Whether it is your own family or society at large, there are lots of ideas that have been deeply ingrained into us about how life is supposed to be, what is supposed to make us happy, what are appropriate and inappropriate ways to conduct ourselves, what constitutes success, what is responsible, what is the “right” thing to do. For the most part, these declarations are completely arbitrary and are simply the result of someone else’s thinking and opinion on how things “should” be.

But, because they have been drilled so deeply, we can begin to view these arbitrary declarations as objective fact and look at things that are ultimately a matter of preference as being “right” and “wrong.” Even if certain courses of action do not feel right, we do them anyway, thinking it is the proper thing to do. We may want to do something else but we are afraid of what others will think or that we are wrong for wanting the things that we want, that we are making some huge mistake by going after them.

This problem can strike in all areas of our life, but one where it is particularly detrimental is in the area of our romantic relationships – who we choose to spend our life with impacts us deeply in so many ways and when we choose our partners based on faulty criteria, we are setting ourselves up for failed relationships, settling for less or being with people who we think should make us happy but in reality, do not.

So many relationship troubles stem from people picking their partners for all the wrong reasons. If you are a woman, you may feel pressure to pick a guy that is seen as a “success,” which usually translates to having some sort of high-paying job that offers security. If you are a man, you may go after the trophy wife who will look good on your arm, is of a certain background, and have the children that will cement your image as the family man. In caring so much about what other people will think of our chosen partners, we totally ignore the things that are truly important to us or we convince ourselves that those things do not matter as much as having someone who everyone else will approve of. Until you figure out what type of person you want and what traits are most important to you, you will never end up with the best match.

Another factor to consider when finding your best relationship is not only the person, but the way you want your relationship to be. Advice abounds on what constitutes normal, happy and healthy when it comes to relationships; while there may be some objective markers, again, a lot of it is arbitrary. Everyone thinks their way is the right way and most have no trouble telling you this, often repeatedly. They will constantly tell you that you need to fix things that you do not see as needing fixing.

Relationships are very unique to the two people involved and what works for one couple may be the kiss of death for another; stop worrying about what other people have deemed appropriate or think about how you live your life; do what works for you and your partner. Anyone with anything to say about it is just projecting their own issues onto you so pay them no mind. Do not let anyone else tell you what is the right way to be in a relationship or how you and your partner “should” be acting and what you “should” be doing.

When it comes to living our lives as we truly desire, it can be challenging. We are naturally prone to doubt and uncertainty about our choices; people love to give their two cents, whether unsolicited or not. Judgments and criticisms can sting and touch on our insecurities. But, the more you take the time to figure out what it is you want, the more confident you will become in your choices because you will have a deeper knowing that you are making the right decisions for you.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about personal development and relationships. If dating someone within your own culture is important to you, Cupidslibrary lists these dating sites for arabs as well as lots of other great dating information.