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Part 1

After being married for however many years you were married (which is some number of years too long) you may find yourself wanting a new relationship.

Think about that one a long, long time.

Remember the First Rule of Life:


The first task before you go out looking for your ultimate mate is to identify your past patterns and relationships.

Has everyone you fell in love with started in a meeting in a bar? And has every such resulting relationship ended in disaster?

Then it is obvious the only person to look for in a bar is someone you'll fall madly in love with for at least 2 hours, and spend months if not years regretting it.

Change you hunting grounds.

The core thing to consider is a good relationship requires something in common beyond sex. 

Thus, if you like to sail, look for your companion in a sailing club or at the dock.

If you like drama, join the local amateur theater company even if you have to be the ticket-taker. You'll meet a lot of people interests in drama.

If you really like to collect junk...then see who of the opposite sex is at the junk yard looking for goodies like you are. This one is very important if you are a junk accumulator as this really pisses off the other person in your relationship unless they have their own junk pile.

You get the idea...if you're religious go to church...sing in the choir.

The second problem is to identify your problems.

Before you embark on a quest to find your perfect mate, it is generally accepted as useful to be honest with yourself about your faults, quirks, etc. 

If you have one or more failed relationships in the past, you know what your faults and problems've been reminded of them many times by your former partner.

Now, it is also generally accept therapeutic analysis that whatever one says about someone else is also true about them.  So what. That relationship is over.

However, it is not a bad idea to make a list of what things your former partner found annoying, irritating, or downright rage-inducing about you.

These may actually be true.

Now, there are some things on such a list if they turn up that you really need to address and correct. If you drink too much, hit other people, act abusively, are addicted to something... you need therapy right now!

But, there's a lot of stuff on the annoyance list which are just you. And you aren't likely to modify that annoying behavior just because you're in love (actually most people hide their annoying behavior during the first few weeks of infatuation then blow out and revert to their normal selves).

In initial encounters with members of the opposite sex, or same sex as the case may be, folks tend to focus on what they have in common and not on the other sides of them that are potential relationship problems.

Go to any internet dating site, and there's very little emphasis on dislikes and issues. 

Most relationships start off focused on the positive connections, then the rest of the relationship is spent hassling over the non-positive elements until the point is reached where the couple tolerates (usually grudgingly) the negatives, or the negatives finally outweigh the positives and breakup occurs.

An incredible amount of time and energy is spent grappling with relational negativities.

The smart thing to do is get them out on the table early on in a blossoming relationship.

But, this starts with being honest with yourself about what has been problematic in your behavior in other relationships.

I think it is a good idea to exchange negativities very early on (though after the first night in bed) and see how that looks. Negotiate what is or is not going to be a deal-breaker right up front.

The third step is adopt the concept that Honesty is the Best Policy.

Now, this is a very radical concept in interpersonal relationships.

One's first thought is "if I answer the question with the truth, he/she is going to blow up and the relationship will end."

This is actually true in some cases. But better right now than a few years later because it is WORSE to lie. 

The problem with not telling the truth is there is no way the other person is not going to find out your truth...especially in the internet age.

If you lie, and then get caught, you now have a double-whammy of a problem---the reaction to whatever the truth really was, and the reaction to being lied to.

The reaction to being lied to is the deal killer here. 

Very few people I have ever known trust people who have been caught lying to them. 

Unless you enjoy being lied to, then don't do it to someone else.

Take your medicine right up front. And, you might actually be surprised. The other person might now immediately throw you out of the moving car when the truth is revealed. They might actually trust and respect you even more.

And remember, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Accept the truth when you hear it. And don't be the one blowing up and rejecting the other person when truth is shared. If you do that, you create a very strong incentive for the other person to choose the lie the next time there is a choice...if there even is a next time.

Remember, by the time each of us reaches a certain age, we've each done a lot of stupid and foolish things we regret and would just as like to forget. 

Trying to hide those truths evades the real issue--are you going to do that same stupid and foolish thing again?

Lying suggests you probably will.

The purpose of having done stupid and foolish things is to learn from them...learn the consequences so you don't repeat the past over and over and get what you always got.

The fourth task is to look at the criteria you are applying to select a person to relate to.

The first criteria is generally human and that is pretty non-negotiable. However, according to many studies, more and more singles are concluding dogs, cats, horses, reptiles, and other critters are better companions than humans. 

This is not hard to understand, because just about any other living creature is more honest and affectionate than most people. And I know folks who have really neat conversations with their cats, dogs or horses.

However, assuming you goal is a relationship with another human, lots of other criteria pop up.

Political interests.

Food and entertainment preferences.

Body type.

Pierced or not pierced, tattooed or not tattooed.

Religious or not. Specific types of religious.

Scientists at the General Delivery University have been studying criteria and preferences in relationship formation for several weeks and have concluded there needs to be a weighting system applied.

How important is one preference over another. You might not really care if the partner is of a different religion if he/she is really good in the sack. Then again, a die-hard liberal is going to have serious issues with a right-wing Christian Republican conservative no matter how good the sex is.

So, after making your list of relational preferences, give them a ranking in terms of importance.

The next step in this process is to consider a concept found in relational therapy books. People sort of look for things in other people that are deficient in themselves.

For example, you are a person who wants to go traveling. But actually you don't. So you look for a partner who likes to travel.

At this point, it is a really good idea to take an over-night trip with the object of your interests and see if your relationship survives to the next morning.

The problem with deficiency surrogacy is that it never cures your deficiency unless you change yourself. You can't borrow the solution to your lack.

Thus, going back to your issues and problems, don't make solving those issues and problems criteria for someone else to fulfill in a relationship. Unless you are extremely rich and old, the other person is not likely to indulge in making up for your deficiencies and being servile to your defects.

The fifth task involves how many of your criteria do you want to match on?

In delving into this function, I came up with 74 specific criteria I would like to have in a relationship.

Mathematically, finding someone that fills all 74 of one's criteria is a ten to the minus 74th probability of happening. In context, 10 to the minus tenth probability is getting hit by a meteor. So you can see you've got a better chance to win a lottery than find your perfect match.[Note: Check out my sample Criteria]

The issue is then how many of your criteria are you willing to give up to have a relationship?

Generally, if the goal of "relationship" is to get naked with the other person, most of your 37 criteria will be negotiable.

However, the more intimate and committed the relationship you seek, the more criteria need to be fulfilled.

A major problem today in relationships is people, recognizing they are not going to be able to concentrate every criteria they want in one other person, tend to divide them up and get good conversation from person A, criteria 2-3-4-6 from person B, and so on.

If this is where you are headed, the criteria of not being jealous is extremely important for all concerned for obvious reasons.

The more successful people I've encountered with really cool relationships, tended to work backwards from their 37 criteria, only giving up a few less priority goals to get the important ones.

If relating to your soul mate requires you giving up watching football every Sunday afternoon with the guys, you'd be really stupid to choose the NFL over a life partner.

The sixth dimension is the crazy test.

A lot of people venture out into the newly singles world looking for their soul mate, only to wake up the next morning with an escaped mental patient.

While it is probably good to develop a serious level of tolerance for minor annoyances, few can live happy with a wacko.

While the following may seem a little off-putting to do at a very early stage in a new relationship, if you've ended up with an escaped mental patient in your bed, this step is strongly advised.

Ask you potential relationship person to take the following test:


Personality Disorder Test

This test, sponsored by, is meant to help determine whether or not you have a personality disorder. It is not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool, but rather as a tool to give you insight into a potential disorder that may be having a negative impact on your life. If you believe you may be suffering from a personality disorder or any other disorder, you should ask your family doctor to recommend a therapist in your area to meet with.

If you are looking for a personality test that features a professional analysis of your results, try's test.

First, what is a personality disorder?

A personality disorder is basically a set of traits that combine to negatively affect your life. They have a wide range of causes and some are easier to treat than others. This test is set up to look for the ten recongized personality disorders which are Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive.

Once again, this test is not meant to be used as a diagnostic tool. Only a trained professional can properly diagnose a personality disorder.

Finally, be honest! This test is completely anonymous, so please be honest otherwise you will not get the proper results.

What sex are you? Male
Do you believe you have more difficulty with relationships than the average person your age? Yes
Do you have difficulty trusting people? Yes
Do you tend to avoid social relationships? Yes
Do you prefer to be alone rather than in the company of others? Yes
If you answered yes to the previous question, is it because you feel very anxious in social situations, or.. Yes
..because you are suspicious of their motives? Yes
Do you find yourself unaffected by praise or criticism? Yes
Do you see people who get taken advantage of as being weak and deserving of being used? Yes
Do you feel a yearning for acceptance among your peers? Yes
Do you have a difficult time relating to others? Yes
Do you believe you have special extrasensory abilities (ability to "sense" a person's presence, for example)? Yes
Do you often find that your emotions are inappropriate for a given situation? Yes
Are you plagued by suspicions that other people, including loved ones, may be doing things behind your back that will end up hurting you? Yes
Do others see you as being cold and distant? Yes
Do you tend to choose jobs that are below your skill level? Yes
Do you find it hard to concentrate on one thing for a long time? Yes
Is your appearance or behavior considered "eccentric" by other people? Yes
Have other people accused you of being cruel to animals or people? Yes
Do you take actions without thinking about the consequences? Yes
Do you sometimes profit at the expense of others, without being bothered by the pain or damage you may cause them? Yes
Do you consider your needs to be more important to you than the needs of others? Yes
Do your moods fluctuate a lot? Yes
Are you prone to bouts of anger? Yes
Do you often feel like people are saying negative things about you behind your back? Yes
Do you often see things in black and white terms? In other words, something either is or it isn't, with no gray area inbetween. Yes
Are you often uninterested in the feelings of others? Yes
When you are talking to someone, do they sometimes have difficulty following your train of thought? Yes
Are you quick to anger when your expectations are not met? Yes
Do you intentionally injure yourself, for instance by cutting yourself or taking too many pills? Yes
Do consider yourself having a strong love for approval and praise? Yes
Do other people accuse you of being manipulative? Yes
Have you had recurrent thoughts of suicide? Yes
If you answered yes to the previous question, do you tend to have these suicidal thoughts during and after a break-up with someone? Yes
Do you tend to be critical of loved ones, sometimes holding them to higher standards than you hold yourself to? Yes
Are you very afraid of being alone? Yes
Are you focused on order and perfection? Yes
Do you feel that you are depressed a lot? Yes
Do you always feel the need to have a story to tell? Yes
Have you ever been in jail or done something that you could be put in jail for? Yes
Do other people accuse you of being self-centered? Yes
Do you occasionally or often dress or act provocatively to gain attention? Yes
Do you have a big fear of rejection (of any kind, not just romantic)? Yes
Do you often second-guess yourself? Yes
Do you find yourself exaggerating your achievements to win the respect of others? Yes
Do you frequently alternate between feelings of high self-worth and self-disappointment? Yes
Do you tend to lie a lot? Yes
Do you frequently reassure yourself that you are deserving of praise? Yes
Do you frequently reassure yourself that you are self-sufficient? Yes
Do you often feel uncomfortable in social situations? Yes
Does your concern for doing everything "right" interfere with your productivity? Yes
Do you have trouble not taking criticism personally? Yes
Do you feel the need to always be in a relationship? Yes
Are you quiet in social situations, often out of fear of saying something stupid? Yes
Are you often critical of weakness in others, particularly classmates or coworkers? Yes
Do you exaggerate the potential difficulties of new situations in order to convince yourself not to try out new activities? Yes
Do you yearn for intimate relationships yet feel that you are too socially inept to obtain them? Yes
Do you ever steal things from stores or people's houses? Yes
Do you suffer from low confidence? Yes
Have you ever exaggerated illness or other weakness in order to get attention? Yes
Do you have an intense fear of separation from those you love? Yes
Have others accused you of being arrogant? Yes
Do you avoid working in teams because you are convinced that others are too careless and will not work to your standards? Yes
Do you often let others make important decisions for you? Yes
Do you have intense feelings of inadequacy and helplessness? Yes
Do you often get stuck on the details while missing the larger picture? Yes
Are you very concerned with your appearance and how others perceive you? Yes
Do others accuse you of being rigid or stubborn? Yes
Do you have a hard time throwing things away, even if they are old and worn out? Yes
Do you engage in any obsessive or compulsive behavior? Yes
Were your parents cold and distant or treated you negatively when you were growing up? Yes

If you want to take this test and see your results, here is the link to this test. It is at Dante's Inferno Test


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Copyright 1998-2006 by Hugh Holub