I was 5 minutes early for once. My phone buzzed. He said he’d be 15 minutes late due to traffic. Well, I guess that’s D.C. for you? I looked at the clock again again. 15 past. The thought crossed my mind, how long should a girl wait before getting up and leaving? I’d never had a date really late before, or at least not late enough that I’d noticed. I thought of all the things I could be knocking off my to-do list if I’d passed on this date. Well, one of those things on my to-do list was writing a letter to one of my friends back in PA – so I pulled a notebook out of my bag and began writing, why not knock that out? Besides, I’d been a little late on dates before. I was actually thoroughly enjoying myself as wrote, while soaking in the quaint atmosphere of the coffee shop. However, when I finished the letter he still wasn’t there. I thought again, how long should a girl wait before just going home. Part of me really wanted to stay, but the other part was just saying… Enough already! Seriously? You’ve never been this late to a date! I licked the letter shut and picked up my phone. “ETA?” I didn’t know what else to say, I wasn’t about to tell him I was ready to drop my letter by a post office and head home.
Half hour late, but he showed up. The tension in my head cleared as soon as I saw him rush in. I was glad I had stayed -after all, I got to finish that letter 😉 He apologized profusely, and no one could doubt his sincerity if they noticed his sweaty palms and brow as I did. So we had a date. It was nice, I had a really great time. He was handsome, smart, funny, and a great conversationalist. I love a good conversation, especially when it gets deep, my faith is challenged, and I get to think about important issues.
We somehow got talking about past relationships and relationships in general. I told him how I thought dating without a purpose had no value to me. “I think it’s important that when you see the relationship isn’t going to work out long term or you see deal breakers it’s better to end it sooner versus later.” He chuckled nervously, “I don’t know, I think I like to enjoy the moment.” He continued to tell me about a brief relationship he had with a girl when they both knew it would only be for a few months. Right from the start they both knew he was going to move away soon, but they just enjoyed those few months. “It sounds poetic, but I couldn’t do something like that. If I knew it was going to end in a few months, it would seem too dishonest and would just be a waste of time.” I admitted.
We continued chatting, and we both finished our coffees. I told him I had a nice time, as I had. I politely declined his offer to drive me home, grabbed an Uber and opted for a friendly wave bye instead of a hug (or anything else).
‘I like to enjoy the moment’ I’ve said that phrase referring to myself, but I think his idea of it was different than my idea. I enjoy myself in the moment, and thrive off of spontaneity, but I still really value planning for the future. I believe that we shouldn’t waste time. That’s not to say that I think relationships should be fast paced, but rather, I’d like to keep my time oriented on accomplishing my goals. For instance, my goal in dating is eventually finding someone I could marry and spend forever with. I believe if that’s my goal, I shouldn’t be doing something contrary to it. Especially dating a gentleman after I know he’s not ‘the one’. I’ve heard girls argue that although the one they’re dating isn’t the one they picture marrying he’s a really nice guy. Well? If he’s a really nice guy why are you leading him on? If your point in dating has nothing to do with finding a lifelong partner, but instead just to have fun – Then date away. I’ll date a guy until it becomes clear that we won’t end up in our 80s rocking together on our front porch. Usually it only takes one date, sometimes sooner to realize this. For some people it might take longer to get to know someone, which is totally understandable. For me, I know the things that are important to me, and although time could alter those items slightly, I believe the big items will stay the same.
I’ve been criticized for having a list (an actually on-paper list) of qualities I want in a potential person. I understand why, It appears cynical, and almost dehumanizing. The truth is most of us have this list, whether it’s long or short – only it’s in your head; I’m probably a little extra for having it written down. What is the difference between a list in my head and a list on paper? The difference is that a mental list is more pliable, more wielding, and much easier to ‘forget’ something when your feelings start clouding your judgement. What if I meet someone, sparks fly, and then I realize he’s not what I was initially looking for? Or a deal breaker pops up? Then I’ll check my list -whether it’s mental or on paper – And reevaluate why that’s important to me. What happens next? I usually (if not every time) that the item of discrepancy between my feelings and my good ol’ brain was valid, and would in fact be an issue when/if the feelings faded. That’s not to say that you should be void of feelings, but that you should use the head on your shoulders first (Which is sometimes hard if your emotions are all over the place).
I’m posting this, even though it’s a bit of a vulnerable topic to put out there publicly – Because I know both men and women in my life can benefit from this concept, and because, although in the background, dating does play a role in This Artist’s Life, so I don’t think I should entirely ignore the topic on this blog. Will I settle? No, and I don’t think anyone should. I absolutely love life, and am happy as a single person. Accomplishing my goals (non-romantic goals) are on the top of my list right now. I do my do diligence to meet and follow up with people, but I don’t believe in just dating for the heck of it. Or dating simply because I crave that special connection you feel when you’re with someone. I believe strongly that everyone should put a hold on unnecessary drama. Take some time to decide what kind of person you want to date, and be the person your dream man or women would want to date in return. Once you know who you’re looking for, don’t settle for less. If you don’t think you deserve your dream man or women, then work on things that you want to change about your life before going looking for him or her. The last thing you want to do is realize you need to change things after you are dating that person because you feel inferior. In which case you’re making changes for them, and not for yourself.
I am currently right where I want to be. A state where I constantly see my flaws and try to better myself. I know I can’t be perfect, or work on every issue all at once, but I am in a state of self awareness and take ownership of my problems. Generally speaking I know my list of goals (however various and scattered they sometimes tend to be) and I go for them. I don’t waste time. I wouldn’t expect any more from a guy than what I expect of myself. My list isn’t unreasonable, but I am really picky, and that’s okay, the pickier you are the more people you should be meeting, it’s usually as simple as that. You know all that energy I could be pouring into the dating game? I have time to build meaningful friendships and focus on all my other goals while I’m young. My timeline gives me a few years before I’ll put dating higher on my priority list. Even then, I won’t settle, I’ll just increase the chances of meeting that special person by meeting more and more people. in the meantime, I can be spending time doing all those things people say they wish they did before they were married. Travel, write my book, start a business…but hey! If God surprises me with a guy that matches up to my list? I’m okay with accomplishing my goals a little out of order.
Whatever stage of life you are in, you should be making the most of it and enjoying the moment. For you single folks, take this time to enjoy the land of in between that spans from single to married. If you’re not happy now, don’t expect a significant other to fix that for you. Keep on meeting people, and taking control of your life, but please don’t settle. Often times I find that people settle because they’re not meeting enough people (They don’t think they exist), and/or they don’t think they deserve someone with all that. They feel that they can’t have a guy or gal who’s both funny and smart or interesting and a Christian. What?! There are billions of people out there. The more people you meet the more you will realize you don’t have to settle. Don’t let emotions in the moment make you hooked on someone you have to make excuses for. You should be with someone you respect and are proud to be associated with.
That folks, is why I won’t apologize for writing a list, and why I won’t ever settle.
If you are a book reader, here are some of my favorite books relating to this post topic:
“I kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris – I’ve got issues with this book but overall it’s a great read and definitely edifying if you pick and choose what you choose to take from it, also especially helpful if you are tired of the ‘dating game’.
“Sacred” Search“ by Gary Thomas- One of my favorite books of all time. ABSOLUTELY LOVE this book! It talks about standards, knowing what’s important to you in a potential spouse, and definitely an advocate of having ‘a list’.