Dating Down

Many twentysomethings do not take dating seriously. Dating is thought to be a time to have fun now and worry about marriage later. All the first dates and not serious relationships are practice for when you want to get serious. 

If dating in our twenties is just practice, why are we practicing bad habits that could stick?

You can be a very successful twentysomething, but still have a bad love life. You can have a career, control over your finances and a fancy apartment, but at the same time uphold a condensing life of self judgement and settling. A life that consists of a respected nine to five day job, but a booty call at night. Or an uneven relationship with a live-in partner who has no job and doesn’t pull his or her weight. Relationships can be hard work, but there is a certain level of respect and equality that should be met for both parties.

At any age anyone can fall into dating down. It can stem from what Dr. Meg Jay calls your “untold story” or settling. An untold story is like a story line in your head created from past conversations and experiences about yourself. It may depict how you view your love life and how you play a role in the dating field. Here is what Dr. Meg Jay has to say about untold stories…

“The power of these untold personal stories is that… they can loop silently in our minds without anyone, sometimes even ourselves, knowing about them. The stories are found hiding… in the gaps between what we plan to do and what we actually do, or between what happens and what we tell people about what happens.” ~The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay (p. 108)

These untold stories need to be told and edited. Stories that aren’t shared are of shame and can eat away at you left unspoken. Let your untold stories out and create a new story. Let the past out and replace those stories with the new edited you. New stories of all your accomplishments and best qualities. Share stories that you are proud of, then you will see yourself becoming more proud of yourself. Editing your story will allow you to have the strength to recognize when you are settling and how to never settle again.

Once you treat yourself with respect, others will too. 

Think about what you want and need in a partner. Take the dates you do choose seriously. Find out what traits you like and dislike. Find out what qualities you want or need in a relationship. To create good dating habits we need to switch from being wanted to wanting. Take charge of your love life! Choose your partner, don’t like your partner choose you.

You’re next boyfriend or girlfriend could be your last.

*This post, quotes and this post series come from inspirations and lessons found in The Defining Decade and should be accredited to Dr. Meg Jay.*

 

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From Work to Love

We’ve talked a lot about the work lessons from The Defining Decade, but is that all? Is work all we need to concentrate on in our twenties?

“[Society] is structured to distract people from the decisions that have a huge impact on happiness in order to focus attention on decisions that have a marginal impact on happiness. The most important decision any of us make is who we marry. Yet there are no courses on how to choose a spouse.” ~David Brooks, political and cultural commentator

I’d like to know why there are no classes. That seems like a pretty good idea to me.

I love how Dr. Meg Jay opens her section on love with this quote. It really opens your mind to the subject.

Why isn’t marriage a subject talked about? And when it is, why is it frowned upon? We talk about wants in our career and plan for our careers, why aren’t we doing the same for marriage? Is it one of the most important, if not the most important decision of our life.

“With one decision you choose your partner in all adult things. Money, work, lifestyle, family, health, leisure, retirement, and even death become a three-legged race.”

Wow, that’s eye opening and intimidating. Once you say, “I do” you are tied to this person. There’s no wonder why people have so many doubts as they head towards the aisle.

The worst part is if you chose wrongly, you can’t get rid of that person.You can’t give your two weeks and walk away hands free. Sure you can get a divorce, but in some way you are still bound to that person, most likely financially. Then if you have children together, think about the hassle you will have to go through to schedule “drop offs” after the hassle of filing a divorce in the first place. Then of course there’s the most important part, how it will affect your poor children.

Now enough with the melodrama let’s get down to the facts and see what we can do to choose correctly.

“Today’s twentysomething spend more time single than any generation in history… Currently, the average age for first marriage is twenty-six for women and twenty-eight for men, with more than half adults marrying over the age of twenty-five.”

Well that doesn’t sound too bad. Twentysomethings are taking their time picking their spouse. There’s bound to be fewer mistakes made, thus less failed marriages.

WRONG!

“…the divorce rate holds steady at 40 percent.”

The divorce rate has not changed because we’re taking our time. We can’t avoid divorce by delaying marriage.

Dr. Jay shares how her first psychotherapy client was a twenty-six year old  female who was dating down, named Alex. Dr. Jay was also in her twenties at the time ans saw no problem with this. When her supervisor encouraged Dr. Jay to work on this problem with Alex the classic “It’s not like she’s marrying the guy” response came out of her mouth. Her supervisor responded with…

“Not yet. But she might marry the next one. Regardless, the best time to work on Alex’s marriage is before she has one.”

I urge you to start thinking about your marriage before you have one. I will be covering Dr. Jay’s lessons on how to pick your family, living together, dating down and what “being in like” should really mean. I hope you follow these posts and take a serious look at your present and future.

Do you want to grow together with your spouse during your twenties or worry about marriage after the “age thirty deadline”?