There are some lessons that you can truly only learn over time with experience, and one that really only became apparent to me over the years is this: we all have vastly different capacities for love. There is definitely a direct correlation between your bonding experiences growing up and the attachment style you display as an adult. A lot also depends on your mental health and ability to process emotions. The more insight you have into yourself then, the better you will be at identifying what you need in a partner, and whether you can accept the love they are capable of demonstrating.
The only way to come to terms with your own bandwidth of course is to test its limits– so here are some key questions you may want to ask yourself:
1. Can you tolerate long distance relationships?
2. Are you okay dating someone that is only available twice a month?
3. Can you stomach being intimate with someone that is seeing other people?
4. Do you have an issue with people that have to remain in constant contact with you and need to know your every move?
5. Is PDA (public displays of affection) acceptable to you?
6. Do you need big, elaborate gestures to feel loved, or are you more comfortable with low key, small acts of kindness?
7. Do you require daily compliments?
8. Is frequent intimacy important to you?
9. Are you more of a plain vanilla person, or do you like to live on the wild side?
10. Do you need to feel in control, or are you okay playing a more submissive role?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions– you just need to be at ease with who you are, and then be capable of sharing these answers with your potential partner. They may not be able to meet your needs or wants for reasons that have nothing to do with you. As I said before, the way we are wired has a lot to do with our own nature and how we are nutured. So, you can’t take it personally if someone says I just can’t stomach a long distance relationship, or I’m not ready to commit to any one person. If someone isn’t capable of meeting your needs, all it is speaking to is their own capacity, not your worthiness of being loved.
Figure out your bandwidth, and then be honest with others about what you really want from them. Not everyone will be capable of meeting your standards, and you need to be prepared to walk away if that is the case. There is no point in forcing outcomes or trying to convince yourself to settle for less. Patience is a virtue– especially when it comes to love. Just wait for the one who will give you the love you need and deserve!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.