Currently I am married to an amazing man and have started a family (baby GYM) with this aforementioned husband. Just a few years ago things were quite different and to me, the future looked very bleak. I was frantically dating, worried that if I didn’t find anyone that no one would want me after the age of 30.
Prior to the serial dating, I had bought a house with an ex who I was in a relationship with for 7+ years and thought we were going to check off the next steps (engagement, marriage, family etc.) when he said he didn’t want to be with me anymore and we broke up when I was 29. It was devastating and then I started frantically dating. I went on many dates (sometimes two dates on the same day) and ended up in two short relationships (that should have never even started) that confused me even more.
I thought: I am an ambitious, independent woman, I can achieve what I want in life if I put enough effort into it, but why can’t I control the relationship aspect of life?
I hit rock bottom (relationship wise that is) and I realized I needed to step back and figure out what I was looking for in a life partner, because I was mainly worried about whether they liked me and didn’t seem to know what I wanted.
I went to counselling, and it was a game changer. I spent over hundreds of dollars for counselling and it was worth every penny. There was happiness after my heartbreak.
Here is what I learned, and this might be helpful for you to understand before you sign up and pay for those online dating websites:
know what you want in your life partner
Similar to money values, you need to know what your core values are. We think chemistry = compatibility but I learned the hard way that it really isn’t. Chemistry may get you into a relationship but it doesn’t keep you in one.
After much thinking about my core values I wanted to look for someone who was:
- Trustworthy (Integrity)
- Not afraid of commitment
- Financially stable
- Funny (and able to laugh at themselves) and humble
- Kind and patient
- Values health
When you are with someone who doesn’t match your core values, you either try to change them (changing someone or nagging someone doesn’t work, it only makes them resentful at you) or you get confused. I was in a short relationship with someone who SAID he valued money and financial stability, but he was in consumer debt (which I found out after three months of being in a relationship). His actions did not meet his words and I got more and more confused about why he said he would pay off his debt in three months but after three months was over, he was still in the same amount of debt.
You can’t change anyone, you can only change yourself.
If you are able to find someone who you don’t want to change and doesn’t need to change you that would be the ideal situation.
remember, actions > words
In most (or all?) cases, actions speak louder than words. If the person you’re dating says “oh of course I want to see you again” but they don’t do anything about it or take any initiative to follow through with what they say, you don’t want to be with someone like that.
If they ‘ghost’ you don’t or if they don’t message or contact you for a while, take it as a sign that actions speak louder than words and they are not interested. Don’t message them and try to spark something when there is no spark.
Don’t waste your time and energy on someone like that. As someone who values integrity, I do what I say and expect my significant other to do the same.
At the same time, if someone is saying that aren’t interested in a relationship (in whatever subtle way they may say it), don’t make stuff up and tell yourself lies that they are interested in you. They are not.
think of dating as discovery, don’t make stuff up
Think of dating as a way to discover whether the other individual is compatible with you. Ask questions and find out if they match your values and beliefs. Of course it takes some time to figure out if what they say = what they value and what they do. But half the the anxiety that comes with dating is wondering whether they are interested in you. Don’t worry about whether or not they are interested in you but worry more about whether you are interested in them. Anxiety and desperation are not particularly attractive features.
openly say what you’re looking for
When you openly say what you are looking for- I was quite clear and said that I was looking for someone who wanted a long term relationship leading to marriage (I think I said this within the first few dates) and it doesn’t scare the other person off, then you probably have a keeper.
If you tell them what you want or what you are looking for and they are not interested in that they will let you know by not sticking around.
It might seem too brash to do, but the alternative is not openly saying what you want and then guessing and wasting your time.
Finally, the most important thing to keep in mind, as much as dating hurts, is that you don’t have to be afraid and upset of rejection. It only serves for you to find someone that is more compatible for you.
I didn’t think it would be possible for me, and I played the victim card a few years ago, but the universe does its way of revealing things to you, however convoluted and cryptic it might seem at the time.
Best of luck in your search, you may one day be looking at when the Child Tax Benefit dates are together in the near future, life works in mysterious ways!
Readers, are there any other tips that helped you find your life partner?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.