02/01/2013 06:32 GMT | Updated 03/03/2013 05:12 GMT

Knowing Who is Right For You


I suspect a few people reading this have just spent the holiday season somewhat alone. Maybe, their New Year's Resolution was not to be a singleton the next time the party hats and bad jokes are back in fashion once again.

If that is the case then some of you will be playing the dating game intensively this year and if you get lucky then you will be faced with the next hurdle, answering a question that we all ask ourselves from time-to-time.

"How do you know someone is right for you"?

Answering this question successfully does depend on a large degree of self-awareness because you cannot divine who is the right person for you without understanding a large amount about yourself, what you need, what you want, and why you need and want these things. Often people end up in relationships in which their opposite number is a mirror of traits they admire or indeed revile in themselves. If you despise your partner's pig-headed stubbornness then there is a chance that you are in fact as equally as pig-headed and stubborn. Conversely, if you are attracted by their almost saintly selflessness there is also a chance you are just as altruistic at heart but for reasons best known to yourself you don't feel able to express that side of you. This pretty much means that there is no right or wrong absolute answer - just a right or wrong answer for you personally.

I am a big believer that having the most things in common does not guarantee relationship success and therefore think that looking for someone who is a carbon copy of you is a mistake - unless you happen to be a giant narcissist whose idea of happiness is naturally to date your own reflection. For slightly more well-adjusted people, it is a better idea to look for people whose character traits complement your own. The key to a good relationship is good chemistry. It's all about the mix and the blend and how this changes the two people involved. If your partner brings out the best in you then they are the right one for you, however, bringing out the worst should lead to the opposite conclusion.

Of course, it's hard to tell this just by dating somebody, to find out whether the chemistry works between two people takes time and patience - two things that are not necessarily in huge supply on the dating scene. So, you have to make the best judgment you can on the information available to you at the time and there is an element of chance faith and trust (both in yourself and in others) in this because people never fully reveal themselves on a first or even a twenty first date. It is also worth noting that thinking about these things can lead you into the trap of over thinking. Most people have the capacity to reason and think things through logically but also can think about a question or problem from several different angles - each of which might be equally as valid logically speaking but this is of little help emotionally. Emotions and how you feel about the other person and crucially how they make you feel about yourself and in general offer you the answer that you really need. If there is a connection present that makes you feel good about yourself and brings out your own personal strengths then by all means dive right in, if anything else is the case, then dip your toe in the water before proceeding.

Like most games, the dating game is at least half chance but that doesn't mean you can't exercise some good judgement to improve your chances of success.