“As much as I enjoy romance, it’s commitment that I need the most. I need to know a love I can depend on, a love that says, “I will be with you through it all. I love you. And I will love you even when you may not be all that lovable, for sometimes I’m not very lovable either. You can count on me—always.” ~ Steve Goodier
We like to talk about the things in life that motivate us to get out of bed in the morning.
The pursuit of happiness, fulfilling work, travel, friendship, and finding a soulmate seem to top our lists. Finding a true love companion to traverse the winding roads of life by our side is a lovely goal. And, making this special love last somehow appears to be one of the pinnacles of success. Everyone, it seems, wants to find and keep that certain someone.
We can say it’s about physical attraction and sexual chemistry. We can talk about humor, and kindness, and shared beliefs. While these things are clearly important, there are only four real “must-haves” to protect lasting love:
Sensation. Physical touch is important. Finding someone who rubs your back, or runs a hand down your arm when you are speaking, a person who naturally wants to touch you, who is drawn to you, is the person seeking a genuine, intimate connection. If he or she is selflessly reaching for you, trying to aid and add comfort (and love) to the energy that surrounds your being, not only to make you feel good, but to just be there in the moment with you, they’re probably worth your time.
Touching is a small thing, but it demonstrates attention, and the desire to put you first.
My widowed grandmother used to love getting her hair done a few times a week. I asked her why she went so often, and her response was: “Just to have someone touch me feels like heaven.” We cannot underestimate the power of physical touch. The person who seeks to hold your hand is the same person who will seek to stay connected when life gets messy.
Separation. Respect for privacy is essential. My partner doesn’t have to know absolutely everything about me, where I’ve been, what I’m doing, or what I’m thinking all the time. Too much of that feels like suffocation. When suffocation comes into play, resentment builds and bursts, and along with that comes a river of hard feelings and codependency. Instead, weaving two separate pieces of fabric together is the ideal set-up for lasting love.
We can remain individuals and still share a bond. Sometimes I think of my own relationship as a Venn diagram. We are two people with different interests and activities, but we find our common ground in the middle. And we like hitting the middle a whole lot! It’s enough to sustain our relationship. Privacy is about maintaining independence. It’s about being your own person, and staying true to who you are, despite being part of a cohesive unit.
Finding someone who understands that “alone time” and “separation” are as valuable as “shared time” and “together” (without jealousy, suspicion, or resentment) is one of the keys to relationship success. Despite our need for connection and touch, most of us also crave opportunities to do our own thing our own way without discussion or apology.
Validation. Respect is a core requirement. Finding someone who understands and accepts who we are, what we have to say, and what we are doing with our lives without trying to change us is the one to be with. Validation is not about agreement, it’s about having our partner recognize where we are coming from despite seeing it a different way. Feeling validated by our partner is extremely powerful in the continued development our self-esteem, and how we stay motivated to do the things we want to do with our lives.
A person who understands our message exactly as it’s conveyed (even if he or she respectfully disagrees), is the person who will defend our point of view, and our right to have it. Mutual respect (with a bit of admiration tossed in), despite disagreement, is a relationship dynamic that is difficult to beat.
Satisfaction. Authentic happiness is pulled from many places, not just from our partner. When we are satisfied with our lives, it fortifies our love connection, and visa versa. Happiness is usually the result when most of our needs and desires are consistently being met, without unnecessary drama or fabricated insecurity along the way. When we’re getting enough sex, enough intimacy, and enough support, we are satisfied. And if we’re also having plenty of fun, that’s icing on the cake!
Relationship staying power must happen without manipulation. When we are wholly satisfied with ourselves, insecurity can’t creep in and wreak havoc on our relationship. A person who appears to be happy with or without a mate, is the ideal person for a serious relationship.
Finding that special someone is easier when we look past the basics of physical attraction and shared beliefs. A confident, independent individual who reaches out to touch us, validates our ideas and opinions, enjoys separate interests, and leads a satisfied life without solely relying on us for happiness, is the “right” person for long-lasting love.