The Selection Process

The Selection Process

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Selection Process

How do you select a partner?
Is it by chance?
Is it purposeful?
Is it predetermined?
Is the first meeting guided and then free will enters beyond the initial meeting?

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What we know is this.  Some selection is Karmic (in hindsight – never in foresight).  Some selection – if not all – are need based.  These needs may be physical, social, financial, religious, and psychological – but definitely they are needs that we have.  Some selection is repetitive which suggests unresolved Karma.  Some new relationships that come immediately after a long relationship are based on opposite needs from the prior relationship.  Those needs that the other partner didn’t meet are often subconscious, sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious.  If the new partner meets these needs that are too different from the past relationship, they often don’ t work because the personality is too different.  The greatest  disappointment in a relationship rests in the failure of the partner to fulfill our beliefs and expectation in these basic need areas.

The greatest mislearned belief that we have is that “I can significantly change my partner in these areas of my needs.”  If this occurs in the area of the three givens then the disappointment is overwhelming because these givens are unchangeable.  They are basically given at birth and change only slightly during a lifetime.  Significant differences between two people in each of these three areas (intelligence, activity level, and sex drive) cause major relationship problems of a very
predictable nature.  These interactions are characterized by classical one-up one-down interactions in which both parties and the relationship looses.  This inequality has disastrous effects on all three entities, each person and the relationship.  If two or more of these givens are significantly different then the failure of the relationship is practically inevitable.  Selection must include an objective assessment of these three areas or a mismatch is sure to occur.  Realistically knowing yourself without pride or prejudice will allow both of you to do this assessment.

So many of our early determined beliefs lay hidden under the cover of these three givens.  So many of our relationship expectations are silently caged in the parental modeling and early learning about what relationships “should” be like. These expectations do not emerge and become verbalized until there is a romantic ideal discovered as a mate.  Only then to we verbalize them and magically expect our mate to meet these expectations.

What do I expect of my partner in shared intellectual ideas, in financial management and intellectual discussions?  What do I expect of my partner in shared activities, exercise, healthy living, going and doing, sitting and resting?  How do we handle peace and serenity and high levels of activity once the first stage of a relationship is over (a few months to a couple of years)?  What do I expect in a sexual relationship with my partner in terms of frequency, openness, initiation and quality?  If his or her drive is truly lower than mine how will we adapt to it.  The one up position in each of these three areas is the one with the greater amount – of intelligence, activity level and sex drive.  The person who is lower in these areas is traditionally one down.

From September 2006 to the present getting to know Maria and her history of her relationships set the groundwork for a practical approach to selecting a partner.  The process has several steps.  The first is looking at what has happened in other relationships – what their strengths and weaknesses were and why they have not worked out.  Since the analysis is only one sided with one person of the relationship the results are strictly from her perspective.  This requires honesty with oneself as well as with me.  It also requires some risk taking and openness in her willingness to use these examples for public exposure.  As a result the names of her counterparts are disguised as well as other identifying information.

Relationships have a life of their own.  They all progress through predictable stages.  The depth of a relationship is a function of it progressing successfully through these stages.  When there is little guidance or knowledge about selection of a partner it becomes a random process.  It is most likely dominated by immediate needs and attractions.  Because of that the selections are high risk in terms of longevity and success.

The hope of using obvious but intelligent criteria in selecting a partner is that it will improve the chance of a lasting relationship.  Some of these criteria will be reflected upon in each of Mary’s past choices.  Her verbalized needs will also be examined.

A necessary first step is for each person to identify characteristics that they believe are essential for a good relationship for them.  I call this the “screening in” list.  The second step is the “screening out” list – those characteristics that will be a relationship killer. Hints of these early on in the relationship are the “red flags” often predictive of future problems.

This process works best for what might be called “normal” individuals i.e. those individuals who do not have major personality and behavior characteristics.  We will address these problems later.  Normal is further defined as individuals who are truthful to themselves and to their prospective partner. Their “normality” requires a positive degree of self-knowledge about what needs drives them and what is important to them.  Another requirement is a level of maturity demonstrated by the individual’s ability to have introspection enough to ask the question “is this person right for me” and to adhere to the answer – regardless of everyone else’s opinion.  It is based upon the premise that no one knows you better than you and that you have to listen and trust yourself in your decisions.  When you ask this question of yourself it is best to be in a meditative, relaxed state where you can hear the answer clearly.

While these criteria appear to be quite simple and obvious, my experience is that they are seldom invoked once the power of the new relationship takes over.  “Swept away” usually means such a powerful emotional situation that critically examining the relationship doesn’t happen.  It’s a stage one phenomenon that is extremely difficult to override.  Let’s return to Maria and the practical approach to analyzing her relationships based upon the three givens.

Table I
The Three Givens
Relationship
Intelligence
Activity Level
Sex Drive
1
Significantly
different
Lower
Higher
2
Similar
Similar
Similar
3
Similar
Similar
Lower
4
Similar
His was Lower
No sexual
attraction
So why didn’t it work?  The answer is obvious.  There had to be other criteria that the three givens did not cover.  In this relationship there were significant belief system differences.  He did not believe in marriage “forever” and he had a great deal of difficulty sharing his feelings – an essential for Mary.

It becomes more clear that if you cannot exclude a relationship on the basis of the three givens then looking at beliefs and values that each of you have becomes essential.  One of the most difficult parts of this process is understanding how these beliefs are manifested.  Most often they are unverbalized expectations – unverbalized to yourself and therefore unverbalized to your prospective partner.  We have a tendency to assume that everyone believes and therefore expects the same things out of a relationship that we do. This is a huge error.  Our beliefs and expectations are as different as our families are different.  Those which we have had modeled for us by our parents and those that have been learned by us from all of our   environmental contacts lead to our beliefs and values.  As such each persons experience in this regard is extremely different.  Bottom line is simply that you cannot expect any two person’s beliefs and values to be the same.

The usual area of beliefs and values that a couple has to discuss includes the following:
1.        Money and how it is spent
2.        Religious beliefs and how they effect your daily life
3.        Political beliefs and how rigid they are
4.        Child rearing practices
5.        Issues of fidelity and what the consequences are if violated
6.        Manners and morals
7.        Family involvement during the relationship
8.        Amount of time together and alone

9.        Going out alone and together