So far I have examined what I’ve got, where I struggle and what I want in a relationship. However, one important step has been omitted in this. Considering the advice to “be the sort of person that the sort of person you want to attract would be attracted to” it becomes apparent that I still haven’t really addressed the point of what I want in a partner. That is to say, what sort of person might flourish in and be fulfilled by the partnership that I envisage?
The key feature of this relationship is a mutual “I’ll catch you when you fall” ethos: encouraging each other to climb higher, and being ready to catch hir or put hir back together if things should go tits-up. I want to do this for my partner; I need a partner who will do it for me. What sort of person would fit well into that relationship?
It might seem as though someone like myself, with that same “catch you” ethos would be the perfect match, but I think this is mistaken. More relevant is where and in what ways I might need encouraging, and where I might need to be caught from a tumble. Similarly, what are the ways in which I am most suited to encouragement, and where am I best at catching or picking someone up after a fall?
The easiest point to mention is in terms of extraversion/introversion: I definitely need encouragement to socialise more, and be presented with opportunities to meet people, and I definitely need a safety net for that! Having a more sociable partner would be a great encouragement to socialise. However, that partner would need to be sensitive to my need for recovery from the socialising and be able to support me in that need.
Other than that, my imagination longs to take flight and set out into the world to do – stuff, really. Writing my novel is the biggest example I have of that right now, but there are always ideas and dreams going on. What holds me back is worry about falling, about losing sight of the practical or finding myself stranded. It took me some thought to realise that this is not really about looking for someone to keep an eye on those things necessarily, but rather, someone who will just be there when it all comes crashing down. This person will say, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll help you sort it out,” whether or not they have any plan or means to do so at the time – that part we can figure out if it happens, if zie hasn’t already. I’ll believe hir because I know that zie will still be there, not because I know how we’ll cope. What I’m talking about is someone who will allay my fears of abandonment.
The flip side of that imagination is that I overthink everything, so having someone who can indulge me with that and reassure me from time to time is helpful.
That all means I am looking for someone sociable and caring. I would say “faithful” or “loyal” but feel that this is something that can only be measured after the fact (it also comes across as quite needy in an unsexy way when I see those words on someone’s profile). Perhaps “constant” or “grounded” would be better.
In return, what encouragement am I good at giving, and how well do I catch? Well, in some ways you can say it’s the flip side of what I look for: my ‘N’ nature in the MBTI classification means I’m all about dreams, ideas, and possibilities. I want people to strive for their potential, and if I am eager to chase my dreams then I want to help someone else do the same (and if they won’t, then I get frustrated). If zie expresses regret at not being creative, I want to help hir create. If zie expresses regret at not knowing enough about whatever, then I want to help hir learn. If zie wants to travel, then even though I don’t particularly, I want to help plan the trip (especially if it’s a new experience for hir) and make sure there’s a nice home to return to. I don’t think I want someone insecure or dependent on these things, though: I want someone excited by them, and to whom I can either add possibilities or just lend a hand.
The word that best describes this is “enthusiasm”. They’re doing whatever it is they’re enthusiastic about, and I’m just ready in case of a fall: they run the marathon, I’m ready with the drinks and first aid kit. To this extent, I don’t so much want them to want me to catch them, I just want to be able to be ready to catch them, and have them be okay that I worry about that.
So I’m looking for someone who is enthusiastic, caring, grounded and sociable (at least, more so than I am) Hmm, “enthusiastic” and “grounded” look a lot like antonyms, don’t they? But looking at the way I’ve used them, they aren’t really: being “grounded” just means that zie doesn’t worry about me worrying (I don’t either, because I’m going to do it anyway) but helps to balance me. I also suggested “constant” as a synonym, with its suggestion that zie is enthusiastic but hir enthusiasms don’t change much. Both words were used as things that might be determined beforehand to suggest that they might be “loyal” or “faithful”.
It’s worth looking at previous relationships. Were these attributes present there? What were the things about those relationships that felt good and that I would want repeated in a future relationship? (Remember that, I’m a Cancerian, and Cancerians “never forget their exes. Their shadows accumulate with years, and every new potential girlfriend needs to measure up to all of their good qualities.”)
There are two relationships worth mentioning here. Relationship #1 was with an older woman. She was certainly a more sociable person than me, and was at times almost overbearingly caring in various ways. In some ways, she was not very grounded but was certainly loyal in other ways. The relationship itself was not well-grounded so the break-up, though painful, was not a surprise. This was someone who needed encouragement, I felt, to find enthusiasm, but once she did took it and ran with it.
Relationship #2 was with someone closer to my own age, a few years younger than me. This relationship was characterised by her enthusiasm, I felt, and indeed, it was thinking about how I would present the good points of the relationship that led me to discuss “enthusiasm” in the earlier paragraph. This was such that at times I was there to help her pace herself as much as to encourage her. I think her enthusiasm helped her be more sociable than me and encouraged me into unfamiliar social situations, for which I am grateful (though I haven’t to date repeated the experiences). She certainly had a caring quality with me, although sometimes I feel I was less aware of it (or perhaps had less need). One quality that really shone through was self knowledge, and it was this that often helped her to relate in a positive way to my overthinking or worrying (although she later revealed that occasionally the latter troubled her).
To my best recollection, the only other common feature to these relationships was that they were both D/s relationships with my partner as the Submissive. That suggests that I have done a good job in identifying qualities that make for a good partner for me. If I add “self knowledge” to the list, then my work here is done.
The next step is to figure out how to attract an enthusiastic, “constant/grounded”, sociable (but not too extraverted!) and caring person. It isn’t going to be to say “hey, do you want a mutual ‘catch you when you fall’ relationship?” It’s going to be about showing how what I’ve got fits what zie desires, craves or “needs”. Alternatively, it’s figuring out what sort of places they hang out and going there.