“Find yourself first… like yourself first… love yourself FIRST… & friendship & love will naturally find YOU.”
~ Mandy Hale
This requires a healthy dose of self-awareness. You really need to know yourself intimately and understand who you are and why you do the things you do.
Once you understand yourself, especially your enduring vulnerabilities (the things in life you are particularly sensitive to or triggered by), you’ll be better equipped to recognize patterns and themes in your life and act accordingly in a conscious manner.
Here are some tips to decipher whether you have genuine feelings for a guy or you just want a boyfriend:
Signs you genuinely like him:
- You are aware of your feelings and feel comfortable articulating them to him
- You are mindful of the interactions you have with your guy i.e. you take care of how you behave and show up in the relationship
- You don’t play games and make your boundaries around this clear to him
- You sense you’re both on the same page regarding life goals, visions, and values
- You enjoy spending time with him can be your authentic self around him
- There is a sense of flow and ease within your relationship
- There is mutual respect, kindness, trust, care, and empathy
Signs you just want a boyfriend:
- You ignore or minimize red flags
- You excuse your poor behavior or treatment of him
- You excuse his poor behavior or treatment of you
- You act in ways that go against your values, morals, or beliefs
- You avoid deepening the connection/relationship by keeping it surface level
- You step outside your personal boundaries to “win” the guy over
- You do or say things that just aren’t typical you to get his attention
- You’re only attracted to him because he pursued you, gives you attention, and you feel bad saying no
If you’re starting to sense that perhaps you’re not really into this guy and just want a boyfriend, then you need to explore this crucial question: “Why would I just want a boyfriend?”
Possible reasons may include:
- You fear of being alone and “just having a boyfriend” will soothe your fear and anxiety
- You’re using him as a rebound to distract yourself from a recent break up
- You’re trying to avoid past pain or trauma
- You like the attention/being pursued, even if it is from a guy you’re not really into
- You want to prove some kind of point to yourself or others
- You just want a consistent hook up buddy
- Other aspects of your life are not fulfilling
- You feel stigmatized for being single and think you’ll fit in if you have a boyfriend
- Your tired of the dating pool and want to settle down
If any of these reasons resonate with you, you’ll likely end up with incompatible partners and/or stay in relationships with the wrong partner for way too long.
It’s time for you to get clear and honest about your motives for “just wanting a boyfriend”.
Your emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth will undoubtedly be stunted and keep you from experiencing the love you deserve if you do not break these patterns.
Doing this inner-work will help you untangle the underlying patterns in your life that are not serving you and allow you to open yourself up to the possibility of real love.
Rebecca Lanier, LMFT, EdS, MEd – www.rebeccalanierlmft.com
It’s good that you’re reflecting and asking yourself whether or not you are in a relationship with your ideal partner.
The last thing you want is to be “blinded by love” where you don’t see the “red flags” and end up staying too long in an unfulfilling relationship.
The fact that you’re asking this question could, however, indicate that you have some uncertainties about your partner.
There are many ways you could explore your doubts, however, the following four areas may support you to discover your answer, but you may have to dig deep:
1. Am I ready to date?
What people want and what they’re ready for are two different things.
You may “want” to be in a full-time relationship, but are you ready to receive love? For example, are you still carrying hurts and wounds from a previous relationship and you are with your partner to fill a “void” so you don’t have to face your pain?
You may struggle to be “single” and your partner takes away your fears and anxieties of being on your own.
- If this is you, what frightens you about being single?
- What relationship wounds do you need to heal?
- What are your “real“ reasons for wanting to be in a relationship?
2. Does my partner meet all of my relationship requirements?
A relationship requirement is something you “require” in a relationship for it to work. They’re your “deal breakers” and you can’t (and won’t) compromise them.
Generally, when people date, they do things “back-to-front.” They look to see if their partner meets their “wants” and “needs” in a relationship.
You know, all those things that make you “similar” and the enjoyable things in relationships such as liking the same music, etc. However, wants and needs are not a solid base for you to build a long-term relationship, which is where requirements come in.
- Does your partner meet all of your relationship requirements (the important things in your life that you won’t compromise on) or do you have a few things that are similar?
Consider the “wants” and “needs” that are met in this relationship, and of course, your requirements. If “all” of your requirements are not met, do you want to continue seeing this person?
3. Am I falling for the “potential” trap?
Maybe you’re attracted to your partner because he has one or two qualities you find endearing. For example, he loves animals and values his family. However, maybe there are areas that niggle or bug you, too.
Are you falling into the “potential” trap where you see your partner’s “potential” to change if he only, did this or did that?
For instance, he has the potential to be more appealing to you as a partner if he worked on his academic ability and went back to school.
- Are you trying to weed him in as a potential partner (looking at only the positives) and ignoring the red flags?
- If you’re in a relationship with someone that you want to change, is he the right person for you?
- Would you want to be in a relationship with someone who tries to change you? or do you want to be in a relationship with someone who loves you for, you? I bet I know your answer!
4. Do I enjoy my time with my partner?
If you enjoy your time with your partner, you may want to release your expectations of where the relationship may (or may not) go. Why not enjoy the moment and your time together and see where you end up?
If you do not enjoy your time with your partner, why are you in this relationship?
There has to be some pay-off for you remain in a relationship with a person you don’t enjoy spending time with! What is your pay-off? What is the “real” reason you continue to see this person?
If you decide that this person is not the one for you, know that it will create space in your life.
When you create space, you are opening up opportunities for growth, and another person to enter (who is more aligned with who you are) when the time is right.
Sharon Craig, Dating and Relationship Coach — www.coach2connect.co
One of the hardest things to do when you are dating is to decide if this new guy could be “the one”. Does he really have what you are looking for in a partner or are you dating him because it feels good to have someone in your life?
There are some secrets to knowing how to date successfully.
Most singles go out looking for a partner with a vague idea of what they want in a relationship and who they hope to meet. This is like heading out on a trip without a map and hoping you get there.
Chances are you will end up someplace you did not want to go or just drive around lost indefinitely.
This is one reason so many singles are frustrated with dating. You need a road map for dating just as you do for going on a trip.
One of the secrets to dating successfully is to know what core values or requirements you are looking for in a relationship.
The “must haves” will only be a list of about 5 to 10 things that, without those, you would not be happy. You are looking for someone who has the same vision in life as you and the same core values. For example, if you want to get married and have children, why waste time with someone who does not want those same things.
When I started dating again after being married for 28 years, I imagined myself with a businessman wearing a suit and tie.
I imagined all the things we would do together. Luckily, I learned about dating requirements and came up with a list of my must haves. Suit and tie were not on that list. Walking the beach with me and hiking was not on that list either. Those would be nice but not requirements.
I made a list of things like spending quality time together, mutual respect, and shared parenting philosophies.
These were just a few of the things that were important to me. If I had not done this and dated with these qualities in mind while being open to the rest, I would not have met my current husband.
He is not someone I would have pictured myself ending up with.
He is retired law enforcement, rides a motorcycle, and is perfect for me and my family. He meets all of my requirements and I have discovered new things I love, like traveling on the back of a motorcycle.
Once you are clear on your relationship requirements, you will no longer date anyone who does not meet all of them.
You will no longer wonder whether this is the right person for you or not. Go out and have fun on dates but now you know how to evaluate the potential for a true partner, not just someone who fills a temporary need.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS, CRC — www.lorianndavis.com
We all want companionship and it generally feels good to be liked– but how do we distinguish between these desires and true compatibility and intimacy?
One thing I always encourage clients to consider is the trifecta in any relationship of: respect for yourself, respect for your partner, and respect for the relationship.
Many relationships that are struggling are out of balance here.
They are either
- Placing their partner’s needs over the relationship and themselves,
- Placing their needs over their partner’s and the relationship, or
- So committed to the relationship that neither they or their partner feels respected or that their needs are being met.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, it is time to re-evaluate the status quo and diagnose whether the imbalance in whichever direction may be indication that you are not truly as invested in the person and the relationship as you may be telling yourself.
If you are questioning whether you really like someone or just want a partner, then you are already having some doubt.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the person is a bad fit for you, and it can be useful to talk with a professional about your specific circumstances which might be leading you to be apprehensive.
Say you have a history of bad relationships and have been told “you just can’t be single”— you may second guess your motivations for being with someone, even if they are healthy for you.
On the other hand, if you are questioning this and have some gut feelings about why your partner may just be a space holder or comfort blanket for the time being, those are also healthy things to explore with a therapist or psychologist who can help you untangle your feelings.
Our attachment style and experiences of trauma, loss, loneliness, or abandonment can influence how we seek out intimacy and relationships.
If you are questioning whether your connection to a current beau is real or just to ease your mind and insecurities, reach out to a professional who can get to know you and help you understand your behavior patterns and thought processes and then truly determine whether he’s a keeper or not!
Rachel Kitson, PhD — www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/rachel-kitson-charlotte-nc
It’s not always easy being single (even though there’s a lot of amazing things about it too).
Especially in 2020 when everywhere you look you are exposed to new social media posts of engagements, wedding photos, and pregnancy announcements. This exposure can be confusing on one’s emotions, increasing the pressure to force a relationship.
A relationship can seem appealing for some obvious reasons.
Movie dates, dinners, flowers, cuddling, companionship, and more. However, the thing women tend to overlook is THE BOYFRIEND himself.
A relationship is only as strong and healthy as the two individuals that make up the couple.
Is the guy you are seeing really what you are looking for in a boyfriend?
Do I really like this guy? Do I just want a boyfriend?
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself the right questions.
- What do I like about him?
- What does he bring to the table?
It shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth to try and identify the positive things you admire about your boyfriend.
If you find you are coming up short, it may be an indicator that you like the IDEA of a boyfriend more than the man himself.
It is also important to identify some of the core traits that make a relationship healthy.
Things like respect, support, trust, and communication are essential components to any relationship. It is imperative that you don’t let the glitz and glamor of “having a boyfriend” alter your standards of treatment.
At the end of the day, it is more important to be treated in the way you deserve than to change your social media status to “in a relationship” for the wrong reasons.
You deserve the best, and sometimes that requires a little patience.
Jamie Ratowski, LMFT – www.brightsidetherapyfl.com
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