In part 1, we discussed non-negotiables for a relationship and what that means in the current dating world. These non-negotiables are five traits, characteristics, and values you desire in a partner. Now, let’s focus on refining those five traits/ideas. Your measuring stick is your guide to solidifying five distinct non-negotiables for dating.
How do I use my measuring stick?
Non-negotiables for a relationship should be specific and tailored to each person. This means your non-negotiables might not be the same as your friend’s, and that is expected and okay! People define their non-negotiables based on previous relationships, personal values, and attraction. Of course, those are broad categories. It is recommended to use a precise measuring stick to determine what each trait or category looks like or means to you.
What does this mean specifically?
You may think your five non-negotiables are already fitted to you, but it is valuable to further refine those characteristics. Creating specific non-negotiables allow you to fully understand what you want in a partner to build healthier relationships. To use your correct measuring stick, analyze your non-negotiables and ask yourself about what each trait means to you, and what that trait looks like in another person. Let’s consider these broader traits as an example:
Here’s an example of three non-negotiables for a partner:
- Understanding of mental health
- Shares the same values
The first trait is broad. What does “career-driven” mean to you? Maybe you want someone who continues to “move up” or receive promotions in their career? Maybe you want someone with a college degree? Maybe this means you are self-motivated and have an excellent work ethic, and desire someone who is going to match your motivation?
What does “understanding of mental health” look like? Do you want someone who can empathize with you because they have mental health struggles? If the person has mental health struggles, then what do those struggles look like? Do you want someone that comforts you when you are emotionally vulnerable?
Lastly, what values do you want shared? Are you okay if some values are shared, while others are not? For example, some couples share values of treating others with respect and being kind, but they may follow different religions. It is helpful to ascertain what values you want a partner to share.
Here are more specific non-negotiables based on the broad traits above:
- Demonstrates goal-oriented behavior and continues to pursue promotions and “moving up” within a company
- Allows me to be open about my mental health history and comforts me when I am emotionally vulnerable in the present
- Values family and respects my parents
How do I use my 5 tailored, relationship non-negotiables?
Defining your non-negotiables narrows your dating choices, without restricting yourself to overwhelming, unrealistic guidelines. As an example, you may find someone who fits all five of your non-negotiables, but there is one character trait you are not the biggest fan of. Maybe the person dresses differently than any of your former partners? Maybe the person has a child? Maybe the person isn’t as financially stable as you are, currently? In previous circumstances, you may have skipped that first date or deleted their number off your phone. With defining and committing to your new non-negotiables, you can take a chance on that person and redefine your image of a future partner. With taking these new chances, you are preserving your values while being open to new relationships. After all, this could lead to building a romantic connection you might have previously looked over.
Remember, when entering today’s “dating world,” recognize your five non-negotiables for a healthy relationship and commit to those five while throwing out your previous expectations.
Savage, D. (Host). (2006-present). Savage Lovecast [Audio podcast]. Index Newspapers.