Dating, relationships

My Standards, My Expectations, and My Inability to Keep a Man

Dear T,

A friend told me about your blog, and since I’ve started reading it, it’s become one of my favorite things. Great job. Anyway, the reason I’m writing is that I’m tired of starting over when it comes to dating. It seems like I meet a guy, we date for maybe a month or two, then we break up or whatever. My sister suggested that I give up too easy or something, but I’m not convinced that’s true. I just don’t think something that’s meant to be in terms of a relationship should be that hard in the beginning. I get I’m a complicated person and I may even demand too much, but I like what I like and I deserve to have a soulmate.  Guess my question to you is, do you think there is something wrong with me? Why can’t I get out of this pattern of dating and breaking up, and get into a lasting relationship?

– I Was Supposed to Be In Love By Now

Dear I Was Supposed to Be In Love By Now,

Thanks for writing and for sharing your kind words on According to T. Like I always say, the compliments are appreciated and really do serve as fuel for me to keep this site going. So again, thank you. Now based on what you wrote, I can’t say for sure if your sister is right about you giving up “too easy”, or if there is something wrong with you in terms of dating. There simply isn’t a ton to go off of here. However, I do think you said enough that I can give you some helpful insight.

Once upon a time, I was a “serial dater.” Up until about my mid-twenties, I couldn’t date a guy longer than six weeks. And  it was never intentional. But for some odd reason, I would vibe with a guy, date him, then week six would roll around, and me and the guy of the moment would just fizzle out. Sometimes it was due to a guy’s lies, and other times because there was more physical attraction than substance. Eventually though, I came to realize that most of my six-week situationships ended because of my need to have perfection , and my misunderstandings of what a good relationship looked like.

Like you, when I would date in search of a mate, I did so thinking that a good relationship should start out easy. That the honeymoon phase of a relationship wouldn’t have any problems, and it would be a piece of cake. And the slightest disturbance meant it was time to move on. It all relates back to our standards and expectations.

And don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you, or people in general, should make a habit of lowering your standards when it comes to finding love (unless they are completely unrealistic). However, I do think we as humans searching for love need to be willing to compromise when it comes to our expectations. You see, each of us grow up a particular way. We find ourselves developing our own way of communicating, our own method for handling conflict, and our own ideas of true love. While these developments are great in terms of our journey of self-discovery, they at times hinder us when it comes to relationships. Unfortunately, we tend to become stuck in our own ways, and expect those we date to express themselves as we do, argue like we argue, and fit our idea of love. And that simply isn’t fair to those we hope to be coupled with.

A real relationship requires us to be willing to see a perspective outside of our own. We have to be willing to meet people where they are and compromise on how we communicate and expect others to communicate in return. We have to realize that our way is not the only way to resolve problems when they arise. Also, we have to burst our own bubbles and understand that soulmates often look more like Jay and Bey, and less like Snow White and Prince Charming.

 

Now with all of that said, it is very possible, that you’re not being too picky or too unreasonable with your standards and expectations. You could just be listening to your instincts. And I believe that our GOOD instincts are God’s way of helping us discern what’s best for us. So if after some self-reflection and prayer, you know without a shadow of a doubt your instincts in love have been great, then continue listening to them.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. I didn’t talk about it above, but in the process of you doing some soul searching , check out two articles I wrote. One on being a problematic dater, and the other on the difference between wanting a relationship and wanting companionship.

As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott

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