Modern romance, adorable or deplorable? (Guest post #1)

The following post is written by my friend, Marvin Jones.  I will have him answer any questions/comments in regard to this post.  Please enjoy this first guest post!


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you might be considering whether you’ll spend next Friday with a group of friends or with the date of your choice. But after going out with random guys and girls that your friends recommended, it’s easy to get discouraged. These are a few issues observed with dating and relationships in 2014.

10. People settle for Mrs/Mr. Wrong

Every day, couples get together and meet someone who’s right for them, but at the same time, a guy or girl continues to be with someone who they may not be right for, barring each other from meeting a viable match. If it’s not working, it’s often better to take a step back and assess the relationship on a deeper level, rather than to shrug your shoulders and stay together. It’s easy to do what’s convenient and keep waddling along, but is this really someone who suits you well? You’re better off single than taken by someone who ultimately won’t work out. If your partner isn’t right for you, or if the relationship is damaged beyond repair, (especially if you are unmarried and don’t have kids or a house in common), it might be better to cut your losses. It’s not the settling that’s the problem; it’s the lack of personal responsibility to admit when done is done.

9. Guys don’t define the relationship

When does the relationship go from dating to officially exclusive? How important is it? Whose job is it to say? Guys: traditionally, it’s our job to define the relationship, and most of us avoid it like the plague. but in 2014, many relationships don’t take on the traditional form.  If you’re the one who has a problem with the status of the relationship, and you expect your partner to respect what you have together, maybe it’s up to you to say something about that. Often guys try to take the easy way out and do this through text; I think it’s a copout. If you’re legitimately interested in getting to know someone– take them somewhere they’ll appreciate and tell them tin person. Some of you say it’s not that serious, but if you saw your partner in someone elses, you’d be upset if you thought the relationship was more important . If she’s not important to you, that’s one thing. But if you care about her, then define the relationship, before she finds someone who will.

8. First introductions are shallow at best.

One or two dates with someone isnt enough time to decide whether you have values in common. Are you one of those who would think twice before dating someone with grungy clothes, a dirty car, or a three year old beard?  Let’s say you go on a double date with a friend of yours and two strangers. Everyone involved is usually half behaving as themselves, half being the person they think the person across the table is attracted to.  To take it a step further, let’s say they add you on Facebook, but you find too many issues that don’t jive on their profile. For some people this isnt’ a big deal, but it can be more of a problem for others. Do you interpret this as an actual perception of what this person is like? I doubt they are the douche you have fabricated them to be in your head. Let’s be honest – most of our profiles are one of two things: a place for us to brag about past accomplishments, or a stockpile of drunk college photos. Don’t write them off just because they support Sarah Palin. Don’t be too critical of someone’s first impression, or even their Facebook page for that matter. Heaven forbid anyone ever judged you based on yours. Give it more time to really get to know them before writing them off because they drive a Geo Metro.

7. The bar is too commonly the first place people go to mingle.

There are very few social settings that don’t involve alcohol. This can be good to an extent to ease the tension, but when three drinks turns to five and you can’t drive home, you may end up compromising your integrity because you couldn’t decide where to draw the line. Let’s be honest: you don’t want to be explaining to your children in 20 years that you met your spouse at Johnny’s Hideaway for late nite. It’s entertaining the first time you go, but why make it your regular spot? I don’t care who you are – the person you want to spend the rest of your life with is not a regular at the bar. You’re more likely to meet a match while doing something you’re legitimately interested in, instead of buying drinks you can’t afford, that don’t taste good, all for someone you don’t like.

6. Girls think they want good guys, but they don’t.

They actually want jerks – again, not true for all girls, but true for most. (Best explained by Dane Cook, here – Most girls get bored with good guys, and opposites attract. That’s why good girls get disrespectful guys, and nice guys get ruthless girls. The good girl was never looking for a nice guy. They just don’t want a repeat of what happened last time, and you remember what happened last time! This isn’t entirely bad. After you’ve worn your heart on your sleeve a few years and given that s.o.b. an opportunity to wreak havoc on your emotions, you’ll be stronger for it. For the person that ends up being taken advantage of or cheated on time after time, I have little sympathy. Stop dating people that don’t respect you.

5. Too many people are looking for Prince Charming (And not kissing frogs)

Some of your standards are too high. If you’re on a date with someone and they cut off another driver with you in the car on a first date, that’s all it takes to kick him to the curb. But in 5 years if your spouse did it, you would give the the side eye and forget about it. You would just accept the fact that they can’t drive. But the higher your standards are, the smaller the pool of people who fit in  your box. You want to meet someone, hang out with them a hand full of times and then spend our entire lives with them? And it has to be soon? And it has to be right? It can’t just be your friends sibling? It has to be a total stranger that you basically met by serendipity? It can’t be someone who is still working on a few problems of their own? They have to be well off? Your parents have to like them? They have to like you just as much at just the right moment and your relationship with them has to work out, and if it doesn’t work out, well then you just keep smiling and going on dates until you either meet someone who you think is that person, or start to think something is wrong with you? That is a complete fallacy. Or if it’s not a fallacy, we should at least take a minute to appreciate how damn near impossible, unlikely, and difficult that is. Society puts pressure on people in their mid-20s to meet someone, and these expectations are extremely unfair. After a while, worry begets worry. We build up walls, hardly spend time meeting others, and basically just try to be friendly toward everyone but keep ourselves guarded enough not to get hurt. How are you ever going to meet someone? If you exclude people without degrees, people working at Walmart, people who we’ve been friends with too long, people who are too arrogant, people who are out of shape, people who are habitual drug users, people who are aggressive, people who are rude, people who have no friends and don’t go out, and people who are too old, of those left over, the number of people left in that pool is tiny. You want to meet this person how soon? Who says so?  My point is: Let’s take a second and just appreciate the task we’ve put ourselves up to if that is our plan. That’s a tall cliff to climb, and the odds are against us.

4. Those who have been heartbroken a few times are jaded.

We fall in love, we fall further and further until finally we hit the ground. We don’t want to get up, because you can’t be knocked down if you never get up in the first place. They say the guy who’s quick to sweep you off your feet is in the best position to drop you on your ass. But this is true for guys and girls. They become callous, they’ve been hurt so deeply and so regularly, that they can’t put themselves in a position to move forward. Then sometimes, when they do, it’s just a rebound. But in order to build a strong foundation for a long term relationship, you have to be completely comfortable and confident with yourself. You can’t pull yourself up by pulling someone else to the ground.

3. Traditional chivalry is dead

The type of values that used to hold our grandparents together in matrimony are basically non-existent. This isn’t true for all of us; in fact, many  think they have this down. Few actually do, while most have become masters of deception. They can pretend long enough to attract a partner. You don’t actually have to be a gentlemen/ladylike, you just have to be able to fake it long enough to fool someone. But back to chivalry. Guys don’t open girls’ doors, girls don’t cook for their men, much less appreciate when a guy finally makes them dinner. When a guy does open the door for you, it’s usually to check out your ass, not necessarily out of sheer generosity. Values have changed. The things that used to make a relationship great seem to be an afterthought in 2014. For additional insight, read the John Picciutos article that recently went viral. He says it better than I can.

2. People haven’t spent enough time considering what they want

This is a big one. It’s like going to the grocery store for food, but you don’t know specifically what you want. You end up spending so much more time (trying to decide) and money than if you just thought about what values are important to you in a spouse before going to the store. And another thing – if you’re not sure whether you’re looking just to date around or for something more serious, then you’re not in a position to date actively. You can’t be surprised when they doesn’t return your call after last night. Don’t be surprised when you get home from the store with a bag of Oreos, some peeps to put in the microwave, and the new Campbell’s soup that your mother swore would be good for you. Forget about what your parents want to see, and think about what you want before you go shopping. And if you really want to find what you’re looking for, take it a step further than just thinking about what you want. Get specific and write it down. That way, next guy/girl you meet, you’ll know after a few dates whether they’re what you’re looking for.

1. Lack of trust and loyalty

Trust is loaded concept to grasp here, so we’ll focus just on trust with regard to cell phones, social media, emails, and dating websites. This pertains specifically to 2014 because there are more media outlets than ever. These outlets can be used to help your relationship succeed, but they also can be the root of turmoil. Some couples go back and forth from FB official to single a few times a month. This volatile nature is not the foundation for a healthy relationship. But back to trust. People don’t know what their significant other may be up to with regard to Facebook messages, Skype, Snapchat, Google plus, etc. All the other stuff is water under the bridge if you can’t trust the person you choose to be in a relationship with. The road to a rough relationship is paved with a lack of trust. If you feel compelled to go through your partner’s phone to see if they’re up to no good, you probably shouldn’t be with them.

All of these shortfalls may not be true for you. For each response above, there is an equally strong rebuttal for a limited number of people who (for example) have had success looking for prince charming. As an optimist, I hope you find what you’re looking for. I’m not writing this to be a Debby Downer. But by and large, we fall into these shortfalls too often. Your best bet is to identify the areas where you fall short, and work to improve those things.

It wouldn’t be fair to complain without offering some refuge for those looking for something different. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I’m not perfect, but it seems like you would be better off, instead of wondering what guy is worth your time while shooting them all down, to ask yourself this: What do you have to offer to the single people out there that you’re interested in? What makes you so great? Are you any different? Why should they date you? Because you’re the one who should care if you ever find a match. How many hours a week are you even putting yourself in a position where you are approachable by the people you’re attracted to? I’m not talking about at work, I’m talking about walking your dog I’m Piedmont Park, making it to kickball practice with one of your single friends, or going to that networking event. If you want to increase the number of people that ask you out, you have to increase the time you spend at a place where someone could approach you. No one ever met their future husband while bitching to the nail lady about how there are no good guys in the city.

Consider trying to find someone who challenges you to be a better person. The goal here is not to blame the opposite sex for your problems, but to have a better understanding of how to navigate your way through the losers to find what you want. Our culture has shifted. You should adjust accordingly. That being said, if you do want to blame the opposite sex, or have stories that others may benefit from, don’t be shy, leave them in the comments below.

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