In my first blog post, I disclosed a dirty little secret*: I didn’t even really like my boyfriend that much when we started dating.
*I use this expression merely for the writing’s sake. The “secret” that I disclosed was actually neither dirty nor a secret seeing as it was a PG rated comment at worst + also that I’ve told everybody + their mother about this phenomenon
In response, I received a series of questions (reminder, feel free to reach out if there’s something or someone you want to see highlighted on the blog!) that I would like to address today:
If you didn’t know if you liked your boyfriend when you started dating, what made you do it anyway? And what do you recommend people look for if they can’t definitively say that they like someone at the start?
Good questions. I feel qualified to answer the first one as it’s a personal matter + I’ll try my best to answer the second, though it should be noted that I’m definitely not the sole authority on this topic. King’s tries to instill in us this really neat skill called discretion which I think is important + applicable to topics discussed on this blog. In matters like this, one person’s experience may not align with anyone else’s + that’s okay! Please don’t just start dating someone that you don’t like because they check all the boxes I may talk about here.
My hope with discussing these questions is to inform you of one person’s experience that may be different from what (in my opinion) King’s + Christian dating culture at large may have us believe is the norm. So…
Here are my answers:
What made you do it anyway?
Honestly? It was a happy accident. We kind of just… started dating (we weren’t very clear with each other about what was happening + I wouldn’t suggest that for anyone else), so by the time I really processed what was happening, it was already happening.
It wasn’t some special sign I received or any particular quality that Harrison possessed. Like anyone else, there were things about him I liked + things I wasn’t crazy about. We were just two people who were good friends + were, on some level, mutually attracted to each other + that was enough. I would like to clarify, I did have feelings for him, I just wasn’t fully convinced (which is what I thought would happen if I were to ever date someone, I would just know completely).
But perhaps this is partially on me for having an unrealistic idea of dating. What I realize now is that dating doesn’t need to entail knowing anything. That’s the point of dating. So why did I do it despite not knowing? Because why not? And, honestly, I don’t think there is any way to tell if you want to date someone before you actually date them. Perhaps if I hadn’t been bamboozled into this relationship, I would still be waiting for some grand sign, a sign – I’m now sure, given my personal temperament – I would never receive because, the truth is, you can’t know if a person is compatible without actually just trying it out. It’s like looking at a cup + trying to just know through mental power alone if it has a crack in it. It’s ridiculous. The best way to find out is to pour some water into it + test it out.
What do you recommend people look for?
That’s a big question that I think will vary person-by-person. My first thought is that you obviously don’t want to be dating someone that you don’t like as a person. But assuming we’ve gotten that out of the way + are trying to decide on someone that we do like as a person, here’s a couple of the things that I value.
Someone who is not merely a partner but also a friend
I’m a firm believer in the superiority of the friends-to-lovers trope. Dating (+ – so I’ve heard – marriage also) is actually made up of a lot of platonic* moments; a lot of your time together is just spent sitting in the same room as them (no smoochin’ allowed). So you better be able to enjoy your partner’s company as a fellow human + friend.
*On a scale of 1 to 10, how upset do you think Plato is about this word being derived from him?
Someone who makes you want to be the best version of yourself
This is something I only noticed in hindsight, but after I started dating, I began to really work on my physical, emotional, + especially spiritual health. It wasn’t that I wanted to look my best for my partner, it was almost as if he inspired me to want to give myself the best. It’s a little bit abstract, but I would highly encourage you to look for someone who makes you want to be better + not just for them, but for yourself.
Someone with humor
When I asked for my grandma’s best relationship advice, she said that humor was vital to her + my grandpa’s marriage. I can now also attest to the truth of this! Humor has buoyed us through disheartening or awkward as well as good times. Plus life is just more fun when you laugh!
Someone of good moral character + who isn’t afraid to tell you “no”
Like anything else in life, dating is rough sometimes. So you want to date someone who can support you when you’re weak just as you support them when they’re weak. It’s going to be a hard relationship if you’re the one that’s always having to say “no,” or having to constantly support the other. You should be able to have the confidence that when you have a bad day or want to make a bad decision (because this will happen), your partner can be relied upon to help carry some of your load or pull you back up to a higher standard.
Someone who is kind
It’s that simple. Are they kind to other people? Do they go out of their way to love others? We all know the power of a kind person.
Those are my thoughts for today, thank you so much to Ellis for your sweet questions + interest in this blog (even though you don’t even go to King’s!). As always, feel free to let me know what you think! Check us out on Instagram +, please, let us know if there’s anyone or anything you want to see on the blog.