conflict in a healthy way that is fair to both partners by willing to compromise.
A worthy and admirable aspiration for your relationship Tsultan. I admire your desire.

Someone who listens.  Not necessarily agrees with me but listens and validates my point of view.
Yes! It's really pleasant meeting people that understand how to listen and validate- not necessarily in the strict senses of active listening and the definitions of validation- but to those whom it seems to come naturally. We're pretty blessed here that we have an improved recognition of what that looks like.  

Reciprocity.
Yes someone who has an appreciation for loving acts in a relationship, and combines that with some sense of how much to give and take, I think these ways of reciprocity help a lot for both people building a relationship.  

I hope you have fun in your dating life and enjoy your peace.  
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2019, 02:20:58 AM »

this is a great topic. i am very tired after a long night out but i feel implored to comment, so here it is:

1. fearless of mistakes and can own up to them while letting others evaluate how they want to react
2. understanding of the value of life and what it means to be human
3. very physically attractive

#3 I can get stuck up on to the point that i don't want to understand the full dynamic at play (maybe #3 is actually #1). i guess i need to work on that, but i don't want to right now. and i guess that since i am getting closer to my very late 20s the first two qualities will emerge as far more important sooner than later. or it is just making up for lost time. who knows!
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2019, 07:00:59 AM »

Hi all and happy 2019,

It's a rich and worthwhile subject Once Removed and it's prompted some really interesting responses.

It's clearly important to learn from our mistakes and focus on what's really important - to be with someone who shares our values and respects our boundaries.  And I realise that finding the right person can be a challenge - especially when our baggage gets in the way. But I also wonder whether some of our expectations or requirements can be a little unrealistic.

I value loyalty - but I would temper my need for it with the knowledge that we're all flawed and imperfect and destined to let our loved ones down in some shape or form. And while loyalty is admirable sometimes those who are fiercely loyal can also be unbending and unforgiving... .

Valet. I can think of very few - if any - people I've met who are fearless of mistakes.  Most of us struggle with fear of failure and many of us struggle to accept our own agency when things go wrong.

I don't mean to criticise but I wonder whether unrealistic expectations can become another roadblock to a successful relationship. I would struggle to meet some of the exacting standards listed...

Alain de Boton - an English philosopher - wrote an interesting piece on marriage.

He writes "every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will (without any malice) do the same to them."

"The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition."

 
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2019, 06:43:37 AM »

Values and virtues must be similar. In my past experiences, these things didn’t line up well enough and it caused a lot of friction after the hot and heavy phase ran it’s course. To be fair, I wasn’t grounded enough in those aspects of myself. I was easily moved to prolong the inevitable. The short definition, desperate for a partner. This leads me to healthy boundaries on both sides. Also, as Gotbushels stated. Hot! But this isn’t as simple as looks. I’ve known extremely attractive (physically) women that were also extremely repulsive people. I wish we still had the barfing emoji. I’m talking about emotionally and psychologically stimulating people. I’ve met women before that I didn’t necessarily find visually stimulating, but after some conversation, I’ve wanted to jump their bones, for lack of a better way of putting it.

Also, how do they treat others? How do they talk about others? One day they’ll talk about me the same way.

At my age, financially independent. They have to be able to provide for themselves. I’m interested in companionship, not financing a relationship. Are they generally happy with their job/career?

Unfortunately, in this day and age, it would be beneficial if our political views are similar. I’ve also had a lot of friction here in the past.

Loyalty and honesty are a must. Lying and infidelity are deal breakers.

Solution based. Non argumentative.

There’s more, but to close this out without taking up too much bandwidth, reasonable expectations and I’m a package deal with a toddler on board. He will always come first until he’s an adult that puts his children first. That is most certainly immovable.
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2019, 07:36:20 PM »

Such an interesting topic, I agree!

I realized recently that I find myself drawn toward very observant, sensitive men. Partly because of my eternal struggle to be heard in the world, and I don't have to struggle so hard with this type. However, I notice that the few I've encountered are also very inconsistent. Is there such a person as someone who can handle my extreme sensitivity, and be basically consistent (unlike uBPD parent)?  Cuz that's what I'd like.   

I'm JUST now doing some serious thinking about myself in relationships, after I broke up with with my uBPD ex about 6 years ago.
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2019, 09:34:14 PM »

Someone who takes things seriously,  but doesn't necessarily take themselves too seriously.  In other words,  humble. Humbleness doesn't negate personal power nor strength of character. 
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2019, 02:39:20 PM »

She should be attractive but have only one eye.

Not literally  . Let me explain... .In the battle against the malevolent god Set, Horus the Egyptian sky god loses an eye. It is gouged out in the battle.

It is the enduring scar of his battle against malevolence. A reminder that he overcame it but paid a heavy price for the wisdom and experience.

I feel a bit like that. That I have lost an eye in my battle, and a woman needs depth of experience to understand me. I've dated women who were attractive to me, but did not seem to have the depth to understand what it means to overcome in the BPD universe.

She should have learned to overcome some hard things and built some character, rather than one who's lived a protected life. This way we can support each other with knowledge of life's joys and tragedies. And even better - be able to apply a healthy sense of humour to life's troubles.
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2019, 04:15:10 PM »

Is there such a person as someone who can handle my extreme sensitivity, and be basically consistent

yes! you  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

im a pretty highly sensitive guy myself. pretty high on the "highly sensitive person" spectrum in most ways. im not very reactive, but a lot of stuff that people would brush off get under my skin, or i obsess on it, that kind of thing. im pretty good about not reacting emotionally, but i need a lot of space, sometimes i expect romantic partners or other loved ones to read my mind, that kinda thing.

we all have different things going on, of course. arent these things we need to cope with, be mindful of? do they keep us from connecting with others?

I feel a bit like that. That I have lost an eye in my battle, and a woman needs depth of experience to understand me.

i have felt similarly for a lot of my life. i believed i found that in my ex, and that we could heal through that. being understood in a deep way was very important to me; still is, but it means something different to me today.

Excerpt
I've dated women who were attractive to me, but did not seem to have the depth to understand what it means to overcome in the BPD universe.

id ask a few questions: dont we want to be healed and whole entering into new relationships? if fewer people can understand us, and the way we relate and connect to them is through negative experiences, does it mean we are less emotionally available to others?

id ask everyone: when it comes to what we are looking for in a new partner, are we looking at ways they can help us, or the things that we like about them as individuals?
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2019, 06:20:26 PM »

Excerpt
id ask everyone: when it comes to what we are looking for in a new partner, are we looking at ways they can help us, or the things that we like about them as individuals?

is that a distinction we should make? "healthy" relationships are about mutually beneficial interactions right? loving them for who they are doesn't exclude loving them for what they do for us, and them loving us shouldn't exclude what we give to them I think.

As always, the goal seems to be "balance": it shouldn't be "just" one or the other.

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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2019, 10:00:19 PM »

we all have different things going on, of course. arent these things we need to cope with, be mindful of? do they keep us from connecting with others?
Good question once removed.

... .does it mean we are less emotionally available to others?
Yes. I think it's more fun dating someone that's moved forward--self and situation.

id ask everyone: when it comes to what we are looking for in a new partner, are we looking at ways they can help us, or the things that we like about them as individuals?
Hmm good question. Maybe what we like about them attracts us early on; then when considering if we want relationship continuity--then we look at how we could help each other. If you're going to have a journey with this person, that question becomes more important. What are you doing for each other on this trip? Is she good for my growth, am I good for her growth. Some great ways to go forward on this are on growing specific lines like honesty, accountability, and economic partnership (link). Consistent with what itsmeSnap said about mutually beneficial interactions.
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2019, 07:53:53 AM »

we all have different things going on, of course. arent these things we need to cope with, be mindful of? do they keep us from connecting with others?

Yes. I believe if we allow this illness or codependence to dominate us, we remain in its grips and it will keep us from connecting healthily.

Fortunately we have 100% control over what we focus on.

I'm hoping I can spend consistently more time in an open/wisemind or a 'peak' state. In that state I feel more confident about the people I meet, and I believe we attract what we radiate.


i have felt similarly for a lot of my life. i believed i found that in my ex, and that we could heal through that. being understood in a deep way was very important to me; still is, but it means something different to me today.

I'm not sure anyone who hasn't experienced the devastating effects of BPD ( or other serious mental illness) could understand me. I would not have understood someone like me 4 years ago.


id ask a few questions: dont we want to be healed and whole entering into new relationships? if fewer people can understand us, and the way we relate and connect to them is through negative experiences, does it mean we are less emotionally available to others?


Yes, Yes and the question for me is - how healed/whole is enough? I sometimes wonder if we can be fully whole. There are gaps which may take decades to close. I sometimes wonder out loud with a friend. "Which switch am I missing? I can't seem to get the hang of this". I'll add a switch and then I realise there are a whole bunch more missing which I don't know about. How many new switches is "whole"?


I'd ask everyone: when it comes to what we are looking for in a new partner, are we looking at ways they can help us, or the things that we like about them as individuals?

I'm quite pragmatic about it these days. I've made a list of how I would like to be loved. And I'm up front about it. They aren't idealistic things but mostly traits of healthy relationships.

What strikes me is just how rare a healthy relationship (by my definition) is.

If she embraces my list and I embrace hers, I think it's a healthy start.

I also discovered that anyone can live my list for a few months, but once the honeymoon is over, the truth is revealed. Red flags start to show and... .well... .break up. Three times now. I've given it a break for about 6 months.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2019, 01:07:58 PM »

Great question MoselleHow many new switches is "whole"?

For me I don't think there is such a thing as being "whole".  I have spoken to a respected friend in recovery who believes that she should be whole before she goes out dating again and kind of inferred that I should be doing the same  .  I respectfully said, "If I wait until I am "whole" I can never date for the rest of my life.  I went on to say that being healthy is the same as being "whole".  She disagreed with me.  I needed to validate myself and went home after our conversation and did some research.  Looking up the definitions of what it meant to be whole. I found the words whole and healthy were often used to describe each other.  Then I asked a bunch of recovery friends what it meant to be whole for them.  I received a lot of very insightful and interesting answers.

My research helped to confirm my belief. I believe our (mental) health is on a spectrum once again.   I will always have something to work on.  And new spiritual awakenings with lessons to learn about myself will pop up my entire life.  I am okay with that! I have been doing recovery work for 30+ years since my early 20's.  If I did not have anything to work on I think I would get bored.   


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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2019, 02:16:09 PM »

but what does that mean? do you know who and what youre looking for, or winging it, or waiting for it to come to you?

This is an awesome topic Once Removed Going back to your original post. I'd like to ask a question on this bit. What is a healthy approach to finding a partner? I do know what I'm looking for but I'm not actively scheduling time in my week to dedicate to meeting people. I went through that active dating phase and had three 6 month relationships (some healthier than others) Now I'm just in a "waiting for it to come to me" mode. Any thoughts on this? I do yearn for an intimate relationship but it hasn't worked out that way. Should I make adjustments?

I went on to say that being healthy is the same as being "whole".  She disagreed with me... .I asked a bunch of recovery friends what it meant to be whole for them.  I received a lot of very insightful and interesting answers.

My research helped to confirm my belief. I believe our (mental) health is on a spectrum once again.   I will always have something to work on.  And new spiritual awakenings with lessons to learn about myself will pop up my entire life.  I am okay with that
Great thoughts Tsultan
I had a recent conversation where someone asked me if I was whole when I was born.  My answer was "Yes", I was perfect. She asked me what the difference was between that "whole" baby and me now. I said a bunch of habits, beliefs, values and traits which I've picked up along the way. Then I realised what she was getting at. Inside I am still that whole perfect baby, and can feel confident that I am whole right now. There are layers of misinformation and misaligned beliefs values and behaviours, with all the recovery work required, but at my core I am whole already and should believe so for my self esteem. 
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