Why You Should Make A Relationship Checklist, According To A Licensed Psychotherapist
Think about what you're looking for in a relationship. No, not what your partner should look like or how tall they are—the qualities you need in a person in order to feel secure and loved. Now, what if you entered into a new relationship maintaining those values instead of disregarding your needs and accepting the bare minimum in hopes of making that relationship stick. Doesn't that sound much healthier?
It can be difficult to hold a partner to certain standards if you don't enter into a relationship knowing what you need or expect from someone, so creating a relationship checklist to guide you may actually be an excellent way to have your next romance be one of a higher quality.
On the mbg podcast, mbg founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob spoke with licensed psychotherapist and trauma specialist Britt Frank, MSW, LSCSW, to discuss the importance of building a checklist for your desired partner and how this can help create a more realistic view of love.
Why you should create a relationship checklist.
To reiterate: Your checklist should not be about physical attributes. The benefit of creating this list is to get clear about what you're actually looking for and what traits you think would best support your life. Remember, a relationship should enhance your existing life rather than create your happiness.
"The problem is we don't approach dating with the same discipline that we approach our careers and our business," notes Frank. "When I work with clients who are interested in dating, we need a strategy, and we have to start with: What are your nonnegotiables?”
Frank explains that it can be helpful to break down your red lights, yellow lights, and green lights, uncovering which actions in a partner you're willing to accept, move forward with caution, or call it quits over.
In the early days of a fresh relationship, it's far too easy to get whisked away in the idea of a new person, but approaching your romance with a list can allow you to be more pragmatic and objective about whether or not this person is actually a good fit in your life.
What your checklist should include.
Taking a look at your core values is a great place to start when building your relationship checklist. "We're talking about values and qualities," says Frank. "For me, I'm a hard-core introvert. I need an inordinate amount of alone time. I would not work in a relationship with someone that wanted to talk to me all day."
Being realistic about what you need out of a person can also eliminate some of the tension from your relationship, if you're initially clear on expectations, as well. "It's not sexy to talk about values and compatibility and dissonance, but it's important," she says. "Again, self-honesty. Self-awareness, what's really true for you, about you. And is that person going to harmonize with that instead of trying to jam it in?"
It's only natural to want to enter into a long-term relationship that's actually going to last (if that's what you're looking for, of course), and creating a checklist is a great tool to help build a guideline of your nonnegotiables.
Are you likely to find someone who checks off every single box on your list? Perhaps not, but setting a good base can help give you a clear head when entering into new relationships, so you can rest assured you're finding a partner who's actually a good match.