Last year is finally behind us and 2018 is here, which means you’re probably being bombarded with social media posts screaming for a “new year, new you”. And, though it might seem cheesy, there's definitely some truth in it — there’s something cathartic and refreshing about a new year and the chance for change and rebirth. So there’s no better time to prioritize. And, if relationships are important to you, it’s a great time to commit to finding the relationship you want. Because at some point, a lot of us get sick of dating whoever we bump into and want to find something that actually works.
Because, let’s face it, just basing our dating lives on who we’re attracted to often doesn’t work. "Attraction is very illogical. Stability and maturity don’t factor into raw attraction," certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "That’s why it’s important early in the relationship to make sure that the person you date has some degree of maturity." I’ve certainly learned that lesson the hard way. And don’t get me wrong, a relationship just based on attraction and sex can be great — if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you want a long-term relationship that’s based off of a deeper connection, it can be harder to come by. Here's what you need to know to get the relationship you want in 2018.
1Know Your Deal-Breakers
Firstly, to get into the relationship you want, you need to know what kind of relationship you want. So know your deal-breakers and remember that you have every right to stick to them. “A deal-breaker is an issue that is so important to a person, that if the other person will not compromise or concede, the relationship would probably not work out,” psychologist and life coach, Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC tells Bustle. “They are things that are so deeply and utterly important to the person, that they could not be in a relationship with someone who did not share, or at least support and respect them. Deal-breakers are usually formed throughout our lives, and start in childhood. They are made up of personal, or familial, values, beliefs, and their sense of right and wrong.”
It could be anything from whether or not you want kids, needing complete honesty, wanting support in your career, where you want to live, how you deal with money — anything that’s important to you. Decide what you need out of a relationship and keep that in mind. Compromise is important in a relationship, but so are boundaries.
2Try Dating Mindfully
Dating apps can make it difficult to really focus on the dating process — and the people involved. "A mindful approach to life generally means doing one thing at a time and doing only that," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "Often when people use dating apps, they are ambivalent." I found all of the swiping impersonal — and it led to me treating people as more disposable than I should have done. So make sure that when you’re chatting to people and looking at potential dates, you’re taking your time and really giving it the attention it deserves.
3Learn To Love Being Single
It may sound counterintuitive, but knowing how to be single is important for getting into a relationship. If you love being single, you’re not going to jump into a bad relationship for the wrong reasons. "I'd rather be single, in a comfortable relationship with myself, than trapped in a dysfunctional, toxic relationship with someone else," certified relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca tells Bustle. It’s so true. If you can embrace single life, then you’re not going to settle — you’ll wait until the relationship you actually want comes along.
4Remember What Really Matters
Like I said, it’s not all about attraction. Sure, attraction can be very important — but think about the other characteristics that really matter, too. "You need to look for the random acts of consideration and kindness," psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. "These are the things that will last you. For example, my toilet paper and paper towels have been magically refilled since a month into dating my husband." People who treat others well, who make you laugh, who think about your needs and are willing to compromise — those are often the kind of people who make great partners.
5Don't Rush Things
If you want to be in a relationship, it’s natural to have an urge to move quickly — especially when you meet someone you really seem to click with. But make sure to take your time and allow authentic bonds to form. "I don't care how well-adjusted you are, it takes time for a human being to earn another human being's deep trust," clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, tells Bustle. "If you expect that bond to happen immediately, you will likely be disappointed.” But if you take your time and get to know someone, you’ll know that you’re getting a really strong foundation.
A new year is a great time to find the relationship that you really want — whatever that means for you. Relationships are not a one-size-fits-all situation. Work out what you really want in a relationship and then take your time finding and nurturing that. If you can do that, you’re far more likely to find the kind of relationship you really want.