State Your Intentions
Updated: Jul 21, 2019
Dating with Intent:
I think it's something that we would all like to think that we're doing - or have done - but for the most part, we don't all practice this style of dating. For many of us, dating is this thing that you do because you're conditioned by society to do so. You don't really know what the rules are, but you have an idea about certain things, so you just go with it until you're forced to question what you know.
How do you navigate in a world of intention-less dating?
This may sound like a no brainer, but you start by defining what your intentions are. Not for your relationships with that person, but with yourself. What do you intend to do with and for yourself? If you don't know the answer to that question, perhaps you shouldn't be thinking about dating. Harsh I know, but hear me out. If you have a plan for yourself, you're more than likely going to have a much stronger foundation supporting you. You've been building that foundation for some time and it will be what keeps you grounded in self. If you know yourself, you will have a much easier time laying bricks with someone else. No matter what those bricks may be. The key is to make sure they too, know themselves. Part of what I believe is the downfall to so many failed relationships is one or both of the individuals not knowing who they are. Which, to me is understandably so, because, it takes time to figure yourself out. Couple that with the notion that you're supposed to have a partner to validate your inner most human experiences by the time you're 25, and lo and behold, there's the recipe for disaster. We put pressure on children to know who they want to be by the time they're 15. Tell them to start thinking about college and figure out a life and career path. Some of us have parents who pushed their dreams onto us, in hopes that we'll be the athlete or mathematician they never got to be. There are so many life experiences that take place that end up shaping how you view not just the world, but yourself as well. There's sometimes a disconnect from who you really are, and who you've been pushed to be.
So, if you are still navigating through figuring yourself out, how can you begin to navigate the world with someone else? This isn't to say it's not possible. There's a fair amount of us who meet our significant others at a young age, and we do both, navigate the world, and grow up with them. This however, is for the rest of the world - the people who are still figuring out who they are and where they feel they belong.
Take your time. Figure out who you are first. The rest will follow. A partner who is suitable for you will come along when the time is right. These are all phrases we've heard time and time again, and as cliche as they are, they still hold true. More often than not, we find ourselves rushing time, because we don't want to be missing out on life's "greatest milestones". Rushing into parts of our lives that we're not yet ready for, but have convinced ourselves otherwise. The reason I say we're not yet ready is because chances are, there's still some areas that need to be navigated. If you are rushing to find a partner, and not working on your relationship with yourself, you're going to find partners, that do not love you wholly. They cannot love you wholly, if you do not love yourself wholly. In addition, if you do not share with them all parts of you, including the bad, they're not capable of loving you wholly.
We often rush to mask our deficiencies and bad habits instead of addressing them head-on and truly tackling the root of the problem. This is something I've learned from experience. I used to suppress parts of myself when dating because I thought that was the key to getting my partner to fall in love with me. I learned the hard way that it's not. I'm not the girl that just nods her head and acquiesces to your every desire. I'm the annoying girl that's going to question you until I'm blue in the face and you want to scream. I'm that annoying little kid that's going through the "why" phase. If you cannot tell me why we should be doing something, and have it make sense with end results laid out, I'm not going for it. There was a point in my life where I thought I could suppress that part of my personality though, and I ended up significantly unhappier than I was in the beginning. My partner ended up miserable too. I had spent an awfully long time trying to force pieces into my puzzle that were the wrong shape and size. When I finally realized it wasn't the way I wanted to date anymore, it was sort of too late. Too late in the sense that my relationship with that person was beyond repair, but right on time in the sense that, my life was only just beginning. I'm only 25 years of age, so while I've had a lot of dating experience, (insh'ahallah) I have many more years ahead of me. Through my experiences I've learned it's much easier to have a partner when you know your intentions with yourself.
When you're not sure of who you are, and/or where you're going in life, you are a "dating project" to virtually anyone you date. While some projects are fun, dating projects, not so much. Dating Projects are fun, until you realize that the only one who benefited from the work, was the other person. You got the short end of the stick. You lost energy and effort, but didn't gain much in return. That is not the kind of investment habit that one wants to be in.
Your focus shouldn't be on dating fixer uppers, you're not Bob the Builder, or the Property Bros, or any other HGTV sensation. Nor should it be on helping others discover who they are. Again, you're not Sherlock Holmes, or the super smart dude from Criminal Minds. You cannot help someone figure out who they are, because they will not find themselves in you. They will continue to only find you.