Have you ever noticed how some people will spend days, or even weeks, researching a new car or a kitchen appliance? It seems like a curious investment of time, considering the ten-to fifteen-year life span of the purchase. Or consider the process of preparing to interview for a new job-many people will intensely research the company or organization so that they can determine if their own personal philosophy and needs match that of the company. Yet, too often, these same well-educated, well-researched people jump into personal relationships without much thought about tomorrow, despite the fact that they want a life-long partner. That would be an effective strategy-if we died at the age of thirty!
We still fall for potential mates’ lines. It’s kind of like the people in the olden’ days, falling for the cons of the huckster who rode into town, selling snake oil. They believed that concoction would cure everything from skin rashes to hormone problems! Are we gullible or just confused? Or, do we just idealize relationships because we want so badly to be with someone to cover up loneliness, boredom, or a need to be taken care of? Do we lie to ourselves about why we want a particular person in our life? I would guess that each of us has our own agenda, either conscious or unconscious, as to why we jump into relationships so quickly.
In my Avoiding Dating Dementia class, students spend time identifying their values, beliefs, interests, goals, needs, and energies. You may ask, “Why bother with all this time and work?” It is my opinion that the first step toward a successful future with anyone is for an individual to know their own self. If you don’t know yourself, how will you sell yourself to someone else? If you don’t know yourself, how will you know if the two of you are a good match? It is possible that by putting a little more effort into identifying what it is you want or need in a relationship, you could have a relationship that needs less repair… like the Maytag repairman falling asleep, waiting for the machine to break down. The more work you put into choosing a partner, the fewer repairs you will have to make down the road, and the less time you’ll have to spend complaining about the lemon you got.