How to pick your next partner

Originally published by Expert Beacon:



You found the courage to end your last relationship. Maybe the relationship ended amicably. Maybe it had a dramatic and painful ending, perhaps in divorce. Either way you are finished with the relationship and are looking to begin to date. You may have some fear and apprehension about getting back in the dating game. To find the right person you need a plan. Here are some dos and don’ts for your plan to finding your next partner.


allow time for healing

Ending relationships are hard. It is normal to have feelings of grief and sadness as well as anger and fear. Give yourself the time to heal and process these feelings. If you need additional support, find a good therapist who can help you with loss as well as to look for possible patterns in your relationships.

make the right choice

Most of us don’t make a major purchase impulsively. We research, talk to others, and identify what our needs are. Why wouldn’t you do that for your next partner? Identify what you want in a relationship and don’t settle for someone who doesn’t meet your needs.

pay attention

You started dating again but there is something about this person that bothers you. Pay attention to it. The old adage, “If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right,” is true with people as well.

talk to others

There is no reason to keep your date a secret from family and friends. Let everyone meet him/her. They will have opinions and insights to share. It’s more data to work with in order to make your decision.

feel the chemistry

There is no reason to keep your date a secret from family and friends. Let everyone meet him/her. They will have opinions and insights to share. It’s more data to work with in order to make your decision.




repeat the past

If you are paying attention to your relationship history, you know what types of people you are attracted to. You also know which people didn’t work out the first time. It probably won’t work the second, third or fourth time either!

date everyone

Just because Mary from bookkeeping is single or Bob from shipping is available doesn’t mean that you should date them. Be clear about who you want to be with and stay with that plan. No one has ever died from being lonely. It feels crappy but probably won’t cause death.

ignore the “flags”

You know what flags are: they are the comments that are made, the illogical behaviors that occur, the stories that you question. Communicate about them. Pay attention to them. Don’t excuse them because you really like the person.

listen to everyone

Everyone thinks they know everything about relationships. They are more than happy to share their beliefs, opinions, feelings about who would be best for you. You have an idea about who your ideal partner is — listen to yourself.

think that the relationship will get better
If you are dating someone and there is regular conflict, major areas of disagreement, or addiction/mental health issues, these will not improve by themselves. The relationship will continue to be affected by these issues — they won’t go away. Love will not make them better; only the other person can make them better.



In order to pick your next partner, you need to look inward. You need to pick “the best athlete available” — the one that fits your needs! It’s ok to be afraid and apprehensive. Collect data from both your heart and your head. Don’t be afraid to eliminate people from your search. Pay attention to the “flags”, listen to yourself. You will know when you have found the right person.


Flags and Flaglettes

The online dating world is a wild and unpredictable domain. Every person seeks a dating partner and uses many of the sites that are available. Ranging from expensive to free, people are looking for that next partner. It appears that the sites that are free seem to appeal to one group, the ethnic sites to ethnicity, the expensive ones appeal to people who have more disposable income.

In meeting a prospective new partner, there is one word that comes to mind SCREENING. Some of the people on dating sites are pretty crazy or dysfunctional. Others may or may not be keepers. In doing your screening, you have to evaluate, you need an internal system, you need flags and flaglettes.

Your mechanism of screening should allow you see some potential problems or flags. (one woman I worked with met a guy with so many flags he looked like the UN)

But not everyone can be so colorful. Sometimes you get an inkling of a problem, but it’s not so clear cut, so what do you do? You use a flaglette. A flaglette looks like this:

It’s a small, but significant, marking device. It tells you “hmm, I need to keep my eye on this”. In this way you have noted that there is an issue to address, without ignoring it, and without an exaggerated “this person is not good for me” reaction.

Flags and Flaglettes are good screening devices that allow us to pay attention to things we might ignore.


The Biggest Two letter Word

Imagine that you have a car that you have had forever. It’s got many thousands of miles on it. It’s reliable & dependable. You have taken it on many trips through all kinds of terrain, all kinds of weather, and with all kinds of people. You often think if this car could talk, it could tell the world some of my deepest darkest secrets. One day you begin to notice that your car is starting to develop rust on its body. It gradually is in need of more and more repair, some more expensive than it justifies. Your rationale is “I love that car, I want to keep it forever”. The car keeps running but the pattern of running and repair continues. On a rainy and disgusting day, you have an important meeting to attend and are running a little late. You hop into your reliable and dependable car to take you to this meeting. Unfortunately, it dies. You are stranded, the car doesn’t work and you need to be towed to the service station. The new pattern with your beloved car is that it works, but it keeps breaking down. One day you out of total frustration you say “I love this car, but not in love with it anymore”

To make this point clearer, listen to this song by Pure Prairie League entitled “Amie”. You have to wait unit 3:47 into the song to hear it. So since I’ve told you where to look, pay careful attention.

Here are the lyrics for the last part:

I keep falling in and out of love with you. 
Falling in and out of love with you. 
Don’t know what I’m gonna do
. I keep falling in and out of love with you, ooh…

The last line “falling in and out of love with you” is the one we want because the word IN is the homerun– I love you, but am I “in” love with you? That 2 letter word “in” is so potent in relationships. Most people who have been in long term relationships can easily say I love him or her, but struggle to say that they are in love with that person.

How does that change? In many relationships the “in” is eroded by problems in the marriage. These may be the “big ticket” items–addiction, abuse, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. or may be the day to day— we stopped talking, our lives are too busy, the kids came, the job took over etc. In either case, in order to get the “in” back, we have lots of work to do. Clearly the communication skills that we have been talking about (last 3 blog entries) will be of great assistance here since clearly we need to begin to discuss the problems in a healthier way. If we have the big ticket items version those issues have to be dealt with first. It’s amazing to me how many people come for couple’s counseling in order to fix their partner’s issues. (Look for a more in-depth discussion in the blog entitled “she’s got issues” coming to a blog near you) Those major issues are the first part of any type of treatment with the relationship a distant third. If the person with the major issues fixes their problem, and the partner fixes their issues, then the relationship has a chance for not only repair, but rebirth as it finds that “in love” place. Ironically, it’s the couples with the day to day erosion that have the harder time getting the “in” back. The structure of the relationship, whether caused by kids, work, or distance, has created the problems. The structure of the relationship? has gotten stuck over time. It has to be changed to produce a new relationship with good communication, good intimacy, and a good partnership. If that sounds as hard to you as it does to me, than you know we have a lot of work ahead of us. To get this “in” back, we’re going to need some in-depth, in-siteful, and in-tense work in order to produce change. Its very doable work, but work none the less. When all is said and done, we want the song lyric to be “I keep falling in love with you”


Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

The interesection of music and therapy continues. Watch the classic Carole King song ?Will you still love me tomorrow?

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Tonight you’re mine completely,
You give your love so sweetly,
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes,
But will you love me tomorrow?

Is this a lasting treasure,
Or just a moment’s pleasure,
Can I believe the magic of your sighs,
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Tonight with words unspoken,
You said that I?m the only one,
But will my heart be broken,
When the night (When the night)
Meets the morning sun.

I’d like to know that your love,
Is love I can be sure of,
So tell me now and I won’t ask again,
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Will you still love me tomorrow?

A great song that talks about a person who is fearful that their partner will not love them tomorrow. Often times relationships occur with one partner feeling this way all of the time. They have significant issues with abandonment and rejection. They are fearful that due to their lack of self esteem, that their partner will leave them. They do all kinds of things to keep the person happy, keep them from that ultimate fear–rejection/abandonment. When that occurs, they are like to hurt themselves or others with anger/rage. People who fit this profile generally have

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

What is BPD?

This is a complicated disorder that affects many people and their families. I have seen many partners, who get into a relationship with a BPD person, have their self esteem shredded by the disorder. You can’t fix them, but you can fix yourself. Go to therapy, join a group, go to websites like and read the message boards. There is help, there is hope, change is possible.