I learned early in life that I am truly a romantic at heart. I am intrinsically built to be in a committed relationship with one other person and my approach to love and dating is oriented in that direction.
I also know what kind of partner I want. I want (and have) someone who:
Challenges me. Calls me on my bullshit (the things I do that mess up my own life, we’ll talk about this again). Loves me before, during, and after major changes in work, life, and even personality and values. Someone I don’t grow tired of. Someone who thinks of me randomly, and does the small things to show thoughtfulness and care. I wanted (and now have) someone to put me first.
Knowing all of that, made me awful at dating. Every girl I dated either couldn’t be that for me, or I wasn’t giving them what they needed.
So, I stopped looking for someone to be that for me.
I started just treating women well. I stopped playing the dating game. If I liked someone, I told them early that they were great and I wanted to get to know them better. Two girls in particular just sort of declined, for lack of a better term. One reciprocated that sentiment.
Then after we flirted and she made me spaghetti and we took photos and just had fun together, we started dating. But this time I approached the dating part differently too.
What if I took all of those things I want in a relationship, and put it aside? What if instead, I committed to being all of those qualities, not just looking for them from someone else? Well, we’ve been together over 3 years now. She’s reciprocated everything I’ve given, and she’s given me more.
Relationships that are built on giving without expectation, and reciprocating behaviors that you like, tend to be meaningful, beautiful, and they tend to last.