It is great to be goal-oriented, have a vision, and some sense of direction– but when you are dating, you need to rein in these qualities just a tad so you don’t overlook red flags or push past obstacles that maybe exist for a reason…
Fleshing out what you want and what you don’t want in a partner are a great first step to dating with a more mindful approach versus just hooking up whenever there is chemistry and riding that out until it ceases to be fun. But another key skill you need to develop is mapping, which is what you do when you play 20 questions to find out where a person has been, where are they now, and where are they going in life?
Avoid making assumptions in the dating world– just because you are looking for a committed relationship does not mean everyone else wants the same, and what that means to one person may not hold true to another. Not everyone wants to play house together, maybe some just want to focus on work during the week and do fun things on the weekends. Also, a lot of us over age 37 no longer want to have more kids or merge bank accounts and other assets. Very few, if any, still want or believe in a traditional marriage model where one person will stay home while the other bears 100% of the financial responsibility for the household.
Don’t pass judgment simply because what you would like doesn’t line up with another person’s choices or their attachment style. We all have different experiences that shape us, and there really is no right or wrong way to be. Some people simply have a very detached attachment style, others are very clingy, and then there is a whole range in between those two extremes. The key is just to find someone with an attachment style and life plan that aligns with yours.
Trying to convince someone to change for you and adopt your view on a good partnership is never going to work. People only truly change when they want to modify something after realizing the error of their ways. When you try to fit a square peg in a round hole, what you get is a lot of friction, and sadly hurt people hurt people. Resentment and frustration quickly escalate into anger and hatred, or complete apathy. This is the exact opposite of love.
I realize it is frustrating when you find a good candidate with potential, but somehow you guys are not quite on the same page. You can try playing the waiting game and see if he’ll turn it around, or you can walk away and move on to the next suitor. The choice is entirely yours, but let’s be clear that the sunken cost theory is ridiculous– you cannot worry about how much time, money, or energy you have already invested into a relationship. If it is not working, you need to learn to cut your losses and stop sinking more into a lost cause.
It takes a lot of patience to find someone that you can trust and respect, who shares in your dreams and aspirations, and has a demonstrated capacity to communicate well and listen with empathy. Looking for a partner that we can not only connect with emotionally, physically and intellectually today, but also see ourselves age with throughout the course of a lifetime is like the quest to find a unicorn. If you feel this way, at least know that you are far from alone– this has been my reality for over a decade, and that of many others.
Are you a woman on a mission? No need to apologize for that, just stay strong and learn to walk away with dignity and grace from relationships that are not right for you. Don’t waste your time trying to convince others in your value or vision, and instead simply live your life to the fullest while holding out for the love you deserve.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.