By: Laura Dimler, M.A., Guest Contributer
We are constantly told that we need to make sure that we treat our significant other with honor, honesty, respect, and loyalty. But what about when we are still searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right? What can we do to prepare ourselves to meet the one? I certainly do not have all the answers to that question, but I can tell you what I’ve learned from my experience of dating in LA.
I wanted to find a man who embodied all the values, morals, and beliefs that I have…but I was not acting that way. I was attracting men who neglected to treat me with the utmost respect that I deserve (that any man or woman deserves, might I add). But why should they when I was allowing that behavior from them by the way I conduct myself? I am not attempting to place blame on either sex for the dating culture in the modern world, I am simply trying to show a point that both sexes must demand a certain level of respect. It is no wonder that I was attracting men who did not live up to my belief system or my standards, because I wasn’t outwardly living them, either! I was saying yes to ambiguous and non-committal hang outs instead of proper dates. When asking him why he’d only text, not call, I’d accept the always disrespectful response of, “I’m just not a phone person.” I was meeting men in places that did not convey the want for a relationship (LA bars, anyone?).
I was far from treating myself with honor, love, and kindness, and the underlying reason for this was simply because I didn’t like myself at the time. I didn’t like my actions. I was trying to live the “single, 20-something in LA” life, but at the cost of my self-respect. My wake-up call was when I realized that all of the men I was meeting and casually dating had the same qualities that I disliked! I was obviously attracted to this “type,” and they were attracted to the qualities I was exuding. The common denominator was me. I realized that we attract people who are like us, and not just in terms of romantic and physical attraction. We attract them in all areas of our lives, even coworkers and friendships! Similar people tend to turn up in our lives all at angles.
Yes, the underlying cliché of this post is “You have to love yourself before someone else can love you”. We have all heard that phrase and maybe had it spoken to us! But there is a reason for this; your significant other should be a mirror for you. They should make you see all your perfections (and imperfections) and push you to continually strive to be a better version of yourself. But, no one can help you on this journey if they meet you when you dislike and disrespect yourself. They need to meet you when you already are working on those attributes, otherwise, that person gets to know a side of you that you don’t even enjoy. The bottom line is this: Do you like yourself? Would you be attracted to someone who was the opposite sex version of you and your actions? Would you be attracted to someone who engages in the behaviors and actions of which you participate? There are two solutions if your answer is ‘no’: the first, and most important, is to learn to treat yourself with respect, love, and gratitude. The second, is to turn yourself into the person who you want to be. Make it your goal to hold yourself to higher standards, and I promise, a partner with the same standards will come along.