Inspired by countless stories of friends and acquaintances jumping into relationships without "assessing" the scene, I have come to the conclusion, that to save us from self induced heartache we must indeed look before we fall in love. If possible.

Easy to say when the emotions stirred by seeing that beautiful face across a crowded room, rocket to the surface. But using a touch of logic and a big helping of discernment could save you quite literally, especially if you are a person who keeps repeating the same patterns in the choice of partner.

Meeting people seems so easy these days. There are a plethora of places to find "love". Speed dating, on line or just the good old fashioned bars/clubs, to name a few. But what are we looking for ? During my recent research generally women say love, despite their age and men say a mixture of sex and love depending on where they are at in life. With this in mind there is a large chance we will be at odds with the people we meet, but most of us never try to find out early on and often it's too late for the heart when it's fallen.

I was a prize winner at "jumping in with both feet" without looking too carefully. I ALWAYS looked for love and commitment, but found allot of sex and not much else. My well practised routine of working the room and finding someone who matched my party girl, frivolous image, was rolled out time and again. What I gave out I certainly got back. I was attracted to exciting, vivacious, good looking men with an edge, who knew how to attract hoards of women. Even though I denied it, friends insisted that I loved the "dangerous" types. "Oh no !" I said, but they were right. I had heaps of fun and don't regret a minute of all the experiences, but allot of pain came with the pleasure.

The pain was always because I chose the unusual, challenging, different, devastatingly good looking, complicated and those who were rarely looking to settle down. I know now that all these elements were in me to a lesser or greater degree, hence the strong attraction, but I just went for it all the same !

But if we are looking for a committed loving relationship then why don't we stick to our mental list of criteria when we meet someone ? What makes us go back for more and even more when the signs are often glaringly obvious that this person is not going to make good marriage material?

Well it has a whole lot to do with unconscious choices made up of experiences from our childhood. Experiences that have made us adapt to life because we didn't get some of our needs met by our parents/caretakers. As adults looking for partners in which to have lasting relationships, part of our brain is programmed to seek out those who match traits, particularly the negative ones, of our caretakers. Once a target has been identified we seek healing for those unmet needs and lost parts of ourselves, in our new partner. Look at your current partner and ask yourself, what about this person reminds me of my mum/dad ? You will be surprised by the similarities. My workshops will tell you more about this fascinating area of partner choice, but it is too big a subject to elaborate here.

On a conscious level there is allot we can do to be a little more discerning :

1) Firstly ask yourself what you are looking for. Is it a serious relationship with marriage as the goal, or just someone to have fun with now and again ? Don't say fun when you really mean love. Attracting someone on a false pretence will only lead to you getting hurt.
2) Look at what you give out to people when you are out. Do you display someone who is looking for a committed relationship ? Yes it comes down to simple things like dress. What is your shop window displaying ?
3) Stand back and look longer than you normally would when you meet someone. If it is in a bar, look at what they are giving out. Obviously flirty, wowing the crowd, talking to lots of members of the opposite sex, could be giving off vibes of party animal and not Mr/Mrs Commitment. Sounds obvious but we can all be attracted like magnets to these people.
4) Spend time getting to know the person you meet BEFORE you take the plunge. Is he/she in the right place to have a committed relationship ? Look out for very recent relationship breaks with others. This may well interfere with yours especially if there are unresolved issues. Relationships starting with old unsevered ties can be painful. Been there too many times ?
5) Is this person looking for the same things as you ? This is a biggie. You don't have to go right in there and ask on a first date, but use searching questions to get a picture of where they are at in life. Does it match your life plan ?
6) Ladies, stay out of bed for a while ok. Getting intimate too quickly and I stress here, in general, can take the guy's eye off the commitment ball. Getting naked with someone is, in essence, a sacred experience and so making a guy wait will let him know you don't just give out to anyone. Sounds old fashioned but remember, man the hunter still !
7) Work on yourself and become fully conscious of who you are. Unless you understand yourself and why you attract the people you do, repeat painful patterns could continue.
8) Honour yourself and know that you are worth more than a million diamonds. Don't settle for people and relationships that are not serving your highest good.

And lastly I would offer that love is in abundance where we seek abundance. Look for gold not silver every time and believe that the deepest, truest, most fulfilling love is out there when you become it first.

Bhavatu Sabba Mangalam
May All Beings Be Happy

Author's Bio: 

Gina Hardy is the founder and creator of Conscious Union and a relationship educator, which in essence means she helps you learn about the deeper and often unconscious aspects that drive you to do and say the things you do in relationships. The things that create more conflict and keep you chained to repeat patterns. She is not a counsellor or psychologist, but has a 25 year portfolio of experience in love relationships, which she believes is the key ingredient in really understanding people's problems in love.

Her purpose is to take all of her experience blended with the soothing balm of education and help you create your very own conscious and healthy relationships. Her vision is to help create laboratories of healing for couples and soon to be couples, so that future generations will know the true meaning of happiness in authentic conscious love.

"Seeing you happy and free to be you, is my goal for us"