Weeding Out the Players From the Keepers
Let's begin with a quick quiz.
A Player is someone who:
* Has difficulty making a commitment to one person
* Dates several people at once- usually without telling any of them about the others
* When on a date- flirts shamelessly with every available person in the room
* Is charming, smooth and a great talker
* Tells you everything you want and need to hear- but their actions say something else entirely
* Is fun, sexy and holds your attention
* Acts badly towards you at times, but is usually sorry and begs for forgiveness- which you are quick to grant
* Is never boring or predictable and/or someone you can rely on to follow through on promises or plans
* Has a history of hit and run dating, with few or no real relationships
10. All of the above
True: 2, 3, 5, 8. Players can have some of the other characteristics- but so can Keepers.
I'd be willing to bet that many of you scored highly on my little quiz. So, I have to ask myself WHY I continue to get so many emails from singles who are seeking help with telling the Players from the Keepers. If it's not a matter of "intellectually knowing," it must be something else.
When it comes to intimate relationships, we all have blind spots. On one side of the continuum are the folks who see only the good qualities, as they screen out any bad ones. On the other end, we have the people who see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe. Most of us fall somewhere in-between. Now you might be thinking that since romantic relationships are uniquely different from the ones we share with friends and family, that it is necessary for their continued existence to be able to overlook small faults, petty hurts and bad behavior in order to get through the "good times and bad" that eventually come. This is true, but to what extent? It's all about degrees of satisfaction, getting mutual needs met, and having a good foundation of trust and respect. In other words, the relationship should at least have the potential to be one that will go the distance, through whatever life throws at you. If you find that you are frequently dissecting it and rehashing something that was said or done, looking for reassurances from friends and relationship experts, and/or feeling a sense of doubt and insecurity about your partner's commitment to you and to the relationship--you should stop, think and listen closely to what your gut is trying to tell you.
Perhaps the inability to see one's love interest as they truly are, results from an intense chemical attraction that overpowers reason and common sense. Perhaps there is an element of fear involved. The fear of never finding that someone, and therefore being alone- can be a powerful reason for attempting to keep a relationship going. Then there are those people who are drawn to certain qualities in others, and often this attraction happens on an unconscious level. For instance, the men who look for women who need rescuing or the women who want to help and nurture those misunderstood and forever disadvantaged bad boys.
If I had to offer you one way to really know if someone is right for you--I'd say to look for consistency. Someone can say everything you want to hear--but unless it is backed up consistently by what they DO, it is not to be trusted. Once you allow yourself to see someone clearly, it will be easier to take the next step forward or backwards, without self-doubt and/or the threat of rebounding back into their arms and an unhealthy relationship, over and over again.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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