I was in a serious relationship with someone in my late 20s. I’m talking engaged serious. We were together for two and a half years. He was also the first guy I was involved with long term. Up until him my usual relationships lasted one to two months. I had no clue what I wanted or what a healthy committed relationship looked like. Needless to say, going in I did not have many expectations or requests. ‘Don’t leave me’ and ‘Show me love.’ Those were pretty much it.
Not trying to diminish the relationship at all when I imply that my ‘standards were low’. It was an intense, passionate, chaotic, soul expanding experience. I would not take it back as it has grown me into the woman I am.
At 27, I was a step-mom, a homeowner, a corporate regional manager, a fiancee. Talk about some big shoes to fill. It challenged me immensely but I came out of it feeling wiser about life. It also made me very clear as to what I do and do not want for the next go around.
I decided to do an autopsy on the relationship and figure out what my wants, wishes and deal breakers are for the guy who I end up in a relationship with next.
The person I met shortly after Leon (fake name for ex) was the complete opposite in so many ways and seemingly exactly the same in others. Let’s call this new guy Quincy (fake too). The differences and similarities were thankfully in the ways that I had intentionally wished for. Basically, the autopsy worked.
Where Leon was older, previously married and had kids, Quincy was younger, single and never had kids. Where Leon was more the loner type and somewhat uncomfortable in social situations, Quincy was pretty much an extrovert and the life of the party. Leon was unable to comfort me when I was upset, even after repeated and specific requests. Quincy was a natural at it and knew exactly what to do: hug me and tell me “Everything is going to be okay”. These were all the things I wished were different after my relationship with Leon ended and voila!
The similarities they had, which I loved, were passions for learning, sports, the outdoors, humor, good food, having a fun time, etc. Both adored me and had no problem affirming that verbally on a regular basis. Both were sweet, romantic, kind, funny. You get the drift.
However, Quincy and I were short lived (two and a half months as opposed to two and a half years with Leon). Albeit brief, I learned a lot. He treated me in ways that were even more ‘amazing’ than Leon. He raised the bar in my opinion. Further confirmation that the autopsy worked.
Fast forward to the guy I am currently dating (my dream man basically). We will call him Dallas (you guessed it). All of the things that did not work about Quincy, or I should say wished were different, are present with Dallas. Where Quincy was an Atheist, Dallas is spiritual and trusts my crazy psychic intuition. Where Quincy was still ‘figuring out his life’, Dallas is solidly on the path toward achieving his goals. Where Quincy wanted to be married and have kids, Dallas does not. With Quincy I had to subdue my ‘crazy’ side and with Dallas I am inspired to actually bring it out to play! Dallas and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to our relationship visions. I don’t think I have ever experienced that before.
As for the things that did work with both Leon and Quincy, i.e. the traits I loved about them, are present in Dallas as well. He is compassionate, driven, sweet, funny and in my opinion, the epitome of hot.
When I step back and look over the last few relationships, I see how this has been a process. Doing the autopsies allowed me to literally see the development in my ‘picking’ skills. An evolution to the way I approached dating and even love in general.
Being aware of what caused the breakup, as well as what got the relationship started and kept it going is powerful stuff, not to mention freeing. Performing an autopsy on your past relationship aids you in knowing what you want to repeat and what you want to avoid.
I can affirm from personal experience that autopsies are powerful and eye opening. The clearer you get on what you want, the easier it is to recognize it when it crosses your path. I wrote a post back in January that talks more about the benefit of being intentional in your relationships.
So pick two relationships from your past; one where things were awesome and one where things were not so awesome (aka shitty). If you don’t have one of each, pick the two relationships you have experienced that stand out the most in your mind.
Now for EACH relationship, ask yourself the following questions: What worked? What didn’t work? What do you wish you could have done differently? What did you want more of/less of? What drew you to your partner in the first place? What did you love about them? What drove you crazy? What are some deal breakers based on your past experiences?
Let me know how your relationship autopsies go and if I can support you at all along the way by leaving a comment.
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As a thank you, you will get a surprise from me as well … an in-depth worksheet where you list out your ideal partner and relationship. Autopsy breakdown included! When you are clear, they appear…It works like magic I tell ya. XO