When we think about sharing our lives with another person we must consider what we know about love as an individual. Think about the love you have with parents, grandparents, siblings and your siblings families, even the love you have shared with exes and maybe your own children. Then think about the love you know and share with your friends, coworkers, even your pets. Finally, think about the love you give to yourself. To truly have a strong and loving relationship with a significant other you must know what love is for you and be able to communicate it to the other person. Feeling and showing love is not the same for everyone, that is why there are books like, The Five Love Languages.
When you begin to truly know what you value and start dating, then you can be more aware of what you need to learn about the other person as well. What you find important in a relationship in order to feel love, respected and supported may not be obvious to someone else. I have friends who have learned that punctuality is important to me and I am also a bit of a planner. My love languages are words of affirmation and quality time. So discussing plans to get away for the weekend for some quality time with someone I love is super exciting for me. I have a very outgoing and humorous personality but I don’t necessarily like a man who is that way. I find myself often attracted to men who do have a great sense of humor but are more quiet and reserved types, at least out socially. The strong and serious, all business and authoritative mans man is what I find myself often attracted to. I find it special and sexy when a man has a certain side of himself that he only shares with me. I have certain things I reserve for only those most special to me as well.
As I have moved through life and become older and wiser, I often see my friends going through relationship issues or settling for a partner that isn’t quite what they want but “close enough”. I understand there may be certain compromises and exceptions made because nobody is perfect, but make sure you are being honest with yourself. Often we find ourselves making exceptions to things that we may only find slightly bothersome or annoying in the beginning stages when love is new, exciting and fun, only to realize once the new wears off, that little thing gets bigger. If you are truly accepting of someone who never makes plans until last minute or is consistently late or whatever the “thing” is, then understand…this will NEVER change so you cannot get pissed about it later. Part of dating is not just getting to know the other person, it is also letting others know who you are and in order to do that you have to know yourself and be honest.
We all know we cannot change people and we also need to admit, allowing love to grow with someone you want to change is not fair. Someone who is always late is not really an awful person who doesn’t deserve love. There are people out there that do not find constant lateness a deal breaker. It also does not mean that person disrespects everyone else in the world, maybe they are selfish assholes, or maybe they just struggle and truly want to do better. No matter which category they fall in, it is not your job to fix it. I have struggled in dating because I may encounter a guy that has many qualities I love but I realize there are things about him that really bother me. I try to rationalize and make excuses at first because he seems to fit so many aspects of what I love, but this is where we get ourselves into trouble. We must remember, the very beginning stages of dating is when we are supposed to be putting our best foot forward, so if this person is already doing things that raise flags then you have to know when to walk away.
To know yourself and what you find important in a relationship is the most important part of dating. Do not waiver or make exceptions unless you truly feel the compromise is worth it for the long haul. If you find it annoying that your new guy never puts his clothes in the hamper or dishes in the sink but he is fantastic at telling you how much he appreciates and loves you and he plans special dates with you, then maybe you can see yourself making the compromise. Only you know but you must be honest with yourself. Communication is key also, never sweep things under the rug, address the things that bug you in the beginning and give the other person a chance to think about it and take action to do better, if they continue then you will know this is something you will either have to accept or walk away from. You do not want to continue having the same conversation over and over about the same issues because those will turn to arguments and then resentment and it just never ends well. Either accept them and drop it or move on. You have to know yourself and as you get to know them, then you can decide if knowing them is really to love them.
With love, health, and happiness,