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Discerning Available Partners
By Rinatta Paries
When I ask my clients to explain why their past relationships have not worked out, most tell me their past partners have been "unavailable." When asked for a description of an unavailable partner, they have listed some of the following behaviors:
Uncommunicative; keeps secrets; doesn't talk about feelings; doesn't talk about his/her life; doesn't have time for the relationship; wants a relationship on weekends only; geographically distant and doesn't want to change the situation; doesn't want a commitment; doesn't want to move to the next step in the relationship.
Do any of these behaviors remind you of your past or present relationship partner, or even of yourself?
Each of the behaviors above can be categorized as either a gap in communication, a gap in the amount of time each partner wants to spend together, or a gap in the level of commitment. These gaps are what make one partner feel the other is unavailable.
But what if there is no such thing as an unavailable partner, but rather what one partner perceives as an "available enough" partner?
I believe we each have a different need for intimacy, for availability from our partner. If we connect with a person whose need for intimacy is drastically different than ours, we will struggle and suffer in the relationship. This is why it's important to understand your own need for intimacy in order to accurately assess how much intimacy you need in a relationship. This is why it's important to get to know the person you are dating, to get to know his or her need and capacity for intimacy- before you get involved.
Answer the following questions to assess your need for intimacy:
·Describe the behaviors of a partner who is "available enough" for you?
·On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of each of the following do you need from a partner?
-Depth in the communication
-Personal space/apart time
-Depth of connection
·What needs to happen in a relationship for you to feel you have enough intimacy?
·Do you want to be in a committed relationship?
To gain even more insight into your need for intimacy, look at your past relationships. Was there a gap in what you wanted and what your partners were willing to give? Did you get the right amount of closeness, distance, communication and commitment?
So how do you recognize a partner who is "available enough" for you? Listen to your dates and watch their behavior. They will communicate clearly who they are and what they are looking for. If your date says he is not interested in a committed relationship, and you know you are, then he is not "available enough." If she says she loves her life working 80-hour weeks, while you want someone with you every night, she is not "available enough."
One key point to remember is that most people you date are not the right partners. Work on attracting a partner who wants similar things as you and has a similar value system. It will become easier to select out those who are not right for you. They are simply not "available enough." Once you begin viewing relationships in this way, you will be free to attract a partner who is "available enough."
Your Relationship Coach,
(c) Rinatta Paries, 1998-2001. This article was originally published by Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries in the Relationship Coach Newsletter, one of many relationship resources you can find at www.WhatItTakes.com. Other resources include relationship advice, quizzes, coaching and classes. Visit www.WhatItTakes.com and learn to become a True Love Magnet(tm)!
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