Choose a Partner not a Project

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Your standards can affect the direction in which your relationship turns. Are your expectations realistic or idealistic?

When looking for the perfect person, there are many things to consider. Personality and character as well as visual appeal are generally the top factors. As we get to know the people we are dating, our understanding of their positive as well as their negative attributes comes clearer. Where it is true that there are flaws in every individual, you should ensure that you are not taking on a project but seeking a potential lifelong partner.  Apart from a lack of communication, most relationships which fail do so because one or both parties entered the relationship with the mentality that they could change the other individual.

Have realistic standards and don’t compromise

If there are certain attribute that you cannot live without than don’t. Keeping this in mind, note that there are no perfect people. You have to find the balance. Where most people find the problem, is when either the standards are lowered to accept someone that they really are not compatible with, or they set their standards too high. There are major problems with both.

Too low standards make for trying to raise the person’s character to your standard

Many times a person will “settle” for someone that they really do not have anything in common with. True, there may be a few base interests shared, but on the whole there is a gap in expectations and actual personality, character, or physical assets brought to the relationship. Often times when this occurs the other party will try to “fix” the other person. Signs of making your partner into a project to bring them up to your standard include:

  • Comparing your partner to former relationships – pointing out the flaws of your partner in comparison to old relationships is a sure sign that you are trying to make your partner change to conform to the compared behavior or attribute. The folly in this is that the former relationship did not work out. Pushing your partner to be someone they are not will most likely push them out of your life.


  • You find yourself talking to your partner as a child or teacher – A bit of criticism every now and again is healthy for a relationship to grow. However, if you find yourself constantly instructing the other person in the relationship of how to act, how to dress, etc. it is a good indicator that you have turned your relationship into a project.


  • You set goals for the other person to meet – Again, a bit of motivation is a great thing, but both persons need to be in agreement. If you are setting goals and then demanding your partner to meet these goals then you have made your partner into a project.


Too high of standards often comes from a need for perfection and control

High standards are encouraged. When these standards get to an unrealistic level of seeking a demigod though, there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Are you seeking someone that is the perfect match or are you seeking someone that you can control and manipulate? If the criteria for a partner are set to a level of perfection that even you cannot obtain, then there is a strong possibility you are looking for someone that you can “mold” into your perfect man or woman.

Understanding each other’s must haves keeps the relationship genuine

To keep yourself from turning a relationship in to a pet project, you need to communicate your needs to the other party. Of course, this should be done with some tact and should be a two sided conversation. If there are habits which are “cute annoyances” now, they need to be addressed. Cute annoyances have a tendency to grow into hatreds later on. If there is something that you desire in a relationship that you do not see present in your current relationship, you need to address this as well. If your potential partner cannot or will not be able to deliver this desire, than you need to ask yourself whether or not you can live without it.

Partners over projects

People should not become personal projects. You would not want someone to choose you for a relationship with the mentality that you will be formed into that person’s image of perfection. Quite the opposite, if you were to find out that you were being treated as a human project, I am fairly sure that you would not keep yourself in the relationship for long.

When looking for that special someone, keep in mind that the other person is doing the same. Ensure that you are looking for the perfect match. If you are compatible you are compatible. On the other hand, there are relationships that are better left to friendships. Using discernment, communication, setting standards, and not trying to change the other person will show you the right course in which to take with your relationship.