Let’s really get real here, my love seeking friends. Most of us are not just looking for someone to have a few dinners or frolics between the sheets with. Most of us are looking for a love partner with staying power and a lifetime mate. So, with that end goal in mind, let’s reverse engineer a successful relationship: ME + ME = WE. Two separate “MEs” must merge, turn upside down, and morph into a “WE”. This is easier said than done. Why? Because attraction is often driven by the more superficial stuff like professional success, sex appeal, good pedigree, etc. The standout resume is great but the important stuff lies way beneath the surface. For instance, can the individual that you are dating ever freely give a gift or do a favor for you without feeling resentful? Does this person ever say something like “I want today, or this weekend, to be about you” and back it up with something concrete like buying tickets to an event that you want to attend (that he or she would never purchase otherwise)? Can he or she surprise you with something special—just because—with no hidden agenda?
It’s about the two way street, baby. Give. Take. Take. Give. If the seesaw doesn’t alternate between up and down then no one is having a lot of fun in the dating playground. Smart daters have to learn to identify and vet those that just Take, Take, Take because these people may be fun for a little while, but they are not capable of sustaining a healthy relationship for the long haul. A long-term partnership or marriage is very challenging, even for the most loving individuals, because sometimes you have to put your own needs aside and be entirely selfless. Not all of the time, but some of the time. It’s a mission that is not for the faint of heart. In fact, probably half of the people getting married today don’t even have a clue that this is part of the commitment job description. No wonder so many of us are getting fired (divorced)!
As The DateMeister®, I tell people seeking success in love to try and identify (as early as possible in a relationship) those people who, somewhere along the line, got the dysfunctional message that Love is a zero sum game. These disordered individuals feel that if they give something of value to someone else, that there is less for them. One of the most important red flags indicating this is how they really feel about spending money on you and other important people in their lives. My most recent ex seemed to resent having to work although he owned his own business and called his own shots and made a nice living. He would get annoyed if there were any unexpected expenses having to do with seeing me or taking care of his daughter. Very directly I told him that girlfriends and daughters cost money and that that is part of life. I saw signs of this much earlier in the relationship and I never should have let it get to the point where I even had to hear him complain. But, unfortunately, many of us who want love very much make excuses for the people that we are dating like “She’s having a bad day” or “He lost a lot of money to his divorce”. If you want to find the real deal—the one with sticking power—you have to be willing to buy a one way ticket to the “No Excuse Zone” because, perhaps, the biggest red flags of all are the little voices inside our own heads saying: “It’s OK because. . .”.
About Your Author
Mary Reilly is a Purposepreneur and Dating Expert & Coach (The DateMeister (www.thedatemeister.com), @DateMeister). She hosts unique singles events and has partnered with Flavor Catering for food-centric events in NYC and on the Jersey Shore. She is currently co-authoring a book (with Martin Kelly, Ph.D.) entitled “Date Defensively: How To Know When To Get Off At The Next Exit” and is also a copy writer. She has a BA in English (cum laude) from William Smith College, and a MBA in Marketing & Finance from Columbia Business School. Mary would like to prevent other women and men from ignoring the red flags that their date may be personality disordered and ending up heartbroken, abused, in an unhappy marriage, or divorced.