by Gena Kaufman, Glamour
If you feel like you keep trying and failing in the world of love (you and me both, sister), you may need to ask yourself a few questions to make sure you've prepared yourself before a new relationship.
Look, of course we all love talking about the romantic "squeee!" moments of dating, but there's a practical side to falling in love, and if you don't make the effort to know yourself and make sensible priorities, you're probably setting yourself up for heartbreak.
Over at Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Seth Meyers lays out a "Dating Checklist" of five questions everyone should ask themselves to ensure happy and functional relationships. Here are his must-ask questions, and his advice on the answers:
1. "What are the three most important characteristics to look for in a partner?
People let superficial characteristics get in the way, but Meyers says kindness, reliability and emotional stability are what matter the most. Eye candy is good, but don't let it distract you from the less exciting but more fulfilling stuff.
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2. "What is the primary purpose of a romantic relationship?"
Let go of youthful delusions, like thinking you must have a baby by 27 or that if you have to go to one more wedding without a date, you'll scream. (Oh, I'm sorry, did I say youthful delusions? That was me like, yesterday.) The real purpose is to provide support and bring out the best in each other. This way, each partner can accomplish their own goals in the world. I love this, because if I think of it this way I'm not tempted to rush into a relationship that's any less than this just for some arbitrary reason.
3. "What is the main difference between a good relationship and a bad relationship?"
Pretty simple: good relationships nourish, bad relationships harm. If you're spending a lot of your time feeling frustrated, sad, angry or resentful, it's not good. You should both feel accepted and accepting of your partner, not like you need to change the other.
4. "How do you know when it's time to end a relationship?"
At Smitten, we know from experience how hard it can be to leave a long-term relationship, but when your emotional needs aren't being met, and they haven't been for a while, it's time to go. Meyers advises that if you've noticed a bad relationship pattern, talk to your partner about the behaviors that need to change and set a time period you're comfortable with to allow for the changes. At the end of that time period, you'll know what you need to do.
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5. "How sexually attracted should a person feel toward a prospective partner at the beginning of a relationship?"
While a lot of us might think this is really important (guilty as charged!), Meyers insists people put too much emphasis on a spark. Instead he says, focus on someone who has the same characteristics you would look for in a friend. In fact,if you have a history of being unfulfilled in relationships, Meyers advises actually avoiding people with whom you feel a spark, as it actually signifies that you are afraid you can't 'get" the person.
What are your answers for these five questions? Are they pretty much in line with the recommended answers, or do you follow a different philosophy? What do you think is the most important thing to ask yourself before you fall in love?
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by Gena Kaufman, Glamour