Rule #8: Don’t date someone you need to change
This should be a pretty easy one that I shouldn’t need to talk about or tell you about. However, I am oh so guilty of it myself, and my forced sobriety has shed much perspective on the subject, so I thought I’d share my insight.
I’m openly against smoking marijuana and cigarettes. However, in my past I’ve dated a pothead and a guy who dips tobacco, mixed in with the “social smoker” and the cigar aficionado. And in almost every case, I knew about their habits when I began dating them. And then I continued to date them, choosing to nag instead of leave. Apparently I’m pretty convincing because in most cases, nagging worked. It does work women of the world, but not without a price, and that price is resentment. As in the man ended up resenting me for “controlling” his life and instead of quitting, decides to do it behind my back. This is the consequence of resentment, and it is something I have learned and know now.
After watching my Mom get diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and being given a 5% chance of living, I now have a steadfast, unbreakable rule that may as well be written out in blood: I WILL NEVER DATE A SMOKER, OR DRUG USER, OF ANY KIND. This includes social smoking and cigar smoking. At least cigar smoking in front of me. My most recent ex asked me if he could smoke a cigar while my mom was going through chemotherapy. Talk about a jackass move. I don’t care if it’s illogical, or in California, improbable. It’s my rule, and I will never date someone again who smokes, because I will inevitably nag them to quit because I hate it, and they will inevitably come to resent me for it… and it never ends well. People constantly ask me why I hate weed and won’t date or be around smokers, and I always tell them that I don’t need a logical reason, or any reason at all. It’s how I feel and I know my own limits, which I wish people knew more of in dating.For me, it’s a complete and utter deal breaker. If I had this rule back when I was 19 it would have saved me A LOT of heartache and even more fighting. But alas, I learned it at 26: Don’t date someone who you need to change.
When I picture my life with my fiance or husband or serious boyfriend, I can tell you one thing: It doesn’t involve a lot of alcohol. Contrary to what you can see in my facebook pictures, I prefer to be boring over crazy. Domesticated over alcoholic. When I say “settle down” with someone, I mean it literally: SETTLE DOWN. As in whoa boy, pull in the reins. This is the lesson that I have reflected upon more clearly as of late. I think about my last 2 relationships and the last 2 years and literally every guy I dated and those 2 relationships were completely and totally revolved around alcohol. It was like I was in an open relationship, it was me, him, and the booze. When I was single, I was in party mode, 24/7. And the guys I met probably, and logically, assumed that was “me”, that was who I am: party girl Lizzy, the crazy, spontaneous one. And I’ve sure had my moments… like going to Mexico after knowing a guy for only 2 weeks with no passport for 4 days. And those were the best 4 days spent with a guy. Full of romance, and spontaneity. We danced in the middle of the street, slow danced outside of a restaurant, frolicked on the beach, and stayed up all night talking and asking each other questions. And dating was full of even more spontaneity: more random dancing, streaking, taking risks and experiencing new things all around. But that’s never what I wanted for my life, for the long-run. Like I said, settling down with someone means settling down. As the relationship progressed, what I truly wanted came out, and that was a nice home life, watching movies, cooking dinner together, sprinkled with spontaneity, not all that craziness as the main course.
But what I’ve learned over these past few months is this, I can’t date a wild and crazy guy and then expect him to want to settle down as soon as were in a relationship. Don’t date someone you need to change. The fact is, if you’re dating a partier, it is highly unlikely that is going to change just because he now calls you his girlfriend. He is still going to want to have crazy ass guys nights where he doesn’t remember how he got home. He is still going to expect you to dance on the sidewalk just because. He will be puzzled when you’re upset that he wants to get drunk on a Tuesday night. This happened with my ex-fiance too. When we were dating, things were crazy fun, the same story. As soon as we got engaged, I fully expected to settle down, turn into my parents: boring but happy home life. He didn’t. We fought a lot over this before it ended. Looking back I realize now it wasn’t all his fault (it never is), a huge part of it was my unspoken, unrealized expectation that he didn’t share in. Why? Because you don’t date someone you need to change.
I say to you men who want to settle down with a woman but can’t find themselves meeting one worth settling down with is this: Be the man you want to be after you have the girl. But be him now. Because personally, that is what I am looking for from now on. You have to take a good hard look at your wants and needs from a partner, and where you see yourself, where you really see yourself. And then you have to meet those wants and needs to the man. Not mold any man to your wants and needs, that is what has been my problem. Now I have a new set of standards, starting with no smoking, but going further than that. If a man’s life is revolving around drinking and bars and hangovers, then he isn’t the right guy for me, and I will not date you. No matter how much I think I like you, or how hot you may be, or how lonely I am. And here is the real kicker: Words don’t mean shit. Don’t listen to a guy that says “this isn’t me” or “I only party when I’m single” or whatever excuse he comes up with. The truth is, men will say anything to get a woman into bed. Or even if they believe, truly believe, that the image isn’t the real them, just remember: actions speak louder than words. If he is partying every night, it is him. No matter how much he tries to deny it or say he’s ready to settle down. The only guy who is ready to settle down is the one that IS settled down.
The same logic applies to all aspects of a guy you want to date. If he says he wants to go to school, that is a lot different from a guy who is actually going to school. Don’t date a guy you need to change. If you want a guy who is motivated and will bring success to himself, you have to find a guy who is motivated and bringing success to himself, or at least trying. NOT one who is talking about it. If you want to date a man who doesn’t mind kids, then find a guy who is comfortable around kids, not one who says he is okay with children, but then freaks out when 6 of them are running crazy during a party or who refuses to go with you to a birthday party. It’s a tough conversation to have, but if you’re sleeping with someone, you need to know how they feel about children, because there is always a chance of getting pregnant. Trust me. When I first brought up getting pregnant by accident to my baby’s father, he flipped. Literally flipped out. Lo and behold, several weeks later, I was actually accidentally pregnant. Whoops. And you all know what happened there: he flipped. If you want a guy who wants to be a father, then you need to date a guy who is okay with having kids NOW. Not one who talks about it as some vague alien universe that may or may not exist in the future. The truth is, if he can’t talk about it now, he isn’t even close to being ready. And if you are, well, don’t date someone you need to change.
And by the way, the logic that if a guy can’t talk about something calmly and rationally right now means he isn’t ready for it totally stands true. If you’re at a point in your life where certain things are really important to you, and the man you’re dating can’t talk about those things, then it’s not going to work. Don’t date someone you need to change.
Date someone who already is ______. Whatever wants and needs and must-haves are on your list.