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Thoughts on Dating and Relationships

Earlier today I stumbled onto a blog post that made me stop and actually evaluate my most recent approaches to dating, as well as look back on past relationships.

The main point that blogger makes regarding dating is that single people should look for the purpose or long-term value of a romantic relationship rather than just date around endlessly, and people who want to find someone to settle down with should take the approach of courtship rather than mindless dating. The whole post is definitely worth reading, so I advise clicking over and spending a few minutes there, especially if like me you are single and swimming in the treacherous waters of dating.

This idea of approaching dating with a long-term mindset rather than a few days of fun with someone new really hit home for me, since for the last 2 or so years I’ve been playing the game of going out with different men a handful of times and never allowing those dates to progress into a relationship.

I’ve been placing blame on those dates not turning into more on things like a lack of chemistry, lack of common interests, or any other excuse, when in reality I’m sure the fact that I can’t recall once discussing real future plans with any of those dates might have had something to do with the fact none of those possible connections ever felt like they were worth my time in the long run.

Looking back at the guys I’ve been officially labeled girlfriend/boyfriend with, I still have a hard time remembering any specific conversations discussing our real future plans– even with the guy who I dated for over 4 years and lived with, the closest we ever got to “future planning” was all hypothetical dreams that could probably only happen if one of us won the lottery (and since I don’t play lotto, that would have been a tough feat).

Sure, a handful of times in my recent history I’ve gone out with men who I’ve felt could be potential relationship material, but in an effort to not sound like a crazy girl who wants to be paired up and picking out China patterns after a couple of dates, I kept the conversation on fun things and the dates all seemed to focus more on activities than actually getting to know each other.
Maybe I’m too picky, or to quote a pretty good friend who will remain anonymous, maybe I just like the “attention and ego boost,” of finding out that men out there want to go on dates with me, but deep down I know that my long-term plan is to not be single forever. I’m not saying that I’m in a huge hurry to meet the man of my dreams and immediately start a family, but at some point, yes, that would be nice if it happens, and until then my plan is to enjoy my singledom and my youth.

I’m not sure there is an exact science or strategy that should be used for pinpointing when a good time might be to have those chats about what you each want in the future, but I’m starting to think that sooner rather than later might not be a terrible idea.

Several of my single friends and I have discussed various deal breakers on occasion, and I’ve even discussed deal breakers with men either before setting up a first date or even on an early date, so why not have a small part of the conversation directed towards discussing your real future goals? I’m not saying that this plan would work for all dates, but it might help to give both people an idea of what the other person is expecting out of that or other relationships, and save both people time that could be spent finding someone else who better matches those goals.

Even though I’m by no means any sort of relationship expert, I think Matt Walsh’s idea of courtship rather than dating is a pretty solid approach. When I think about my married friends and family members (well the ones that I was around and in regular contact with when they each met their respective spouses), I’m fairly certain that most of those people used a similar approach and instead of just endlessly dating each other, those pairings resulted in marriages.

Chime in fellow single people (or happily attached people), what do you think of this idea of trying to approach relationships as courtship instead of just dating around?

Call me old-fashioned, but I rather like this idea and if possible will try to put it into practice the next time I’m in a position of meeting someone I could possibly envision sharing a future with someday.

One Response

  1. Joe Babbitt says:

    I don’t always agree with Mr. Walsh. In fact, I rarely do. However, every now and again, he hits it out of the park, and this was one of those times. This is how I approach relationships though, so this may be a vote for confirmation bias. However, I am a firm believer that time is the most important resource we have, as well as the most scarce. I’m not inclined to waste mine or another’s. Ego boost or not, I don’t put myself in something where I don’t feel there is room for growth. I’ve turned down several interested women in the past few months, and whereas it sucked in the moment, every single one of them has since communicated appreciation to me for the honesty and respect of their time.

    Marriage is not necessarily a goal (though in most cases it makes sense) but the building of something greater than the sum of its parts is.

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