Single Life Skills Your New Partner Expects You To Have
And no, it's not a fancy house, millions of dollars or the perfect dating resume.
When you get to be my age, mid-thirties, there is an expectation about your life held firmly by your peers.
Whether you know it or not, the people in your life expect you to:
- Behave a certain way
- To achieve certain things
- To follow a certain path
Some of these expectations come from society's beliefs about ageing. And some of these beliefs are because your loved ones know you well and expect you to act a certain way based on their experiences with you.
And then you bring dating into the mix, and the expectations go through the roof.
I'm not talking about when you're "meant" to get married or have kids. This is about the single expectations a new lover has for you. When it comes to dating in your thirties, you're expected to have certain life skills under your belt.
It's the reason people will use to justify not going on a second date with you.
It's the reason they don't think you're a right fit for them.
It's the reason why believe someone better is out there.
These are those expectations.
You know what you want in a partner
There is a wonderful naivety about our teenage years when we wistfully look into the sky and contemplate what we want. But as we grow up, this youthful approach isn't so accepted by people who have it figured out.
It's a hard pill to swallow, but so many people out there will expect you to know what you want in a partner. The reason? Because they do.
I don't agree that we should pass this expectation on to anyone. But they do have a point about knowing what you want.
Having figured out what you want in a partner shows:
- You have the ability to analyse situations - You have analysed your love life and come to rational and logical conclusions based on your experiences.
- You have emotional intelligence - Coming to this conclusion requires access to emotional parts of your brain. Not only have you accessed it but you've explored the depths of what this means to you
- You are a decision-maker - You can make logical decisions about your life and stick to them.
- You don't waste people's time - For some (I stress the word, some) singles, time is important. If they want children, for example, the clock is ticking on their window to conceive. By you showing what you want, it shows you respect other people's dating values and can understand when the two don't align.
If you can do this with your partner, and know what you want, it's reasonable to assume you have the same approach to other parts of your life. Others can view this decisiveness as attractive and reliable, all at the same time.
You are self-aware of yourself and your situation
What isn't attractive in our thirties are people who are rude, selfish and don't even know it. This arrogance about our situation, that we don't even care to reflect on how we behave in our life, will put off anyone wanting to date us.
It's something that at a young age we could get away with because most people were the same way. We were all learning.
And learning together can be fun and liberating, whilst bringing people together.
But at this stage of our life, we hope to see people becoming role models for the younger generation, not a cautionary tale of what not to turn into.
If we see this from a dating perspective when you demonstrate self-awareness, you can:
- Be a partner who thinks of the other person - You can consider the other person's feelings and appreciate when you've hurt them in any way.
- Be a partner who wants to work on themselves - We know by this stage of our life when we don't get it right. But knowing you're willing to improve is enough to excuse the times we get it wrong.
- Be a partner who will make an effort - If you don't know how rude you are to people, how will you go meeting the parents? Or the friends? Without this self-awareness, you're a liability to the people your partner cares about the most.
You can look after yourself
Some people are natural caretakers and hunt for a partner they can nurture. But as we become more progressive and modern daters, this desire becomes less in society.
Instead, we have an increased want for people who can look after themselves. And not solely rely on the help of others.
So what does this mean in practicality? To look after yourself means:
- You can pay your own bills - Which also means you understand the basics of money management, why it's important to work and the value of money.
- You can cook and clean - They are the basics of being an adult. You can put food in your stomach and you can wash up when you're done.
- You can get yourself from A to B - Sometimes we take for granted that we can get ourselves from one destination to another. But again, another life skill we expect as a basic of adulting. We don't want to see others reliant on other people to transport us like we're a child.
- You know when to seek help - When you need a doctor; you go to one. When you need help with heavy lifting, you ask someone. You've developed the maturity to realise you can't go through your entire life without assistance.
What can be a deal-breaker for many is that you need someone to care for you. Many don't want to become a parental figure in someone's life for the things they're capable of doing themselves.
They want a companion.
*By the way, this has nothing to do with people who physically or financially need care because of disability or other such issues. That's not what we're talking about here.
You can effectively communicate with people
When we're young, we can get away with being horrible communicators. We're almost forgiven for being misleading in our language. Or forgetting to reply to someone's text message.
But as we get older, we see it as a basic of life. If you can't communicate effectively, how do you survive?
This is how this idea translates into dating expectations:
- You say what you mean - You aren't cryptic or intentionally deceptive through your communication.
- You can have a conversation about the tough stuff in life - If needed, you're willing to engage in emotionally challenging conversations. Though you don't always volunteer a deep and meaningful, you can have one when the time demands it.
- You understand challenging communication repercussions - You know how hard it is to sustain a relationship with someone who doesn't engage in effective communication. You understand how vital it is for meaningful relationships to grow and survive.
- You understand people don't communicate the same way as you - Though you might be an open book, and say what's on your mind, you know others aren't like you. And more importantly, you respect the way other people choose to communicate. You don't try to change them.
I'm not saying you're failing as a person if you don't have these life skills, whether you're married or single. And I definitely don't agree with every expectation, as you may have seen throughout the article.
But as humans, we love to set expectations for other people. We make them like assumptions, without telling people we're doing it. It's what we do.
For those out there looking for love, or seeing what's out there in the dating world, these expectations suck.
They make the process harder than it needs to be, and they make you question everything about who you are. It's like you aren't good enough, which is so far from reality.
Here's what I know; you can't control other people's expectations of you. But you can control how you respond to them, and whether you pass on the expectations to other people.
You have the choice to stop or spread the cycle.