I am finding that dating in 2021, post-divorce, and back in the early 90's when I was single, are very different. Some might call me old school but either way, dating or spending a sizable amount of time with one person requires depth and understanding. I think if you're going to date someone you should at least know these 6 things, you'll find that they will lead to many other areas. Don't be afraid to ask the questions because you will have to live with the consequences.
1. Ask a lot of questions to decipher emotional, value-driven, and ethical compatibility—It’s ok to ask the hard questions, they either stay and take the heat if they have good intentions or you drive them away and confirm they are not the one for you. When we think about compatibility, we always look at the material but further down the line, things like values, emotional intelligence, and ethical stances become important in raising children, building a family, making decisions, and just how you generally lead your life. These things that we don’t think about can either make or break relationships. They are important.
2. Find their take on money - spending, saving, providing, investing and family dynamics - ensure it aligns with you or you're willing to adjust to it – This is a topic people don’t dig into enough. We assume that once he or she has a good job, seems ambitious or stable, we’re good. No! No! No! This a mistake. You need to understand their stance on money matters and make sure they are things you can live with forever. Notice I didn’t add this to the point above. You need to see this and understand it. Usually, both people are not good with money or with all aspects of money so it's important to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Oh, and making money is a strength, Lol.
3. Only accept things you can live with long term. I know this sounds old, but it is so true – When those red flags, habits, or triggers show themselves, no matter how subtle, ask yourself if it’s something you can live with. If the person is a smoker, just know that they may not be able to give it up. If the person minimizes your feelings, they will always minimize your feelings. They may change with help but what if they don’t. Don’t go into a relationship trying to fix the other person. It means they are not for you. Oh and about habits, snoring doesn’t count. Don’t lose the love of your life over some snoring.
4. Develop a deep friendship; it will get you through many storms – A friend is someone you can be yourself around, you can confide in without being judged, you can play with and fight with but because you’re friends you can also make up with because you understand who they are. I have learned from experience that friendship is the foundation of any good relationship. You have to like the person.
5. Any trait you see during dating will amplify the more they get comfortable good or bad – This one is similar to point 3. Anything you don’t like about your partner especially bad traits will amplify once they get you hooked. Remember we all pretend when we’re dating. So, just imagine the person is on their best behavior and then imagine the worst. It is also true that the good traits will also amplify when there is a bond or commitment between two people. Your partner will feel like you are both parts of a whole and things can be very good.
6. Don't share your weaknesses or deep dark secrets too early – Don’t do it! Here’s how I see this one, what do you hope to gain by sharing secrets or weaknesses early? Sympathy? Sympathy is not loved and with the wrong person, it could be ammunition. I am speaking from experience. Let your partner earn the right to hear about your secrets and pain. They should also love or want to be with you for who you are not what you went through. It muddy’s the waters.
And because life adds up in unexpected ways, here is one more “truth,” I believe in when searching for the right one.
7. Ask If they are open to pre-marital counseling and the work that comes with it – This one is more like the third eye syndrome. The counselor or pastor usually has no bias and can help uncover things that you may not see because you are too in love. Pre-marital counseling has helped a lot of people but some don’t like it. I recommend it because the signs and red flags show up but we lie to ourselves and pretend they are not there and make excuses. Do the work, you only have the rest of your lives to live with this person after all.