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zachira
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« on: January 11, 2019, 01:44:10 PM »

My question is: What qualities do we have to develop in ourselves to attract the right kind of partner?
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 01:54:00 PM »

good question. we can have high standards, but such things are more obtainable when we consistently meet them ourselves.

for me (long term), its about improving my "skills": emotional maturity, conflict resolution, compromise, showing thoughtfulness, being a better listener.

shorter term, living a healthy lifestyle, pursuing my goals, hopes and dreams, having my life "on the ball" so to speak.
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 10:52:16 PM »

zachira   Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

Emotional maturity. That's probably something I was in want of most after the relationship with UexBPDGF.

It seems to work. Highly recommended. Also fantastic for handling so much other stuff in life.

emotional maturity
  I enjoy company with this guy.
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 01:21:15 AM »

What's the right kind of partner?

I'd be myself.  To quote Martin Luther, "here I stand,  I cannot do otherwise." My quasi-BPD relationship broke me of changing into someone else in order to please or soothe another.
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 06:51:38 PM »

Nice thread, zachira.  I'd echo Turkish.  For you, right now, what is the right kind of partner?

Can you picture being with someone you can grow with? 
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 07:21:05 PM »

The right kind of partner is someone who helps me be the  best person I can be and I do the same for him.
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 11:58:00 PM »

The right kind of partner is someone who helps me be the  best person I can be and I do the same for him.
 thanks zachira for sharing. I very strongly support this point. Having someone that helps us build our selfs and we help to build theirs. To create those moments of pause in difficulty, those times to pause and consider; to not let our issues get in the way of their growth, but being able to share our concerns in a loving way; to express our needs and wants, to listen to our partner's desires, to enjoy life as we pursue them--yes!

Now, how to develop these qualities. Or do we have a lot of them already.   
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2019, 12:55:50 AM »

Gotbushels,
The ideal partner has secure attachment. A person with secure attachment can marry a person with insecure attachment who can acquire secure attachment from the secure partner. If we don't have  what it takes to have a healthy relationship already, we want to surround ourselves with people who do.
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2019, 01:19:22 AM »

Right on zachira. Which are your favourite traits of secures that you'd like to bring to a relationship yourself?
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2019, 10:48:23 AM »

Gotbushels,
Secures have great boundaries, and bring out the best in others. They also seem to have an amazing radar to know when another person is unhealthy, especially deceptive, yet set the boundaries in a positive way. I will have dinner this week with my cousin who has the most secure attachment of anyone I have ever met. My cousin's aunt was my babysitter before I went to kindergarten (I am guessing from birth until four years of age.). I used to cry when she left the house. My mother is a narcissist and has no ability to nurture young children, even babies. I really think that having a baby sitter with secure attachment made the difference for me, as I have never accepted how badly my mother treated me (My baby sitter communicated to me that I was worthy of love.)., and I have never stopped looking for loving people to surround myself with. I have been in therapy for years working on my insecure attachment, and am now moving towards secure as I find myself attracting the secures more and the insecures not really wanting that much to do with me.  
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2019, 09:32:35 PM »

They also seem to have an amazing radar to know when another person is unhealthy, especially deceptive, yet set the boundaries in a positive way.
A great way to hone your intuition and maintain your boundaries. I support your wanting this.

I have never stopped looking for loving people to surround myself with.
Good idea. You can't have too many healthy loving people around you.

I find myself attracting the secures more and the insecures not really wanting that much to do with me.  
A good thing. Perhaps part of being in relationships with secures is that you let go of relationships with insecures, even though there's other attractive things about them.

Bringing out the best in a partner is something that seems important to you. Does communication play a role in that?
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2019, 09:36:33 PM »

I’m guessing... .self love.  So long as I’m maintaining loving/caring for myself... .seems like the rest will fall into its place.   Then won’t the only person that can stand such a presence also have to love me similarly?
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2019, 09:56:43 PM »

Gotbushels,
I am a big fan of John Gottman, a well known expert on what kind of communication makes relationships last and stay happy. Gottman talks about how partners need to turn towards each other most of the time when one or both partners make a bid for connection. I am wary of the word communication because teaching communication skills to couples without taking into account their attachment needs did not improve the satisfaction in most marriages and most Marriage Counselors now work on improving attachment instead of narrowly focusing on communication skills.
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2019, 11:29:50 PM »

Gottman talks about how partners need to turn towards each other most of the time when one or both partners make a bid for connection.
Yes, turning to each other to get resolutions to an issue issue makes a lot of sense. As you rightly suggested to consider attachment styles, then to turn to your partner--this would probably work better if your partner is a secure-type.

In attachment style context, having an anxious continually turn to an avoidant probably wouldn't work so well. So I'm certainly with you in that couples are better served also accounting for their attachment needs.

In BPD context, I'm happy to report (by a little fluke) that I did try to use Gottman's work (Seven Principles) in my relationship. For the situations I was in at the time, I seemed to find Kreger and Fruzzetti more useful and effective. Good of you to bring up Gottman though, I may revisit his ideas again.

[... .] instead of narrowly focusing on communication skills.
Before I came upon BPD and the tools, I suppose I did make this mistake myself by under-pathologising my ex. To not see the context of mental illness and BPD, to me that is narrowing focus to exclude the relevant context. In some ways I made many assumptions about the workings of my ex, I supposed she was my idea of "normal" 'enough' that I could use things like Gottman's work. I think those assumptions and being unaware of what BPD was were big regrets of mine--although I don't see them as mistakes anymore.

Let's talk about developing qualities and attraction.    I understand you've read Levine and Heller's Attached. I think when the authors combine communication with attachment styles, the result could be an excellent fit for what you want to grow your secure skills (communication accounting for attachment styles).

I'd like to share this with you. I tested nicely using their diagnostic tool--but I had some resources and I wanted to be an even better partner--so I decided to use their suggestions. I used the "not generalising" suggestion in a difficult discussion with someone I care about in the last 6 months (?), it helped a lot to step back into that when I was feeling frustrated. Says easy, does hard.

I could (and actually do) also practice this quality of not generalising at my workplace--e.g., a colleague sometimes approaches me while stressed. I see that it's because of her pending deadlines, her tendency to stress for whatever reason (I'm not alone in the office on this one thankfully God blessed), and it's almost never my bad. So then, in fact, I have the perspective enough to feel in that moment that I'm exceeding expectations with work when it comes to my other colleagues. So perhaps this quality of 'not generalising' is something that I can practice both at a date, or not at a date.

Oh, for the workplace scenario, generalisations on my colleague would be "she's always stressed" "she always comes at me when she's stressed" "why does she always pick me to unload her anxiety?"
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2019, 06:43:57 AM »

I’m guessing... .self love.  So long as I’m maintaining loving/caring for myself... .seems like the rest will fall into its place.   Then won’t the only person that can stand such a presence also have to love me similarly?

Hi Sunflower it's been awhile  Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

I agree, when we love ourselves, and value ourselves we don't settle for just okay.  I would also throw in using your rational brain.  Before I started dating after my divorce I really thought about the qualities I wanted in a person I had a relationship with. What would be good for me?  What did I deserve?  (I had realized that in many ways I never really considered myself I had often just focused on my partners).  Good Communication Skills would be another helpful tool.

Panda39 

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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2019, 12:02:45 PM »


Gotbushels,
I am glad you found John Gottman, who really does encourage each partner to develop the qualities that are required to have a happy long lasting marriage. Can you tell us a little more about Kreger and Fruzetti?
I just read John Gottman's: "What Makes Love Last?" and it really describes how to have a loving relationship. (Of course as you have implied, this can only work when you have two partners capable of growth and change and willing to do what it takes to maintain a loving relationship.)
Panda39,
I started this thread because it is as you said about thinking about what we deserve instead of just focusing on the partner's needs. So many of us feel that if we do enough for the partner we will be loved and cherished, and the reality is if we don't love and value who we are, we will likely end up with a partner that will take advantage and not do his/her share of the work in the relationship. Did I say what you meant?
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2019, 06:42:31 AM »

Excerpt
Panda39,
I started this thread because it is as you said about thinking about what we deserve instead of just focusing on the partner's needs. So many of us feel that if we do enough for the partner we will be loved and cherished, and the reality is if we don't love and value who we are, we will likely end up with a partner that will take advantage and not do his/her share of the work in the relationship. Did I say what you meant?

Yes, that is part of it, but it's also about what we want, asking for what we want, and seeking out what we want.  Recognizing that our wants and needs are just as important as our partner's wants and needs.  It is not selfish to look for what we want in a partner and in a relationship and it is not a failure to decide walk away when it isn't working for us.  It's is about valuing ourselves as much as we value our partner and sometimes that means putting ourselves before our partners.  I think many of us have received messages about what it is to be "good" that have created a dynamic where we  can give too much away... .love, care, support to our own detriment.  It is okay to do all of those things but is also okay to ask for the same in return without being labeled "selfish" or "needy" or whatever. (those labels can come from our partners and can also come from within from our inner critic).

Panda39
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2019, 09:51:25 AM »

Can you tell us a little more about Kreger and Fruzetti?
Comparing the 3 sources today, I think generally the titles are accurate... Mason&Kreger is for non's working with BPs--so it applied better to my relationship; Fruzzetti is for high conflict couples--that also applied to my relationship; Gottman's 7 Principles seemed to be for people not in these kinds of relationships (either with a BP or a high conflict one or both). I can speak to specifics elsewhere if you'd like to know more.

Something more interesting though is looking back at the coverage of issue resolutions with Gottman's 7 Principles. The vignettes in the quiz section are simple, and dealt with simply. They seem cursory. Compare that with the comprehensive 4-pronged approach that Kreger took in her handbook--and that contrasts perspectives about how different issue management is in "healthy" relationships versus one with a BP partner. Gottman's seemed cursory and simple because perhaps the issues with a healthier partner are cursory and simple. I'm thinking along the lines of what healthy loving relationships feel like, similar to the tack Insom took at "What does healthy love feel like?"

I just read John Gottman's: "What Makes Love Last?" and it really describes how to have a loving relationship.
Great! Care to share a tip-takeaway or two that you'll be looking to implement in your relational life? I'm leaving it open to you if reading it was more a justifying experience for you--the experience of feeling that we have enough--like what you shared with Panda39. Of course, I have a few of those books myself that I refer to just for comfort and justification about some things tricky issues.   
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2019, 10:47:05 AM »

Panda39
Great description of what qualities we need to develop to attract the right kind of partner. People who respect themselves get treated better by others, and sometimes this includes getting treated better by people who are really not that nice.
Gotbushels:
Thanks for sharing that Fruzetti is for high conflict couples and Gottman for higher functioning couples. It is good to know that Mason and Kreger work with non's who have a BPD partner. I will have to look into both of these resources. A lot of great treatments are not going to work with people who have BPD and/or some other serious mental disorder. "What Makes Love Last" is more focused on building a healthy relationship than Gottman's other books that I have read which talk more about what predicts divorce. I really liked how Gottman discussed that living together does not usually work because the long term commitment to the relationship is not there like it usually is in a marriage. He also writes about how to prevent betrayal by a partner by building trust, and notes that there are always temptations to stray which will not likely be acted upon if the relationship is healthy.
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« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2019, 01:51:28 AM »

living together does not usually work because the long term commitment to the relationship is not there like it usually is in a marriage

how to prevent betrayal by a partner by building trust, and notes that there are always temptations to stray which will not likely be acted upon if the relationship is healthy
Interesting, zachira   Welcome new member (click to insert in post) --I enjoyed the second idea. For our relationships with pwBPDs, were we as nons wrong to bring up temptation?

Maybe it's about loving who we are, regardless of what that partner's issues may have been? Maybe building a relationship with someone new is about rediscovering what parts of us we set aside in order to avoid setting off the BP?

Things like communication, attempting to reach agreement--taking risks of feeling differently from our prospective partners. To let our guard down and without having to feel ready for a drill about the "optimal-caretaker's-path-to-managing-an-instant-conflict-ready-get-set-go!"

Things like being able to express who we are and have our thoughts heard without that extra caretaker's worry of having to face a tantrum about it.

Things like trusting our partner's memory enough to not have it 'reset' every 2 weeks--spending time enjoying the moment--rather than the caretaker's chore of writing down what happened at what time on what day and for why.

I think we can write the book again on how we want our relationship to be without all the extra caretakery. Can you relate?
 
Enjoy your weekend. 
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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2019, 11:25:37 AM »

Gotbushels,
Gottman is clear about partners not hiding the temptations he/she feels from the other because if the temptations to stray are not dealt with than infidelity is more likely to happen. Gottman's main theme is it is our job to respond to our partners bids for connection most of the time and we keep our partner safe by not saying or doing things that will irreparably damage the relationship. When we do hurt our partner and/or fail in his/her bid for connection, than we repair the damage to the pair bond, no matter how insignificant. Clearly we cannot just be who we are without regard to our partners feelings.
I regard the need to care take a partner as a big red flag. If we are healthy ourselves, we will choose a partner that we admire and is able to have a healthy intimate relationship, and this healthy partner will likely alert us when our behaviors are damaging to the continuation of the relationship. 
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« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2019, 09:49:25 PM »

Gottman's main theme is it is our job to respond to our partners bids for connection [... .]
This makes sense. Yes, when maintaining a relationship with our partner, a healthy relationship means to account for our partner's feelings.

I regard the need to care take a partner as a big red flag. If we are healthy ourselves, we will choose a partner that we admire and is able to have a healthy intimate relationship [... .]
Yes, taking care of a partner sometimes can be difficult. And sometimes, life introduces stresses where it helps to turn to someone or have someone you're close to, to lessen the difficulties. To you, what does support in times of difficulty look like in a healthy relationship?

Secures have great boundaries, and bring out the best in others. They also seem to have an amazing radar to know when another person is unhealthy, especially deceptive, yet set the boundaries in a positive way.
Awareness of unhealthy others, bringing out the best in others, and setting/maintaining boundaries in a respectful way seemed to be something you wanted for yourself. To you, less abstractly, what does bringing out the best in your partner and yourself mean?
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2019, 01:20:46 PM »

Answers to questions from Gotbushels:
1)"To you, what does support in times of difficulty look like in a healthy relationship?"
Support in difficult times means helping your partner by being kind and listening with empathy to his/her feelings yet not rescuing. Sometimes, it can mean giving beyond whatever seemed possible like being there for a terminally ill partner. My neighbor taught me what love really is. He initially put up with some pretty bad behavior on my part, yet he was always kind when talking to me about it. He has done many kind things for me over the years. The last year or so, he has been parking in front of his garage, which makes it extremely difficult at times to get out of my parking space. Other neighbors have complained to him how this affects me. It doesn't bother me at all. I like him so much I accept the things I don't like as much, just like he did when I was an obnoxious neighbor years ago he told me he liked me too much to do anything bad to me.
2)"To you, less abstractly, what does bringing out the best in your partner and yourself mean?" It means supporting your partner's best qualities and interests while setting boundaries about what kinds of bad behaviors you will accept from him/her. It also involves both partners being good listeners and generally interested in each other's inner and outer worlds, while looking for ways to emotionally connect to each other as much as possible.
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« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2019, 07:04:42 PM »

I like a lot of the answers here, especially once you all start to flesh them out.

For a quick blurb, "what qualities do we have to develop to attract the right kind of partner"
and the answer to that is--zero.

One can not choose who is attracted to you. You can't make yourself better so you are more attractive to certain types of people. That's a lot of hard work in being inauthentic. You can only figure out how you interact with those who are attracted to you. And all of that is having a good understanding of yourself: your limits, strengths, your weaknesses and your boundaries. You must have such a good understanding of yourself that you will not give yourself up when it is questioned.

I think every relationship fails once one looks away from their true self.
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2019, 09:11:43 PM »

He initially put up with some pretty bad behavior on my part, yet he was always kind when talking to me about it.
Yes I understand this zachira, on both sides.   Welcome new member (click to insert in post) In relationships--intimate and non-intimate--I may do something that isn't liked or wanted by the other person. It may be need by one and need by the other, or it may be preference and preference. It's nice to always have that consistent kindness when the other person approaches us with an issue they want to resolve.

To share a bit, I admired that almost every time someone approached an ex manager of mine, she wouldn't express acceptance of the dialogue too far from baseline. I suppose I admired her patience. In contrast, one of my colleagues complained that her manager would be violently off baseline so often that people thought she was crazy (my colleague's word). So here, peace is a gift. Is that something you'd like to bring to your relationships too?
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« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2019, 09:49:09 AM »

Staff only

The discussion has reached it's post limit and has been locked. A new or similar topic of discussion can be started.
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