As our dating culture changes so do our expectations. In fact, I don’t even know what to expect anymore, but I am thrilled when a guy pays for the first date. The prospects of finding and keeping a new love are complicated by tales of chivalry and an eagerness to be swept off our feet. When this doesn’t happen, we reevaluate what we want from love versus what we’ve been told to look for in the first place.
Money is Love
It’s like saying, “Baby, you can buy me.” But I have to admit, I’m guilty of falling for it. It’s a social standard that men pay for the first date. If a guy doesn’t do it, it sets off a red flag. But can women have their cake and eat it too?
How do we deal with dating when the dating culture is changing? Expectations when entering a relationship vary from one person to the next. It’s not wrong to want what you want, but it’s important to value the way someone shows his or her affections because they may show it differently than you do.
It can be a mistake to think that money in the form of dates, flowers and presents equal an admission of your significant other’s love, seeing a lack of this as a sign that the other person doesn’t value you. Though it is a gesture of affection and generosity, it shouldn’t be the sole marker of such.
The truth of the matter is that there are many ways someone can show that they adore you. And not all of these require money.
If It’s Meant To Be, It’s Meant To Be
This implies that you don’t have to put any effort into your relationship, that good things will just happen without you trying and that you have no control over the outcome. Sometimes you need to make it “meant to be” by putting one hundred percent of yourself into your relationship. That’s commitment. No excuses to keep one foot out the door.
And it’s scary. This is a generation of uncertainty. The perfect relationship rarely falls into your lap- though that’d be nice, wouldn’t it? Some people will be easier to build a relationship with than others. But even it it’s perfect at first glance, life has a way of testing you and a way of rewarding you too. You have to take the good with the bad.
Know when the struggle is too much and how much effort you’re willing to put into the other person to make it work. There are some relationships where it’s clear that you should give up and give in to making something else work. If you don’t have a hundred percent of yourself to give, be honest with your partner and with yourself. Work on yourself, so that someday you can – if that’s what you want to do.
You Just Know
Not always. Love is a complicated. I’ve seen couples recall their beginnings with the fondness of a fairytale, leaving me wondering why I remember those first days much better than they do. As a friend you keep an open ear to the relationship woes of your besties. You’re a crying shoulder and a bouncing board for their thoughts. However, when they move on, forgive their significant other and simultaneously forget their hesitations, you’re like an elephant; you never forget.
At first glance, you may wonder if this is the art of settling. On second thought, it may just be a complex form of figuring it out. Each person comes into a relationship with his or her baggage. After it unloads, they’re forced to sort through it to see what they’re keeping and what they can discard.
Love can grow as you let it in. It doesn’t have to be instantaneous and may not happen for both people at the same time.
So you’re telling me that out of the 7 billion people on Earth only one is your soul mate? Okay, it could be true. I have no proof either way; however, I’m highly skeptical.
Maybe this implies a certainty that this person is the person- your person – that you will love forever and ever. It’s just that I’ve loved more than one person in my life, so it’s hard to take this as one of my personal truths. You may not have one. You may have several and your definition of love can change as you mature.
Once you love someone you never really stop. It’s just that the love changes. If love is the genuine admission of the goodness and value in another person, it’s difficult to ever delete the fact that you’ve seen this in them. Love doesn’t fulfill the requirements of a relationship. Love on its own is the foundation you can build your lives on, but it’s not all you need. Sorry John, Paul, George and Ringo. It’s not the 60s anymore.
Happily Ever After
We can only hope. After you’ve made your vow for better or worse, always try to make it the first, but know that this is life. You can’t expect it to be a fairytale that you were force fed as a child. And I ate it up. I still do. Show me a romantic comedy and I’ll secretly gush over it. Show me The Notebook and I’ll cry as my boyfriend rolls his eyes.
Love is a choice. It’s far more complex than an emotional reaction. It’s a value and the decision to believe in and maintain the integrity of that value. The first step is finding the love of yourself within yourself. Then you can assess your expectations and engage another person in their own.