Mistake No. 1: Not Knowing What You Want Before You Know Who You Want

Henry Cloud

This was Jill’s problem. She had not gotten clear about her values and what mattered to her before she got attached to someone. So she found herself deeply attached to Jason and yet continually disappointed. But she was letting how she felt for him keep her stuck. Or at least sort of.

In reality, she was letting half of what she felt keep her stuck. She was letting the half of her that loved him and wanted him keep her in the relationship. But she was ignoring the other half of her, the part that was hurt, disappointed and left wanting more.

To value something means to “assign great weight” to it. The things we value are weighty issues. They should command our attention more than anything else. And they should dictate whether or not someone gets through the gate to our heart.

It is easy to have feelings for someone you are attracted to, but if the things you truly value are not present in him, then you will find that those things render all the things you find attractive about him spoiled in the end. You will not be able to enjoy them, or even have them sometimes, because the things that make a relationship truly work are not present.

So, before you even meet him, ask yourself what your nonnegotiable things are. Have you thought about what those are for you? Here are some things to think about, and you can add your own as well:

  • The ability to connect emotionally, to empathize and to be present with you.

  • The ability to give freedom and not control you.

  • The ability to be real, and allow you to be real, instead of requiring perfection or having impossible standards.

  • The ability to be equals and show mutual respect.

  • Having a spiritual life of his own that you respect.

  • Honesty, faithfulness, dependability, sexual purity, integrity, responsibility, financial responsibility, compassion and forgiveness.

Let’s look at mistake number two: Dating From a Vacuum.


Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist and best-selling author or co-author of over eighteen books, including “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” and “Boundaries in Dating.” He also conducts seminars across the country and co-hosts a radio program called “New Life Live.” He’s the president of Cloud-Townsend Resources.

© 2005 Betty Blake Churchill. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission from “Fantasy - An Insatiable Desire for a Satisfying Love” (Orlando, CruPress).

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