In Relationships, We Either Trade Up or We Trade Down

Here’s a question I hear often when doing counseling and the issue turns to relationships:

How do I continue to pursue a relationship with my significant other while at the same time retain my independence?

My answer is always the same:

You’re asking the wrong question! Why? In relationships, we either trade up or we trade down.

A better question to ask would be: What criteria should I establish for choosing my partner?

Those that choose partners consistent with the values and attributes most important to them in a mate will want their new, enriched life more than they want their old one, so retaining independence becomes irrelevant. It’s trading up, out with the old life in favor of a new, more fulfilling one. No sacrifice required. On the other hand, those that sense that they are trading down to be with someone means they haven’t yet found the right someone. In this instance, independence should be the only thing they’re pursuing.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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