“He has potential. But I can fix him?”
I’m almost certain most women are guilty of having dated at least one man based solely off of the potential he possessed. We don’t date him based off of his credentials, nor do we date him based on what he can bring to the table. Instead, we choose to date him because we have created in our own minds an idea of the type of person they can become. We are hopeful that they are building themselves, slowly but surely, into something or someone close to a worthy partner for the future.
It sounds noble, but really, it’s going to require more effort from you than him. Patience, money, time — you name it.
Not sure where we got this idea of seeing the potential in someone, therefore we should see a possible relationship through, or even choose to further date them for that matter, but considering it hasn’t worked out very well for most of us, we should stop. It’s time to bail on the idea of putting all of our hopes into what we believe someone will eventually change into in the future. Men aren’t butterflies or flowers who you sit back and wait for to develop. You can “water” and encourage them, but growth is something that should be happening long before you enter the picture.
Yes, it’s great to see the good in someone, and it’s even better to see the potential in all they can become, but do not go from seeing to feeling obligated to be with them. You can support them without entering into any sort of romantic situation with them. Truth be told, seeing the potential in someone simply means you have high hopes for what they can become if they put their mind to it and go after the right opportunities. However, there’s no guarantee that your wishes and expectations for them will actually come to fruition.
When you date the potential in someone, you are dating an imaginary person that has not yet caught up to the individual you have envisioned them to be. And you hurt your own feelings when you watch the time go by and the goals for this person fail be met. That’s why, when dating, we should be focused on our everyday reality. Focus on the way this person treats you, focus on their current status in life, and date them according to the present. While people love to tell you there is honor in “building with” a man, there is also honor in stepping back and letting him build for himself. And in all honesty, someone with a great deal of potential and not a lot to show for it in the meantime probably doesn’t need to be in a relationship with anybody at the moment.
While it’s human nature to automatically think ahead and envision our potential future with someone based on the things here and there that we like about them or see in them, we are doing ourselves a disservice by trying to play off the obvious red flags, creating falsehoods that may eventually lead to unnecessary disappointment.
While potential is great, potential promises nothing, including actual follow-through. And we can’t live our (love) lives off of the imaginary thinking of what would, could, and should be.