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The ideal: a Four Point Match

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Red flags, deal breakers and your top ten wants can be summarized in what I call the 4 point match.

Each person has a set of personal preferences and demands:

1. What you want or need
(or are just willing to accept)
Partner is willing to give you these things
(or needs or wants to give them)
2. What you do not need or
do not want *
Partner does not need or want to give these things
3. What you need to give or
are willing to give
Partner needs or wants these things from you
4. What you cannot or do not
want to give *
Partner does not need or want to have you give these things
* These are 'hard limits'

You need to know yourself, being aware of your own needs and wants (1), also knowing what you do not like or want (2) and the limits of what you can (3) and cannot give (4).

To make the best match, you want a partner who knows the same things about himself/herself. Ideally, you want compatibility in your needs and wants. They do not need to be the same, but they need to be sympathetic. Think about it: while he should not encroach on your hard limits, neither should you encroach upon his.

There are behaviors that define what you need to feel loved. Without these things, you will feel unloved, not special or important. Some examples might be:

If your partner does not want to or is unwilling to give these things (his/her #2), then ultimately, you will be unsatisfied in your relationship. It means you are not a match.

You need to know what you actually do not want or, at least, do not need to feel loved. Some examples might be:

If your partner needs to give you things on the list (his/her #3) or does not, will not, cannot give you these things (his/her #4), then either you will be uncomfortable (because he/she needs to give these things to express love or feel loving) or you will not feel loved (because he/she won't want to give them).

In any relationship, each party should bring behaviors to the table that, for them, are expressions of loving. This can either be things that you really, really want to do or to give, or simply things that you are willing to give, happy to give, because you know that your partner will feel loved by you when you do them (this list is actually very important when you don't feel very loving, such as when you are angry, but are working through it. By giving of yourself, you're giving the love that might actually help you get through the tough times).

If there are things that you need to do to express your love, whether verbally, or through behavior, then your partner would, ideally, need or want to receive your love this way, or at least be willing, or not uncomfortable, with your expression of love (his/her #1)

There are some behaviors that you may be unwilling to do. While we all strive to be adults (or, at least, I hope we do!), we are none of us unscathed from the trials of our experiences in life. There are things that just might make your skin crawl. Crawling over shattered glass may be preferable than doing some things. It's important that your partner knows what these things are.

For these behaviors, it is very important that your partner either does not need or does not want to receive or participate (his/her #2). Otherwise, he/she will feel unloved because you cannot or will not give them.

Have you, possibly, noticed a theme here? Some behaviors are really high on some folk's list, for others, those same behaviors can be anathema. You may have the same values, the same interests, but if you are not compatible with your needs and wants, you might not be a good match. You might make really good friends (which can be important, too, since it can expand the circle of people who might possibly be a match for you).

As you get to know someone, by staying interested but detached, you can begin to look out for what you need and want, instead of giving so much of yourself that you're devasted when it doesn't work out.

Sexuality Contract
Darbie Marlin

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What You Want... and Don't Want
What They Want... and Don't Want