Because Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and romance (mass commercialization aside), I believe it is a good time to reflect on romantic partnerships. Whether you are currently in a partnership or actively searching, contemplating your ideal partner may prove fruitful in getting the love you want.
My past approach to love and dating was to “go with the flow.” If I felt a strong connection, I pursued it thinking the connected feeling was enough proof of compatibility. After a few trials -and a couple of doozies -I realized that approach was not working. I discovered I can feel an attachment and sustain it for some time, but compatibility was not as easy to experience. After much soul-searching, I truly looked at what I want –who my ideal partner is- and I came up with some core qualities and character traits that I feel suit me best. For instance, I value honesty, communication (in particular non-violent communication), affection, accountability and empathy in a partner. Of course, I have other ideas in mind, i.e. positivity and proactivity, however some are negotiable whereas others are not.
Having said this, I invite you to think about your ideal partner. If you are in a relationship, this can have elements of your current partner(s) or it can be a fantasy figure. Try not to restrict and censor; honour what comes up. This is best done by relaxing in a distraction-free space and closing your eyes. Here are some questions to help guide you:
what are they like?
what are their interests?
what do they value? What are their goals?
what do you like doing together?
how do they make you feel?
how do you make them feel?
Now, I invite you to visualize the ideal you. As before, take a moment, breathe, and non-judgmentally see what arises. What are you like? What do you value? What are your interests and goals? How do you feel about others? How do you feel about yourself?
Often times our ideal partner reflects our deepest values and desires. Is some of what you imagined in your ideal partner echoed in the current or ideal you? Would your ideal partner be attracted to your current or ideal you? Are there discrepancies? If so, why?
You may be thinking, “It’s great to talk, and visualize, about your ideal partner and your ideal self, however, reality is different and relationships can be tough.” I understand that, believe me, I get it. However, I feel if you do not know what you want, if you do not have a clear idea about what you value and brings you joy, then you are likely receiving mixed and inconsistent results. Even if you are clear, it does not guarantee you a lasting partnership or a conflict-free one. Stuff comes up in relationships, from both outside and within, and we can consciously choose to navigate through it or not.
Also, I am not suggesting having a long list of qualities or a rigid criterion; having exceedingly high expectations could be a recipe for elusive love and continual disappointment; being too picky could also be a mask for a fear of commitment and/or intimacy. These exercises are intended to help with clarity, boundaries and focus. It is also a guide for you to be 'the better you' to preserve, or attract, the better partner(s).
Happy Valentines to the ideal and current you. I wish you your ideal partnership.
 This applies to any partner, whether in a monogamous or polyamorous relationship.