Are you still dating based on "Potential" in 2018?
If you use social media, then you’ve probably seen the posts where a woman brags about how she initially saw potential in her partner and waited 10+ years through a bunch of bullshit to finally witness his glow up. The first photo is of some dusty looking dude who couldn’t keep a job back in the day and then there’s a second picture of a more cleaned up gentleman with a caption about him now making six figures, living in a big house, driving a nice car, settled down with her and their 2 ½ kids and a dog. The journey, including the emotional trauma, is usually left out and the woman gets all the praise or likes for sticking by her man. Ugh…
Now let me say I am in no way hating on someone getting their lives together and doing better. I love to see my people win. However, I am hating on the message that if a woman endures, aka gets dogged out for years, there is a pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. We all know that most women who stick around still don’t get the happy ending they’ve been waiting for. Just look at your best friend, cousin, auntie, or your mom.
But I digress.
The point of this blog post is to point out that in 2018, I need women who are looking for serious relationships to search for mates based on values, not potential. Some may call it luck or happenstance, but I chose my hubby because of the values he held and not because of what he could give me or do for me. If you had told me in 2012 that my husband would have a doctorate degree by 2020, I would have laughed in your face. Not because I didn't think he could. Rather, the man I met was a little lost and confused about his next steps in life. In fact his favorite things to do were to eat, smoke, hang out with his friends, and play video games. Now I know that doesn't sound like a catch to you, but what he also had was an incredible work ethic. He went to work 5 days of week and if he said he was going to do something he did it. And there’s more...
See before I met him, I had already made a firm list of 5 values that I was looking for in a partner. In the past my type was the cute mysterious guy with a dash of thug and a lot of baggage. I’d also dated the really smart conceited guys who knew they were a catch and therefore thought that I should be thankful for having the opportunity to be with them. Over time I’d created a checklist of almost 30 things that I wanted in a partner. Right before I met my husband I had dwindled my list down to these 5 simple values:
A partner who was Spiritual and had a relationship with God
A great sense of Humor
Intelligence, someone I could have deep conversations with
Leadership, someone that I could believe in & follow
Now I know some of you are thinking, well what about how he looks or the sex. These are important, but they were not important enough to make MY list. I do believe that there has to be chemistry and mutual attraction for a relationship to have lasting power. However, sometimes the person that you are not immediately attracted to turns out to be "the one". In terms of sex, that will come into the picture when it's time. For some of us, it just causes us to put on rose-colored glasses and ignore all of the other awful baggage that a person is carrying. And for others it's an added bonus.
But back to the point.
Values are not just things that you write on a piece of paper. You demonstrate your values through your actions. While my husband had his vices, he also was determined to figure out what he was passionate about and how he could be of service to other. In our first year together he contemplated going back to school for architecture & urban planning, then organizational psychology, then he considered becoming a mortgage loan officer with Quicken, he then applied for a Sexual Health Educator position all while managing a rap artist. No he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but what I loved is that he was willing to try. He was willing to explore the things he was interested in to figure out what he was really passionate about. And because he possessed those other 5 values, I knew he would figure it out.
What I also learned through our relationship is that the person that you meet is fundamentally who they will always be. Yes, people grow and change, but the core of who they are is not going anywhere. My husband still likes eating, smoking, hanging with friends, and occasionally playing video games. He is also still the same hardworking man that I met 6 years ago.
So how do you come up with a list?
There are hundreds of values that you can choose from like, authenticity, beauty, faith, kindness, loyalty, openness security, wealth, etc. If you need more examples, google is your friend. So here was my process:
Create a list of the top 10-15 things that you want in a partner
Now delete everything connected to physical appearance (race, height, weight, etc) and write attractive if you must. We don’t want you to get caught up in looks.
Delete everything connected to money (job, big house, kind of car, vacations, etc). If you want someone who can take care of themselves you can write self sufficient or established.
If the words on your list are not values, try to find values that are related. For example if you put statements like no baby momma drama, no baggage from old relationships, doesn’t like to argue, you might choose a word like peaceful.
Take your remaining list and group it into priorities vs preferences. Some things you need and somethings you just want. You can live without the wants, you can’t live without the needs.
The hard part is simply dwindling it down. If you have more than 5, fine, but that's the goal.
Now you date. And you will meet a bunch of losers in the process. I did. Don't get discouraged.
Inevitably you will meet someone that you really like. They'll even make you question the values you initially chose because they won't possess all of the values that you said you really needed. Do you relax on thing 1 & 2 or move on? Personally, I would move on. The truth is if these are things that you really need to be happy with a partner, those things won’t change. Have faith in your list (process). Those 5 values should be your non negotiable's. Keep in mind that humans are multilayered and your partner will come with way more than that anyway. For example, I was set on the values that I provided earlier, but the man who had what I was looking for was also adventurous, creative, fun, kind, cared about the community and meaningful work, wanted to pleasure me, was responsible, etc. These are not things that I couldn’t live without, but they all came within the same guy.
Remember, no one is perfect. But if you want someone who is honest, don’t accept a liar. If you need someone who loves God, don’t accept an atheist. If you need someone who is ambitious and goal oriented, don’t accept the guy who is just okay with sitting on the couch and accepting unemployment.
Believe that you can have what you desire, and you shall receive it!
Currently dating someone and trying to figure out if you should stay or leave?
You have to ask yourself, what if he never goes back to finish his degree, what if he never goes to trade school to become the mechanic he always wanted to be, what if she never stops drinking or smoking? Will you be happy with that? Will you still love them the same? If the answer is no, move on! It’s really that simple.
At the end of the day you don't have to make an actual list like I did. If you're more free flowing just be conscious of the people you meet. Consider the WHOLE person. Think about who they are right now in this moment. What qualities do they possess? If you can't see yourself with this person in the long run (THIS person, not who they will become), then pass. You can thank me later.