91—If you don't ask you don't receive...

Healthy romantic relationships

Desperately seeking Susan... or Stefan!

Working in holistic health means that my day is super varied – I get to help people in all manner of ways.

One of the topics I end up discussing a lot here at OOMPH, is romantic relationships: how to find one; and more importantly how to find a good one!

Now, I’m going to be somewhat un-PC here, and say that even though I’m an independent woman, I just don’t feel complete without my ‘other half’.

For me, being independent means:

1) Knowing that I can support myself financially, and

2) Being able to enjoy time spent alone — doing my own thing — or hanging out with my other friends.

However, my strong preference is to be coupled up. I very much appreciate having a compatible, significant-other to share my life. I love being part of a symbiotic relationship.

I don’t feel this makes me a lesser person. I don’t feel this makes me weak or needy.

I just don’t feel like you should have to go-it-alone. This pea is okay with admitting that she likes having another pea to share her pod with. And, I’m more than willing to bet that you do too.

So, I want to help you to find your lobster1 — the way I did with mine, and the way I advise my clients to find theirs.

Note: Using the method that I outline below, I met my man when I was 24 years of age. We’ve been together ever since. That’s eighteen happy years.(I love you as much as ever, DMF – you are my favourite person xo).

Only the lonely...

The UK government have found that social isolation and loneliness (defined as those who always or often feel lonely) affects more than 9 million people in their country. Prime Minister Theresa May called this “the sad reality of modern life” for too many people.

To read more: Minister for loneliness UK

So tell me what you want (what you really, really want.)

When I ask people what they are looking for in a romantic relationship, they either:

1) Say that they’ve essentially given up on finding someone 🙁
(Because they are convinced that there are no decent single people left in their town or city.)

2) Provide me with one or two vague, half-hearted adjectives like ‘nice’, ‘tall’, or ‘older’…
(Which is fine, I guess, if you want to end up with the BFG?)

I find these answers truly disappointing — given the importance of the subject. This will be the person who you will share your life with, and who will also have a significant impact on your happiness & state of health. (You don’t want to still be feeling lonely even after you’ve coupled up.)

Note: We don’t call them significant-others for no reason now, do we…? 😉 

You must maintain hope that you will find your person. If nothing else, this feels a lot better than feeling dejected and lonely.

Please remember these words by Max Ehrman from his poem the Desiderata

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass”.

Note: I broke-up 3x from other boyfriends before I met DMF… And, I would always cling to these words. Because regardless of your age, you always initially catastrophise: ‘What if that was it? What if that was my last chance at finding love?’ Max Ehrman’s words kept me hopeful – the game is never over!

If you’re not really clear about what you want, then how can you expect to find it? And, how can you expect to know if you’ve found it already? (You might not have realised it was right in front of you.)

Therefore I advise my single clients (if they’re open to the idea) to come up with the top seven ‘things’ that they are looking for in a long-term romantic relationship. I essentially set them this as homework  — although they don’t have to ‘hand it in’ …unless of course they would find that helpful 😉 

This is a list of just seven words that sum up the sentiment of what you want from a romantic relationship — it’s not a 1000 word essay.

Note: More details, and an example list below…

Once you’ve written your list,  commit these points to memory. Then just get on with your life.

The list is just to clarify what’s important to you. And, from this point on, it focuses you, and you can filter all your judgement calls through it — in relation to your relationships.

This list, I believe, will help you to find the person for you — your person x

I nearly missed out on what was right in front of me...

Some people I’ve talked to are highly, highly specific about their romantic requirements. This means they could unwittingly be passing up opportunities that could in fact delight them… I nearly did this myself — when I first met my long-term partner!

Initially, I didn’t see him as a viable option because I had way more than seven requirements on my list — making my list long and highly specific. At this point in my life, I was still prioritising things that were actually really unimportant in the grand scheme of things e.g. must be older than me, must have an outdoors job, must be a bit naughty… etc etc

It’s lucky DMF was highly persistent and I eventually came-to-realise what was actually important to me (trust, loyalty, strength, compassion,  brains and ‘beauty’). For me, all the rest became utterly unimportant.

A young couple in a healthy romantic relationship sit on the ground touching admiring the view

I'm a believer!

Here's the background to my 'list of seven' - if you're interested.

That article in the woman’s day magazine
Back when I was just 22 or 23 years of age…
[Cue the imaginary twinkly flash-back music here]

I found an article in a Woman’s Day magazine.It was a Valentine’s Day feature on how to attract the perfect partner. There were three specific parts to this process, however,  I’ll be buggered if I can remember the actual details… I just remember my take on it:

You can conjure up the perfect partner by merely reciting an incantation!

So, I decided that I would give it a whirl –  magicking up what I thought was the perfect partner.

I wanted a guy who was:
1) Part Maori/Pacific Islander
2) A builder, and
3) A scorpio… 

Note: Don’t judge me, y’all. I was but a mere babe and to me perfect meant ‘sexy’;-)

Once I had completed my list — I giggled with a friend about it, and then promptly moved on with my life. I didn’t give it a second thought until the next night… My friend’s brother came over to see us at the place where I was house-sitting. With him, he brought his friend — which I thought nothing of at the time. I just thought he was rather ‘spunky’. (Because that’s what we called good-looking people back in the olden days.)

However, during the course of the evening, we were to make some uncanny discoveries about this boy…

He was part maori
(It wasn’t obvious.)

He worked as a builder’s apprentice


He had a tattoo!
Later, he removed his jacket to reveal a Scorpion etched into his right arm.
Which upon immediate inquiry, he confirmed that it was in fact his star-sign.

Talk about doo-noo-noo-noo…
Coincidence? I think not.

However, this story doesn’t actually have a ‘happy ending’ — if ya know what I mean… As the night progressed, my prince embraced me in a passionate snog… Where I was very quick to discover that he also possessed nasty-ass breath! And just like that, the spell was broken…

Naturally, I called an abrupt halt to the ‘proceedings’. I knew then, that we would never be.

Later, I realised just how powerful this list could be. And I vowed that never again would I forget to include ‘has minty fresh breath’ on my list…

I was going to start prioritising what I really needed in a man.

Be smart. Plan the relationship — not just the wedding.

Here are some of the BIG things you should consider in a committed relationship


Here’s some of the nice-to-haves in a committed relationship

Doesn’t have a police record
Doesn’t watch sport on the telly
Doesn’t like hanging out with mates more than you
Dresses well
Easy on the eye
Filthy stinking rich
Good sex
Likes dogs
Minimal baggage
Minty fresh breath
Nice family
Nice kisser
Not overly hairy

Lisa's strongly suggested list of seven

I came up with the number ‘seven’ because it’s enough words to get your meaning across but it’s not too many words to affect your recall.

You should put your requirements in descending order of importance to you. As an example, I’ll outline my list for your perusal alongside my accompanying (over opinionated) rationale!

Please know that you shouldn’t include a rationale on your list — just the ‘all encompassing’ words — as you already know why they made your top seven.  I’ve only included this rationale to show you the thinking behind why you’d be pretty daft not to rip-off the majority of my list… Might I remind you that this blog is called LISA SAID SO –  I’m not exactly backward-in-coming-forward 😉

But, please feel free to throw down some words and rationales in the comments section below — it’ll help to get everyones conjuring juices flowing!

Note: I also find that creating a list is very helpful when you’re in a rocky relationship – when you’re not sure why it isn’t working. If you do this exercise you might be able to pinpoint an area of concern for you. Then you can either work things out with your significant other, or you will already know enough about your significant other, to be done with them. 

  1. Trust

    Dur. This is a no-brainer.

    You can’t forge an intimate relationship with someone who you don’t trust — otherwise you’re just asking for heartbreak. Please look for someone who is fundamentally good & honest.

  2. Loyalty

    Would this person stick up for you — voluntarily? Would other people dare not sass you to them? Would this person ‘come back’ for you? (Would they pull you from a burning building?)

    Please see the blog-post I wrote on healthy friendships.

  3. Cleverness

    ‘Clever’ to me, means that this person impresses, amuses, and interests you. Not only this, but they make you feel safe and secure by not putting you into precarious situations.

  4. Compassion

    Nobody should ever enter into a serious relationship with an uncaring, insensitive bastard and/or bitch…

  5. Strength

    …but nobody should enter into a serious relationship with someone who is weak either!

    It’s wise to choose someone who, on the whole, is strong mentally, emotionally, and physically (as in healthy — not as in body builder). That way, when one of you ‘goes-down’ (for once, I’m not being rude…), the other one can be strong enough for the both of you until the other one can regain their strength.

    Relationships are a team effort.

  6. Attraction

    To me — if they possess all the qualities above then this makes them attractive. Also, let’s be honest, if you didn’t find this person strangely attractive to begin with , you wouldn’t be doing reconnaissance on them anyway – now would you? 😉

    Note: I’ve been out with/dated a couple of super attractive boys (in the superficial sense) and when I discovered that they didn’t have ANY of the other qualities that I admire… to me they just became ugly, mean, and stupid.

  7. Love

    I personally believe that if you want a lasting relationship, that this value should come last — in order of importance. I believe you should like and admire the person before you let yourself love them.

    If you put love at the top of your list… then that can lead to a lot of heartache.  Just because you love (or more likely lust) someone doesn’t mean you actually like them, respect them, or can live with them.

    I’m advocating for love — as in, the “I seriously LIKE you” type…
    As in, the “I find you attractive on a number of levels’ type. 

    I’m really not a fan of  love — the fireworks bullshit… as in, “Such and such is so damn hot. They make me go ‘all funny’ whenever I  think about them, talk to them, or come into contact with them”.

    That kind of love is for when you’re young, and you’re not really looking for a long-term commitment because it really messes with your good judgement antennae…

    That kind of love generally wears off after about two years anyway — once your crazy hormones decline (where do you think they got the term, ‘crazy in love’ from?)  And then what will you be left with?  Well, you’ll probably end up judging yourself for basing such an important life decision on such a superficial thing as chemistry (schemistry).

    All I’m saying is, you’d want to actually like the person to ensure your relationship lasts the test of time.

Naturopath Lisa Fitzgibbon and her partner wearing sunglasses and in a healthy romantic relationship
To me, DMF is a 'seven' xoxo

Becareful of what you wish for...

— If having ‘sparks’ in your relationship is at the top of your list (it’s the most important thing to you) then I’m afraid you’re going to have to upgrade your relationship every couple of years — once the ‘loved-up hormones’ wear off.

— If you want someone who is ‘filthy stinking rich’ — then you’ll also have to make sure that you include ‘generous’ on your list… Because it would suck if they didn’t share their riches with you. Also, if you want someone who is ‘filthy stinking rich’, then you may have to cross ‘companionship’ off your list, because their work may require them putting in long hours, or doing a lot of travelling.

— When you add ‘attractive’ or ‘good looking’ to your list, you don’t actually have to list out everything you find physically attractive about a person because you already know what you find appealing.

— If you’re asking for someone who is trustworthy, loyal, clever, compassionate, strong, and has a super-buff-bod for instance — best you make sure that you are also bringing these important assets (or at least complimentary assets) to the party. Otherwise, it’s also not going to work out that well…

— Watch that you don’t ask for opposing things on your list such as excitement & security — because, well, you’re just asking for one roller-coaster ride of a relationship!

Know thyself

I believe that taking stock of what you really want in a relationship is important — whether you’re looking for love or whether you’re currently in a relationship.

A lot of people get together simply based on physical attraction. Or they don’t actually know what brought them together; meaning they also don’t know what’s keeping them together. (And, in most cases I would assume the answer to ‘why are we still together’ becomes: fear; finances; kids; and sometimes even pets.)

Not knowing what we want, but expecting our partners to know could be one very good reason why we have such a high divorce rate in this country.

Maybe if people were more clear about what they wanted, then they wouldn’t end up in ‘dead-end’ relationships in the first place, or they would be more aware of what they weren’t receiving from their partner, so that they could ask them for what they needed.

You shouldn’t have to ask your partner to be trustworthy or loyal. If you have to ask then they’re not the right person for you. You shouldn’t have to ask someone to care about you. For christ sakes, save yourself the  heartache and just walk away. In this case, you are much better off on your own.

Just because you can...

Even if you’re already in a committed, stable, and lovingly relationship, I think that it’s a sensational idea for you to still compose a list (if you don’t already have one).

This way, not only can you remind yourself about why you lucked out in the first place, but you can also remind your person! (Does your significant other even know exactly what drew you to them?)

For instance, you could say to your beloved:

“Do you know what I love most about you, my darling Rice Bubble?”
(They might reply along the lines of,  “No, what’s that my little Cornflake”?)

“I love that you’re so clever, kind, and strong. I find those qualities super attractive about you”.

Nawww — now, isn’t that nice?

You don’t want to get to a place where you start taking each other for granted. You always want to focus on what makes this person so special to you — for both of your sakes xox

Love me Tinder?

Call me old-fashioned, and also a little rebellious…

But, I don’t think people would require such a soul-less dating service, if they could simply change their negative perceptions toward ‘screwing the crew’. And I’m not talking about shagging your work-mate senseless after one reckless night on ‘the turps’ — no, quite the opposite.

When you work with someone or live with flatmates then you’re able to get a really good overview of that person — without the pressure or complications of dating and sex. It enables you to thoroughly investigate and interview the person — without them, or probably even you, knowing anything about it!

To me it’s the ideal situation because due to the circumstances, you wouldn’t enter into the relationship lightly.

I met DMF at work — when we both used to work in advertising 😀

Note: If you’ve watched any ‘hospital shows’ like Greys Anatomy for instance, then you’ll know very well, that work (as well as your customers and suppliers) is your obvious relationship fishing pond. It’s fortuitous to find someone that is au-fait with your working conditions because it not only makes them more compatible with you, but it also makes them more understanding of what you do.

Let's talk about sex, baby

You may have read other lifestyle blog-posts that I’ve written on ways to ‘assist’ your sex life — should you be lucky enough to already have a significant other.

If you’ve not read them, here they are again:
Is your love life slip sliding away
I’m bringing sexy back – Lisa’s Nips & Stiffies

Make an appointment with Lisa

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

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