Before you start a new relationship, live a life you love

Being in a healthy, romantic relationship is certainly one of the most fulfilling and amazing experiences one can have in life. Yet it is not the only path to happiness, and it alone is rarely enough.  Relying on one other person to fill all your needs can lead to serious pressure, disappointment and resentment on both sides.  If you live a life of purpose, a partner is just a wonderful addition with whom you can share life’s many joys, as well as lean on for support in harder times. Of course no one’s life is perfect so there is no need to wait until yours is before you start dating.  However, having other sources of enjoyment and outlets for your passion outside of your relationship, whether in the area of career, hobbies, or friendships, is important for the following reasons:

1. You will be more selective about who you keep in your life.  Our time is incredibly precious and when you say “yes” to something/someone, you say “no” to something else.  By having things/people in your life that you already get enjoyment out of, you will be more likely to properly assess the value someone is bringing to your life.  If you enjoy hanging out with your friends and you start seeing someone, you will likely be giving up some time with them to make room for this new person.  If you find yourself wishing you were with your friends when the two of you are together, that could be a sign that this might not be the right fit for you. The quicker you realize that the better, since life’s too short to waste time on the wrong person.

2. You will be more attractive to your significant other.  If you don’t have a life of your own you may become too clingy and dependent on your partner, which most people can find a bit suffocating.  Having other interests/hobbies will also make you more interesting, since it gives you more to talk about and share.    Having a rich, independent life lets your significant other know that they are not your only source of joy and is more likely to keep them on their toes.

3. You’ll be less likely to stay in an unhealthy relationship.  No relationship is perfect, but ideally your significant other should make you happy more than he/she makes you unhappy. It’s easier to make this evaluation when you are starting from a good place rather than a place of desperation.  You will be more willing to walk away from a person who brings you down when you have other sources of enjoyment and enrichment.

4. If it doesn’t work out, it will make the recovery quicker and easier.  Unfortunately people break up, and when they do it can be really painful.  Remembering that you had a rich life before you entered into your relationship will give you a more realistic perspective about your future enjoyment and make it easier to see past the immediate loss.  It’s still going to hurt, but having other enjoyable ways to spend your time will help you see your way out of the heartache.

5. You will be more grateful and appreciative when you do find the right one.  The right partner will not attempt to come between you and your other interests and passions.  When that person comes into your life who loves you and supports the things that are important to you, you will be able to recognize and treasure that special person and nurture that worthwhile relationship.