Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Does Longevity in the Past = Mature Dater Today?



This post and the discussion that follows about signs someone might be a good bet for being in a committed relationship is worth a read. Both for the positive points it makes, such as suggesting asking yourself if someone seems emotionally mature or not, and also the ones I believe aren't effective. Let's take a closer look at two points that appear to be good signs on the surface, but actually aren't in and of themselves.

1. Holding the same job for several years.

On the one hand, it demonstrates that someone is responsible enough to show up to work, get something done, and keep in the good graces of their boss(es). At the same time, it can also be a demonstration that someone has zero interest in growing as a person, doesn't have a terribly diverse set of skills or interests, or is more invested in being comfortable than in challenging themselves.

To be honest, I personally don't put a lot of stock in someone's job history when it comes to dating. I, myself, have been everything from the guy in the same job for several years to unemployed for periods of time. My ability to commit or not commit to someone really hasn't changed with my job status. It's always been related to other factors, such as the level to which I was or wasn't over relationships from the past.

2. Having long term friendships is a positive sign.

Honestly, this one feels the same as the last. Some people simply maintain the same old friendships from their younger days, not because those friendships are mutually enriching, but because they are comfortable and provide a buffer from loneliness, among other things. In addition, there are those who have long term friendships that are primarily focused either around things like shared substance abuse, or are connections with single dimensions (such as guys who love the same sports teams, but really have nothing else in common.)

Overall, it's more important to get a sense of the quality behind any longevity in someone's personal history, instead of taking it as an immediate sign that someone has their shit together. In this age of consumer driven dating, it's really easy to get suckered by what turn out to be superficial criteria. Instead of ticking things off your list, go deeper and see beyond the flash to the substance (or lack of substance) within.

2 comments:

  1. Those are very good points. I get tired of the assumption that having a job automatically proves someone is better at commitment. For one thing, a charismatic person (or psychopath who's good at mimicking charisma) can often get away with not being very committed or focussed on the job just because people like them so much and believe (against the objective facts) that they are a good employee.

    As for emotional maturity - I'm satisfied that I've got enough of it to realise that really, I'm a complete shambles at emotions! I've worked hard at being more aware of these things so I know what my neuroses and tendencies are, and to be cautious around them, and I think that is probably more important than being "stable" or "together" as such, because everyone has things that can trip them up. Knowing they are there and where they are makes it easier to avoid a bad tumble.

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  2. Awareness of how you are is a sign of maturity in my book. Of course, all of us probably have areas in need of improvement, but I find that those who aren't even aware of their weak spots tend to be really difficult to be in relationship with.

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