The following is a synopsis of a weekly Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group lesson, based on the work of Marsha Linehan out of the University of Washington. This week’s lesson is actually outside of the normal DBT content, it is solely based on the codependency literature, specifically the work of a wonderful fellowship called CODA.

New Disclaimer: I LOVE doing this, I think it is desperately needed, and I WANT to do it. However, I have zero time to do it so, while I am committed to giving it my all, I may fall behind or skip a week or two. I apologize in advance for that, and for the fact that I will not be spell checking, fixing formatting, or doing a read through before I post. No offense, but I gotta draw the line somewhere!

Interpersonal Skills Blog: What We Want From Our Partners!

This week’s lesson was not actually a DBT lesson, but another thing I added to this module years ago because I found that people need more insight into what they want in a relationship. I use this very often in individual session as well, it’s a very simple exercise:

Out of these 35 things/traits/qualities, etc., choose the top 5 things you MUST have in a partner.You have to approach this by choosing the top 5 must haves:

  1. Shows love and affection
  2. Respectful to me and others
  3. Generous with self and possessions
  4. Follows through even when challenging
  5. Is sincere, genuine and authentic (not phony)
  6. Is reliable (means what is said)
  7. Is loyal to those around him/her
  8. Is patient, doesn’t lose temper easily
  9. Your family likes him/her
  10. Is honest and values honesty
  11. Has a gorgeous face
  12. Is smart
  13. Has sexual chemistry with me
  14. Makes me laugh
  15. Is physically fit
  16. Can cook
  17. Enjoys sports and outdoors
  18. Has similar interests
  19. Has family values
  20. Likes deep discussions or debates
  21. Is good with money
  22. Has a religious/spiritual foundation
  23. Likes to party/have fun
  24. Needs me all the time
  25. Gets jealous when I am with others
  26. Has a high paying job
  27. Has a car
  28. Is cool and confident
  29. Has a college degree
  30. Knows self and tries to grow and improve
  31. Treats me like an equal
  32. Has goals and direction
  33. Wants children
  34. Loves movies and music
  35. Is living on his/her own or with a roommate

This exercise helps us learn a lot of things, here are some reflections to be done after you choose your 5:

  1. What are the top priorities I have for my partner? Why do I think those are so important? What would happen if I didn’t have those? Have I ever been in a relationship where I did have those and if so, what happened?
  2. Do I attract people with those things/qualities? Why or why not?
  3. Am I living in line with those priorities that I have for others?
  4. Are those priorities really the best ones to have?

It’s a great idea after you choose these, to go back and choose your NEXT 5 most important priorities, and do a similar reflection. This module is all about learning what healthy relationships are and how to create or maintain them. Romantic relationships are the most complicated ones of all, yet we tend to go into them because we are bored, lonely, in close proximity to someone, preliminarily attracted to someone, we feel obligated (emotion or reasonable mind reasons, NOT Wise mind reasons), etc.; rather than taking the time to really examine what we want and why we want it. This is especially true for Co-dependent individuals (see last week’s blog).