Ok, so, I told you the WTF? story to tell you this: dating down is a terrible thing.
Most of the time when I have dated down, I was hoping that I really wasn’t or I was lying to myself about who the person really was. I was highlighting the aspects of the person that I wanted and ignoring ALL of the things that I didn’t want. I realized that people are what they are, not what you want them to be.
How do you know you’re dating down? Here’s a list of some things that will help you answer that question:
1. Do your family/friends tell you that the person isn’t a good fit for you?
Let’s face it, sometimes family/friends are on target because they are experiencing the relationship through your experience. What you tell them is what they base their opinion on. They are the first people to notice change in your mood, attitude, or personality. They are mentioning things based on seeing this change. If before the relationship your lifelong interest was vacationing through the desert with your partner and now you are ok with a boardwalk stroll on the Jersey shore, your family/friends will be the first to remind you that somewhere along the line you are going to be very unhappy.
2. Are you telling them and yourself you’re not dating down/settling?
Most of us don’t like to admit that we are dating down. But, when we really look at what we wanted and what we’re getting, it might be that we are settling.
3. Are you settling because it’s: a) comfortable, b) companionship, or c) the dating scene in your city sucks?
Relationships are supposed to be challenging at times because it is a reflection of ourselves. Sometimes it’s the aspects of ourselves we don’t want to deal with, other times it’s the aspects that we admire about ourselves. We have to realize what we project into the relationship. We are supposed to be a better version of ourselves in our relationships and compliment each other’s goals. If that’s not happening, it might be settling for one or all of the reasons above.
4. Are you justifying the relationship to yourself by requiring just the basics (i.e., they won’t cheat, they don’t like to go out much, they need you to help them, etc)?
It’s amazing how many times I have heard s/he won’t cheat as the primary reason why they stay together. The reality about that is: it has to do with you. It’s either about your insecurity, past relationships, or trust. If cheating is at the top of your priority list, you will most likely will accept different things that are equally unsatisfactory.
5. Are you drinking/eating/recreational drugging more than usual?
This sounds like a no brainer. But, when you are coping with things you don’t want to deal with, you can turn to something to help you cope. You might not be aware that you are bingeing. If it’s excessive or other people are telling you you’re being excessive, it might be more than usual. 😉
6. Are you upset more than usual?
This sounds like a no brainer, too. But, sometimes frequent fighting about things that can not change is you fighting with yourself. Circumstances around the person can change, people take a longer time to change. People don’t change because you want them to; they change because they want to. Circumstances that you were aware of before getting into the relationship don’t change. If they were emotionally unavailable, they have to work through that before they become emotionally available. If they weren’t sure they could commit, you might not be the one to make them commit. Both situations require that the person be in a relationship to change that. You have to be comfortable with the idea that you are just the catalyst. Till you realize that, you are fighting with yourself because you are at a different place in your life than the other person. In essence, you are upset with yourself.
7. Are you replacing things on your list with the things the other person wants?
I’m not talking about compromising. I’m talking about defining what you want based on someone else to please them. Men usually commit when their career is in a comfortable and stable pattern. Women usually look for stability to begin thinking about marriage and having children. That’s two distinct features. Men’s concerns are their income ability, while women are concerned with children, income, and creating a home. Your desires, lifestyle requirements, and dreams are the things that you thought of as the right things to create the lifestyle you wanted as a result of 2 people.