What a wonderful feeling that you have got right now! You’re infatuated with this person. They make you feel like angels are singing on high and that you’re floating in the clouds. You’re looking to get into a new relationship with Mr./Miss. Potentially-Right! Congratulations!
Now let’s take off those rose-tinted glasses real quick and review a few things. Everyone knows that the initial rush of being with someone new is wonderful. They have no faults, you’re perfect in their eyes, and visions of sugar plums and white picket fences are dancing in your head. At this point, let us step back and examine what you could be getting into.
First of all, whether you’ve known your potential partner for two minutes or two decades, understand that things are different once you’re with someone. There are certain expectations you should have for both yourself and the person you are in a relationship with.
So here is a quick reality check-list to go through while you’re still in the honeymoon mindset. While there are exceptions to these statements, remember that these tips are to bring you back to earth before you get too deep into your romance and forget the real world.
1. Potential significant other has a job – If your wonderful person has a job, great. That means he/she can hold his/her own and be dedicated to something. This also means that you do not need to foot the bill every time you want to go do something. It’s been statistically shown that financial issues are among the leading causes of failures in relationships. With that being said, why on earth would you date someone who isn’t employed? Granted, it’s a well known fact that the economy is not exactly in the best condition and unemployment is at an all time high. However, there is a huge difference in character between someone who is looking for employment versus someone who doesn’t care at all and is content to mooch off of you or whoever else they can.
2. Potential significant other has a mode of transportation – The only exception to this rule should be anyone under the age of 16 and people who genuinely come from low-income families, but even then there should be one car or at least a well-familiarized bus route he/she can get around with. And if he/she doesn’t/can’t drive, find out why and fast because the last thing you need is Jane Doe or John Doe having some sort of crummy driving record for one reason or another (i.e. DUIs – which should be a red flag of other issues that could arise in the relationship later anyway). If you don’t mind picking him/her up, then it is best to refer back to tip number one and have them help with fuel money, because cars run on petrol not “let’s go.”
3. Potential significant other has a little baggage – Depending on your age group, ‘baggage’ can be defined as many different things. Let’s be realistic, everyone has issues, responsibilities, and their own set of problems, but there is a fine line between issues and baggage. Baggage can be defined as anything that heavily weighs someone down to the point it will effect themselves and everyone around them in a negative fashion, including you. Sometimes it’s heavy problems with debt, other times is bad relations with their families, dealing with past significant others, or worst of all – self-destructive tendencies. The idea is to find someone with as little to no baggage as you can in the relationship world, simply because it is almost a guarantee that it will become a problem for your relationship later. So if Sally can’t stop talking about her ex on the first date or Sam drinks so much and blames his bad attitude towards you on his rough childhood then chances are you should not run, but sprint vigorously and hastily away from that person.
4. Potential significant other has been a good friend for years – This is a touchy issue, because this can go one of three ways. Either you know the person so well that it works out and you guys have a long and happy relationship, you know them so well that they drive you crazy, you split up, and lose everything, or you simply don’t work out and revert back to friends. In any scenario, it’s wise to approach this kind of potential significant other cautiously, but with an open mind because it may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
5. Potential significant other has just met you – It’s been said that it takes about three months for the “rose-glasses” to come off. This is about the time period it takes to start to see the real person. You start to know their likes, their dislikes, things that make you love them more, and/or things that make you want to run for the hills. It’s important to realize that, yes, you should enjoy your new relationship, but also take the time to get to know the person you’re with. Communication is the key to this and if you cannot talk to your partner then you are not going to last long.
6. Potential significant other has dated someone else you know – Again, this is a very difficult area. It comes down to timing, circumstance, and the relationship with the other person you know. If it’s Mike Smith from accounting you worked with five years ago and never see or speak to ever, then there should be little to no problem in this option of dating. However, if potential significant other is your friend’s ex then this is a completely different situation. First of all, friend code should always come before romance code. Why is this so? Because if a relationship goes South, typically who do you call first? Your friends (note: this can include family in that category) and so the absolute last thing you want to do is ruin a friendship over a relationship. First thing is first, ask the friend before pursuing their ex. There are a couple of good reasons for this. The first being it shows you care about their feelings and want their blessing before you make a move on their former partner. The second reason is that it doesn’t hurt to know why they broke up. Keep in mind, there are two sides to every story, but chances are if your friend is a true friend then they will tell you straight up how it was. Also, let’s go back to the common sense topic on this one – if there was ever a time when potential significant other was hitting on you while with your friend, then that should be enough to tell you that it’s a bad idea to date them.
7. Potential significant other has goals in life – It’s great to have goals. Goals are what drive us to do the actions in our life, so shouldn’t you be with someone who has them? If he/she is going to college, getting a degree, and has a plan on where he/she wants to take her career that seems possible then that is fantastic. Perhaps they were not so great with school but were good at other things and decided to take up a trade to make their living that way, that is another great thing. However, if Mr. Man thinks working a dead-end job, playing in a band, pushing his late 20’s, and is still living in his parents’ basement saying he’s going to be the next big thing on the radio then perhaps he is not someone you want to consider settling down with. Perhaps Miss. Thing has no job, bums gas money off of her folks, and is waiting for her trust fund to cash in which won’t happen until both of her parents pass away in 40 some odd years – again this is someone you should probably not plan a future with. It is important to yourself and to the person you are with that you are both on the same page. If you both have aspirations for yourselves as individuals then it is more then likely that you will be successful as a team in building aspirations together (Warning: This does not mean dropping words like ‘marriage’ and ‘kids’ in the first couple of dates. Wait until you know the person better.)
8. Potential significant other is supporting his/her own person -This portion can be taken in multiple different ways. Questions like “Is this person handling their own expenses?” to “Can this person take care of themselves and handle being alone?” What it all boils down to is this simple rule: you want to be with someone who can stand on their own two feet. Yes, we live in a society where people can’t afford to live on their own until their late 20’s or early 30’s,but that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t able to handle themselves. This means everything from taking care of their own responsibilities (i.e. hold down a job, car payments, cell phone, groceries, if they have kids then they are a good parent, etc.) to are they able to be their own person (i.e. be alone and be okay with it, have time with their friends and are cool with you having time with yours, keep true to their core values, etc.) You owe it to yourself to be with someone who is stable within their own person, because you want them to be stable with you.
Hopefully, this list has given you some food for thought. If you review all of these points and find yourself questioning your potential significant other then it may be wise to rethink your relationship path with this person. However, if you are looking at this article and saying “Hey, he/she has all these good qualities! I think this could be a great relationship in time!” then good luck and happy relationship to you!