One of the things that is surprising yet largely true is that most people find it difficult to explain what is it that they’re looking for, whether it’s while dating or pursuing a relationship. That’s fine, so long as they know what they want but do they? Most of us just assume that we’ll know when we meet the right person. But it’s not so much about them as it is about us and our needs. Do we really pause to think and get clear on our life direction and priorities first?
This is key to knowing what we, as individuals want, with our different needs and relationship goals. Ideally, this should be done before anything else, including going on that first date. Most people just start dating without having that clarity of thought, and before you know they are in what faintly resembles a relationship but in fact is not a relationship. Then when they find themselves in a messy situation, they start to think about what went wrong. They wonder how they got into a relationship with an emotionally immature person or in a relationship which fulfils most of their relationship needs except the one that is the most important for them, all this while waiting for some god sent sign to appear which will tell them exactly what to do!
Our relationship priorities are closely tied with our life purpose, so it makes sense to figure out what kind of a life do we want to lead. It’s not good enough to simply know it, but one has to be firm about it. I’m saying this because you cannot have this and that, for example, if you want to be with someone who has the same cultural background as you, then you have to be prepared to narrow your options down. You cannot look for diversity, you cannot date someone who is from another culture if ultimately you will not be able to accept it. You need to figure out what your deal breakers are. They are always based on your values so really the first step is to figure out what is it that’s important to you. What do you stand for? It sounds like a no brainer but it’s surprising how many people don’t really consider this and then struggle with an inability to commit down the line.
It’s not purely external factors though, because it’s never about the other person. We have to be aware of the differences between external and internal partner criteria. Externals are anything to do with looks, height, career, to an extent their family background etc.. Internals are things like how are they as a person, how they treat you, their level of emotional maturity etc. Most of us have stringent criteria about the former whereas we don’t have the time or interest to think about the latter. We make random mindless connections lets say between a what someone does for a living and what they must be like because of that. In order of avoid unnecessary tension later on in the relationship, we must be clear on our priorities. Our internal criteria for selecting a partner should always always trump the externals. It doesn’t matter if he’s 6’2”, with a nice head of hair and a healthy bank balance if you are not being treated with care and respect. Don’t force yourself to like someone just because they fulfil those external criteria, it will not work out in the long run.
Only you can decide if someone is right for you. And the ability to decide comes from knowing what you are looking for. There is a tendency in some people to pick someone just to say “I told you so” to themselves. I know, right? It’s like it’s not enough if your instinct tells you they’re wrong for you, but you have to prove it to self validate. Never ignore your gut, guys and girls. If someone is not right for you, they’re not. Keep it simple. And whatever you do, please DO NOT date multiple people at once. It’ll drive you crazy, and you’ll never be able to compare two people objectively. The easiest way to choose the right person is to reflect before you go through the dating process not after. Once you make a decision, stick to it. It can be tempting to ‘try out’ different people and although it’s fine initially till the first couple of dates (and ideally not more than two people), once you get past that stage, it gets strange and becomes counter productive to a potential relationship. A lot of folks are carried away because of attraction or a sense of desperation, but if you value having a healthy relationship above all else, then you need to be with someone whose values align with yours. That ultimately, is what sustains a relationship.
What do you think? Have you ever considered your life purpose and priorities prior to dating?