November 3, 2019
Disclaimer: I am not a dating counselor and do not hold any licenses or degrees in relationships, dating, or marriage.
Over the past few years I’ve been swayed into altering my definition of dating. I recall reading posts on Twitter specifically downplaying the notion of dating someone with the possible intent to marry them. I’ve seen opinions of people dismissing that idea because according to them dating should be free of the pressures of future commitment and more about getting to know a person and having a good time. Again, good points which I totally understand, however, I think the new idea of dating is very skewed and quite frankly not highly regarded anymore.
Now, I say this because I wouldn’t date someone long term only to end it a few years in and say “yeah on second thought, I never really saw us being together forever so.. yeah.. let’s call it quits.” A situation like that could only end one of two ways: the person initiating the break-up would completely blindside and damage the other individual or the person being broken up with would secretly have felt the same way and agreed to end the relationship as well. Either way, this is a risky proposition and we should remember to remind ourselves why we date in the first place and communicate our intentions. It also helps to listen to your gut early on to avoid unnecessary heartbreak down the road.
Let’s look at both perspectives here; from what I see in the dating world these days, many events take place backwards from the traditional way things could be done.
Many people have no issue with sleeping with someone after a first date or having one-night-stands. Some would even argue that after taking this approach, they’ve been happily married or in a great relationship. And to them I say, congrats! I sincerely pray that the marriage or relationship lasts a lifetime for you. But in my reality, I disagree with this approach.
The Importance of Intimacy
Sharing an intimate experience with a person you’ve only known for a few hours is one of the most ludicrous acts I’ve heard of. It baffles and simultaneously intrigues me how people can feel so sexually captivated by one another, that they fall into the traps of temptation and agree to share their bodies with one another. In this same instance, they could possibly ignore every negative trait about the other person.
There are so many factors that I believe should be considered when dating someone, and this just scratches the surface–your partners sexual history, any diseases or illnesses they may have but haven’t disclosed yet, crazy exes who may still have romantic feelings for them, bad hygiene, STDs or STIs, their religious beliefs, political views, if they suffer from any childhood traumas, what their relationship is like with their parents, their emotional intelligence, and the list goes on. It’s difficult for me to believe two individuals can get past even half of the aforementioned ‘about me’ questions in one night, and feel safe and secure enough to engage in sexual activities.
What Should Dating Look Like?
With that being said, I want to share an ideal way for dating to marry.
I’m going to speak to heterosexual women in particular here, because it’s the only experience I know. As a woman, we need to remind ourselves that we have the power in relationships. It’s important we remember not to reveal too much information about ourselves during what’s referred to as the “talking stage”, or the first few months of getting to know a man. Take as much time as you need to feel him out, study his behavior and language, and have him do most of the talking. Start to make note of the things you like versus the things you take issue with. For example, his table manners, how he treats the waiter or waitress, and maybe even his haircut. These are all things that will matter down the road, and now is the time to spot any red flags that turn you off.
While still in the talking stage, it might be good to ask about their plans for the future so you can assess whether they’re worth your time or not. If he gives clear, direct, and confident answers he might have some potential to stick around. However, if his answers seem very cocky, lack deep thought, or come across as directionless, then that first date might be the only date for him.
After a few weeks when you decide to continue learning about this guy, begin digging deeper to ask more personal questions; for instance, about his family, what his childhood was like, and other past events that make him the person he is today. During these conversations, topics centered around views on marriage, the possibility of children and starting a family should naturally arise. Hopefully during this stage, he’s comfortable to talk about his sexual history and be open about any questions you may have about his sexual experiences. This way, you know the type of person you’re dealing with and how serious they are when it comes to other women, sex, and dating.
After talking with a guy for months, you may come to believe that they are someone you see yourself dating long term. Now, before you even begin dating someone, they should have expressed a desire to commit to one person. Lack of communication and failure to commit are two of the most common issues I’ve dealt with in past relationships. It helps to know that the other individual is on the same page as you if your goal eventually ends in marriage. Please understand that you may not want to reveal your dreams of a big wedding and 4 babies right away because it may potentially turn him off, and worse, you may not know if this person is husband material to begin with. So, as a rule of thumb, try to keep your most personal dreams about your ideal relationship private until the man is deemed worthy of knowing. And besides, if there is a genuine connection between you two, conversations of this nature should happen organically. The most important thing to remember is trusting your intuition because it will never steer you wrong. Doing so, also may spare you and the other individual much unnecessary drama and heartache down the road.
Finally, once the two of you are on the same page in regards to dating, then you’ve most likely established whether you are both dating to marry or not.
If you’re really interested in getting to know a person, you can also have fun while doing so! It doesn’t have to be all business all the time, but it should be taken seriously to ensure no one’s time is wasted in the process. Just make sure the man you are involved with has made their intentions clear and expressed their views on dating. As for you, go into dating knowing what your needs are in your current stage of life. Remember that everyone’s definition of dating is different, so you should always be able to clearly articulate what it is you’re looking to get out of in a relationship before beginning your journey.