How to get More of what You Really want in Intimate Relationships:

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have had a front row seat, to observe the many ways women sabotage themselves when it comes to having more of what they want/need in intimate relationships.

Surprising though it may seem, many women spend more time planning the details of their next vacation, or Christmas dinner than reflecting on what they really want in an intimate relationship…Forget about the picture that we are given by Madison Avenue, or romance novels, that gushes unreality all over us, in an attempt to sell us illusions as if it were the real thing. I am here to tell you about having more power in choosing the nuts and bolts of a solid relationship. A partner who will love and value you and your opinions, someone who will get up with you in the wee hours of the morning when the baby is crying, or will celebrate and not be threatened when you are promoted in your career.

I hear “all the good men are taken,”or “I keep attracting the same kind of guys over and over, those who fear commitment, ones who bolt when the relationship gets warm, or others who promise a lot but leave me in emotional pain”.

Soo! What is important to you in choosing a man? What character traits do you value? If you are unsure or vague, take the uncertainty out of the vapors, and write the qualities down.

A powerful way to get clear about waht we really want,is by identifying and writing down, what is not wanted. Taking ideas out of the vapors and writing them down, gives desires, wishes and yearnings, concrete form. The same ideas after we have written them down become important and personal sources of knowledge, wisdom, and discernment that can be counted on when somebody of interest arrives on the scene.  Knowing who you are, and what is important to you, puts you in the driver’s seat to choose, and therefore less at the mercy of hormones and sexual attraction. Not being clear about your needs and wants, gives the other too much power over you and the future of your relationships. If you just want to play the field that is one thing, however if a committed long term relationship or marriage is what you want, pull up a chair, grab a pen and notebook and let’s get to work.

Create two columns. In column 1, list the qualities that you do not want. In column 2, list the important values that you have to have in your relationship to be happy; list less important character traits that you would enjoy having in a partner, list everything you can remember liking , or observing in somebody you admire, love and respect, do not hold back, you can cull  your list later. Some examples are given below.

Column1 Column 2
Controlling Flexible when situation needs it
Doesn’t listen to me Listens and values my ideas
Does not respect my opinion Asks for and respects my opinion
Does not have a sense of humor Has a good sense of humor
Infidelity Trustworthiness
Disrespect for women Respect for women
Cruelty to animals Kindness

It is likely that we will make some mistakes in our choosing: note I said choosing, not being chosen. I have met many women some very successful in their careers, who are holding on to an antiquated belief of being chosen. This is a throwback belief to the times when women were really helpless and had no power. I am not advocating that you behave out of character and become bold and aggressive. No; not at all: be true to who you are, but check your belief system to find out what is holding you back. Much of my work is devoted to helping women let go of old limiting beliefs that no longer serve them. . (

Remember, water seeks its own level. That said; we draw to ourselves that which we are at a core level. Our level of consciousness attracts to us some one of the same level, cannot be otherwise. So it behooves us to examine who we are, and consider changing the issues that give us problems, so that we can attract someone who also has less issues. You have seen a version of this unhealed dysfunction played out in real life e.g. when the bully marries the victim, the overachiever marries the irresponsible one, and the alcoholic marries the martyr. While on the surface they may appear very different, underneath they are both people with serious issues and low self-esteem.

If there is a repetitive pattern going; it is time to take stock. If you attract a type of dysfunction again and again, such as alcoholics, violent, irresponsible or disrespectful men, this is an indication of an unconscious pattern at work. This pattern is more powerful than your conscious strivings. If there is a pattern at the wheel here, run; do not walk and seek professional help, preferably with somebody well versed in family systems and relationship therapy. (See relationship articles on

I know about pain that patterns cause both personally and professionally. My father, whom I remember as a short dark, hairy, and a fun loving guy, died when I was quite young. My dating patterns and my nemesis were fun loving, short, dark hairy men, who would leave me. Oh no; they didn’t die; but leave they did, to go to another woman, to the golf course or to war, leaving me feeling abandoned and bereft. I needed therapy to break the spell in order to choose wisely. Lodged in my unconscious was the unresolved grief for my father, so powerful that it overcame my conscious decisions regarding the men in my life and the fact I was attracted men who were not good for me. If you experience a similar pattern, pay attention to the feelings that are repetitive. The feelings are important, try and remember when you first felt that way. If there is a repetitive pattern, the feelings are usually connected to early pain that has not been resolved.

Something that women do well, but to their own detriment in new relationships is to project into the future. Judy was asked out on a date for a Halloween party. For Steve it was just a date that may or may not lead to another. Judy on the other hand was wondering out loud what she might get him for Christmas. In addition she went on a diet in case they might go to the beach in the spring as she wants to look good in her bathing suit. So what is wrong with this picture? You may consider Judy a bit extreme in her projections; however what kind of projecting have you done, while for the guy involved it was just a date. If Judy wants to look good for herself, that is fine, but in this case she is preoccupied with pleasing Steve, and may not know him at all.

Who is this guy? Early in the relationship before it is complicated by sexual relations, it is my experience that guys will tell you who they are, if you ask the right questions. Women tell me that they do not ask because they do not want to be considered intrusive. I know a woman who did not ask a man the cause of his two previous divorces, only to find out, after their marriage the biggest problem in both divorces, was that he did not want children. She wanted children, and could not be happy with his unwillingness and so a third divorce. She said if I had only known. Listen carefully to his answers. Does he denigrate his ex-wife or partner? Do you believe that you will love him so much that it will be different with you? Not really!! What is his behavior when he is angry? Does he blame others for the problems that he has in his life?

It will not be different with you; do not fall in love with his potential. What you see is all that you can count on. He will not change, unless he is actively seeking change, maybe a little for you, but not a core change.

When two people fall in love there is a merging that occurs for about six months, sometimes longer. We enter into our best selves and are at a higher level of consciousness than usual, in our happy state. In this state, our old conditionings, limiting beliefs are able to be temporarily set aside, until the reality that this is a person, human with flaws showing up. The merging of falling in love is so rarefied we cannot hold on to it although we think everything would be perfect if we could, however this is not, really life. In life we have to drink the red wines as well as the rarefied white wines. When we fall off the pedestal, we are accused of not being the person with whom they fell in love. Most of us are not faking the higher being that we seem to be, but we can only be that wonderful person temporarily, that is unless we do an enormous amount of healing to get free of our conditioning. If we heal our dysfunctions, the other may not change and we will not fit once again.

Alas, we are the same, with feet of clay, flaws and all. We were privileged to have flown so close to the sun, even for a little while. Now we have to gather up our disparate pieces, and it is at this point we have the possibility of having a real love and a real relationship. The most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves, when that is right, we can have more of what we want in life. It seems like a cosmic joke, if you notice in life, when we decide that we do not need something so badly,we are more likely to be able to have it.. Blessings on your journey, Laura

Laura B Young

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