There are several reasons why individuals date in our generation. Some of those reasons are really good and others can be a bit more shallow. Typically, there are only a few real reasons for you to devote time and energy, or in my case, the rest of my life to someone. These same rules or thoughts can certainly apply to a serious relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend as well. For me, they became somewhat of a general practice when dating, then developed even more as I continued to build my relationship. I have recently talked to my good friends with spouses, fiancés and those in long term relationships who also share similar thoughts.
Be sure to ask yourself a few questions before investing (they will be a bit different than your general “why did I get married” type of questions). You might find these to be a little more outside of the box, leading you to think about your decision on whether you should take that leap into something serious-or not.. The idea is to provoke you to think about all levels of relationships.
Here are some very important questions:
1: Do I really like them?
This seems like such a simple question, though it is sometimes complex. At our age and in today’s world, we certainly lust a lot. We are the Instagram, Snapchat, “hit em’ with them angles” generation at times. We see things on social media and really begin to place too much value on others based on looks and what is “good on paper”. This can lead to an infatuation that overshadows friendship, the most basic level of a relationship, which is very important in the long run.. Liking someone is just as valuable as the long term love for them.
This basic lust of an individual will not last. This will not lead to good chemistry. How many times have you tried to date a girl or guy that was very attractive, later to find out that they were a horrible fit because beauty was all they had to offer. Even short stints of entertaining this kind of person will waste valuable time that you could have used to find the right one. As we get older, simply “liking” someone will be far more important than you and your boys thinking she is “bad”. Being able to truly be around someone and enjoy their company is priceless. Do not think for even one second that simply being attracted someone will lead to anything significant in the long term. We have probably all dated the model who we later found out lacked substance and would never be the one.
2: Do I co-sign on their habits?
Me and my friends who are married, engaged, etc. were chatting about finances and budgeting very recently. Habits like spending, eating right, working hard and being focused will become increasingly valuable over time. And speaking of time, that is exactly what you will be doing, spending a lot of time with the one you choose to be in your life. You have to look at the smallest of habits or things you may now just see as recurring themes and ask yourself early on “Am I cool with that?”
An example: Your potential guy or girlfriend does not take care of their body, eat well/healthy and has no intentions of getting better. How will that ever be beneficial to you if you are very conscious of those things? Having such a different outlook on important habits will only make you frustrated over time and then you will begin to resent them. This is not healthy at any level of relationships.
People don’t really change…you have to grow up and realize that. Most of the time, people will be who they are and only show you more of themselves over time. We should be past the age of the “Fixer Upper”. You are not Chip and Joanna. Some people need far more than a fixing and barely even have “Good Bones”, but you are willing to invest in them? You have to look at their habits closely, honestly and see if those habits are in line with the relationship you see yourself in for a long, long time. We are too old for “play play” and have to be more attentive when it comes to selecting partners.
3: Am I good enough for them?
Not enough people ask this question. A lot of guys want this amazing woman, who makes 6 figures, is a woman of God, with the body of a goddess and the face of a model. They want all of these things, but have nothing to offer. The person in the latter situation is likely to hurt this amazing person if they find them, usually because of their own insecurities and not knowing who they really are/what they really want. This is unfair to the other person.
You have to ask yourself, before even pursuing anything seriously, “Am I good enough for the girl/guy I am looking for”. Our generation is way too comparative, spending too much time looking at others and their flaws. Mirrors were invented hundreds, if not thousands of years ago and half of us do not use them to give a good hard look at ourselves. You might find that once you look at yourself for a good amount of time, you realize that you aren’t even at the level to “holler” at a real wifey type anyway. Timing is everything. Are you even good enough right now for the person you say you want in the first place?
I was not in the right place. Had I met my fiancé a year or two earlier…I would have missed the experience of a lifetime. Do not miss your blessing simply because you did not examine yourself and whether you were ready to receive it.
4: Can I build with them?
Life is an ongoing project. We are constantly building our own empire, traveling our journey and working towards accomplishing our goals. If someone does not share the same aspirations or even focus as you do for their own life, leave them. Sounds bad, but that will only hold you back and continually drain you, as you will want more for them than they even want for themselves. You will want to build, and they will want to maintain. That is more draining than building alone.
I know we all have the friends that are stagnant, or always talking about things they are going to do, but never show any action or any progress. Multiply that by 1 million, as you will now be around someone with similar aspirations (or lack thereof) for long periods of time or even many years of your life, if you so choose to overlook this and enter into a relationship with them. Life is a team game and there are really only a few players in it (refer to my earlier post).
We all have dreams, we all have goals, we all have a vision of where we would like to be. If you think hard and long but you cannot envision them there, or you see it as a headache for them to be a part of your life, it is right then and there you know to leave. If you cannot build with them, they should not be able to remain in the house you have built.
At the end of the day, there are some very important questions that allow you to know when you have found the one. The four listed will certainly be a good starting foundation, helping you skip over some of those bad encounters we have all had as bachelors and bachelorettes. I always speak from my demographic’s point of view, as we have to do better with our selection of partners in general. I am speaking from experience. I have learned from some bad times in the dating world, so I challenge you to think through each and every one of your experiences next time if you are still on that planet I was so blessed to depart from. This could even be for some that are thinking of the next and most serious step. Whoever you are, I hope that you can read this and relate or pass it on. Happy courtship.