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  • Olivia Sanders
    Olivia Sanders

    How Do I Know What Type Of Relationship Is Best For Me?

    Dear eNotAlone: I'm a single man in my late twenties, and I started to feel like I'm in a bit of a dilemma recently. On the one hand, I've had a few friends who got into relationships with women only to find themselves becoming more and more unhappy over time as things progressed. On the other hand, I've also had friends who got into relationships with men and were more satisfied with them for a longer period of time. I'm starting to get confused about which path is best for me. Should I stick with relationships with women and take my chances, or should I consider relationships with men? How do I know what type of relationship is best for me?

    * * *

    The choice of romantic partner should never be taken lightly, regardless of gender. As someone facing this particular dilemma, there are several steps to take which can help make an informed decision.

    The first step is to take time to decide what you are looking for in a relationship. Romantic partners come with a variety of qualities which may suit different individual circumstanced. Ask yourself what it is that you desire in a partner, both tangible qualities such as sense of humour, social status and life style, as well as intangible qualities such as empathy and understanding – essentially, ask yourself what you need from a partnership in order to be fulfilled. This can provide a helpful focus in your search. Once you have established this, you are in a position to weigh up the options available to you.

    The second step is to objectively review the experiences of others. It would be unwise to make generalizations based on these experiences, as everyone's dynamic is unique, yet these individual stories can facilitate learning and possibly advise decisions which may be better suited to your situation. Reflect on the stories you have heard and understand the circumstances in which they occurred. Speculate as to why some relationships flourished while others didn't and then use this to inform your decisions.

    The third step is to be aware of your own preferences and limitations. It is important to feel comfortable with your choices, and to identify any factors which could prevent you from forming a successful partnership. If for example, you are averse to public displays of affection, or if the uncertainties of a cross-cultural relationship may be misconstrued – identify any drawbacks and accept that these may pose hurdles which you may need to consider.

    When ready, try not to shy away from exploring often untrodden paths. If a same-sex relationship calls out to you, and you feel that it may offer a more fulfilling dynamic than a heterosexual relationship - don't be held back by misinformation and ignore potential. Recognizing yourself will be the best driver in choosing a suitable partner, no matter their gender.

    The process of finding a relationship involves weighing options, considering viewpoints and engaging in self-reflection. The aim is to discover the path which, upon further exploration, feels right for you and provides satisfaction and companionship.

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