Even if you think she might be “the one,” how do you know if she’s committed to you?
There’s a guy that I know who, in many ways, is quite the catch. He’s attractive. He’s ambitious. He’s funny and smart and has a spiritual core. And yes, he’s single. The never-been-married-before kind of single. He’s also just a few years shy of 40.
Over the season of time that I’ve known him, he’s had more than a fair share of women who have wanted to not only date him, but eventually become his wife. I happen to know several of the women personally and you know what? For the most part, they have the same attributes: attractive, ambitious, funny, smart with a spiritual core. However, the (main) difference between them and him is most of them are married now. Him? Yeah, he’s still checking the single box on this tax forms.
That wouldn’t be so much of an issue if he wasn’t always talking to me about how he wants to get married someday, but he has a hard time finding the right one. I could write a series of novellas on what could be the underlying causes of all of that. For now, let’s just go with something that he says is a challenge: It’s hard for him to know if women are trying to start or seeking to remain in a relationship with him for the right reasons. Or not.
If you’re a fella who struggles with “going to the next level” (and for some of you, that’s probably going beyond the third date) because you can’t get a good read on a woman’s intentions, listen: As someone who has had pure intentions and honestly some pretty cryptic ones in my dating past and also as a woman who is a marriage life coach and listens to many husbands question if their wives married them for the right reasons, here are five conclusions that I’ve personally come to that may quiet your inner anxieties.
She has clear motives from the start.
I know that a lot of people want to date in an organic way. Meaning, they don’t want their first date to be an unofficial interview. But let’s be real: That’s exactly what it is. You may not be wondering if the person could be your spouse, but you probably are wondering if, at the very least, you can see yourself spending another two-hour block of time with them.
Being that none of us are getting any younger, it’s a good idea to know someone’s motives from the start. You can find this out by asking things like “What are your passions?” or “What are your closest friends like?” and “Do you tend to really like the dating scene or avoid it?” And what are those questions going to reveal? Well for one thing, it tells a lot about a person’s personality and character. Also, those types of questions tend to lead into other types of questions. For instance, finding out how someone feels about dating tends to tell a lot about how they see relationships overall. So, if she says something like “Yeah, I tend to date a lot. I’m not great at relationships,” she may be the kind of woman who prefers to date around, keep things casual and not get super deep when it comes to relationships. Don’t get mad at her three months later if this proves to be true. She told you on the very first date.
She’s your “friend” as much as she’s your “girl.”
If you’re past the first several dates, random texts, and awkward phone calls, and you’re actually at the point where you see “her” as your girlfriend, then I’ll give you the advice that I give brides-to-be as they’re selecting their bridesmaids: “The operative word is not the first part but the second part.” There’s nothing worse than a diva bridesmaid who acts like she’s the bride rather than someone who is there to serve the bride (a “maid”).
For you, don’t focus so much on someone being “your girl”. Focus more on her being your friend. A friend is someone you feel comfortable being around. A friend is someone you can tell just about anything to. A friend is someone who laughs and cries with you. A friend is someone you can trust. A friend is dependable and reliable and supportive. In good times and in bad. There are a lot of people who, unfortunately, will stand before a judge this year to get a divorce all because they didn’t marry someone who was truly their friend.
She’s a cheerleader in your life.
There’s a Christian-based book that I dig and recommend, even to people who aren’t Christians. It’s by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, and it’s called Love & Respect. The subtitle is The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs. It’s pulled from a Scripture in the Bible about women needing to be loved and men needing to be respected. Look, you can have your own theological differences about that resolve. All good. I’ll say this, though. I’ve talked to a ton (and I mean, a ton) of men who have said “How is it that I can get so much respect at work, but I can’t be appreciated at home?” When a woman is in a relationship with you for the right reasons, a part of what you’re going to see is someone who helps you to feel better about yourself and your potential. She’s a real-deal cheerleader in your life. She wants you to reach goals. She wants you to take risks. She wants you to find your best self. And she’s willing to make certain sacrifices in order for that to happen. She’ll get why you can’t be on the phone all night when you have a big test or job interview the next day. She’ll understand why you can’t go out until the next payday because money’s tight because you’ve just decided to try an investment. And therein lies examples of what it feels like to be respected as an individual.
Something that far too many folks miss about healthy relationships is that they are to be partnerships. And good partners want each other to win—at life. They will respect what needs to be done in order for that to happen.
She has a life of her own.
Yeah, that’s brings me to the next point. A woman who has a life of her own is going to be way too busy to be trying to be all up in yours; especially the parts that you didn’t invite her into. What I mean by that is this: Personally, I’m baffled by how comfortable some women are with literally trying to hack into their boyfriends or husband’s phone, email and social media accounts. First of all, grandma used to say, “If you go looking for something, you just might find it.” There’s probably some truth to that (grandmas tend to speak a lot of wisdom from personal experience, no less). However, my bigger point is how—or maybe the better question is why—does a woman have that much time to play stalker, I mean, private investigator?
A woman who is in a relationship for the right reasons is not looking to make you her entire life nor is she trying to overwhelm yours. She’s desirous of you complementing the one that she already has. She’s got plans. She’s got goals. She’s got ideas about what she wants her life to look like—with and without you (or any man) in it. When you’re with that kind of woman, the woman who says “Baby, can we do next weekend instead? I’m training for the marathon” or “working on my book” or “going to treat myself at the spa,” that’s the kind of woman who has a life. You’re simply a part of it. And what an honor that is. To know someone like that.
She defines riches and wealth — differently.
When Kanye West’s song “Gold Digger” came out (wow) a decade ago, personally, I believe it was a chart-topper because a lot of men could relate. I come from an entertainment industry family and it really is amazing to watch some people get caught up in, what Jamie Foxx calls, “the mist”. Basically, that’s someone who sees you one way when you’re broke or not well-known, and a totally different way once you’ve got some money in the bank or folks want your autograph.
Whether fame is your ambition or not, success has its own spotlight. A woman who is with you for the right reasons looks at tangible things as bonuses. The happiness and satisfaction that she’s after comes from simply being with you. My advice: Pack up a sack lunch, call your girl and recommend taking the bus to a local park. If her reaction is “What? I thought we were going on a real date!” vs. “That would be so cool. What time?” it can reveal a lot. A woman who is rich in love for herself has a wealth of it to share with others. She doesn’t use “stuff” to define love. She uses love to define love. And that one right there, she’s a keeper. KEEP. HER.
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Photo: Flickr/ miss_pupik