I recently read the article, “Why You Should Date The Kind Of Woman Who Makes You A Better Man,” and frankly, it was kinda awful.
Full of such nuggets as:
“Date a woman who isn’t afraid to show you who she is. This woman will be easy to wake up next to and make you feel comfortable.”
“A woman who travels will have an open mind and isn’t afraid to experience new things. This sense of adventure will translate into your relationship.”
And this gem:
“Date a woman who makes you laugh out loud. Maybe it’s her corny jokes or that she’s not afraid to call you out on your corny jokes, but you can always count on her to lighten the mood.”
I nearly lost my cereal at this point. Really? I mean, really?!
Sure, it was aimed at 20 somethings, who may not be swimming the Mariana Trench relationship-wise, but even so, I admit to being icked out by the vacuous and misogynistic advice!
…Would you like me to bring your gin and tonic with that lighten mood as I fix your dinner honey?
But, having been someone who was radically changed (for the better) by an incredible relationship, I think that dating someone special can definitely raise us higher. So that being said, here is my take on dating a person who may help you become a better person:
Firstly, to refute the previously mentioned article, there are no “should’s” in dating.
Anytime the word “should” comes into play, it is someone else’s ideas, guidelines, concepts or values being referenced.
So, should’s aside, how do we go about dating a person who may help you become a better person?
Step 1. Date a person.
Step 2. Decide, in and of yourself, to become a better person.
Step 3. Be a better person.
Oh yeah, by the way, step one is optional.
And, before pointing out the irony of taking “better person” advise from someone who is basically ragging on some poor woman’s writing, let me counter it with this:
Better people have opinions. Better people speak up. Better people are honest. I admit to being very, humbly human and still practicing being a better person.
So with that in mind, here are some ideas I have regarding dating to become a better person:
Be open to difference
Because there will be differences. He likes cats, you like dogs. She wants to party, you want to meditate. He is a he, she is a she (or not, if you prefer, but you are still two separate people, with different ideas and thoughts).
Yes, it is good to have things in common, but it is also good to have differences. There is a very valid reason that it is highly uncool to date family—you are already too much the same!
Find someone who brings newness into your life. Newness helps you grow. Growing helps you find better bits.
No-one gives a better chance to practice kindness more than a partner. Remember that old saying, “it is better to be kind than to be right”? My family sort of operated on the opposite motto—being correct was highly valued.
Choosing kindness was not something that came easily to me until, in the early days of negotiating the relationship that changed me, my partner looked at me one day and said, “why would you choose to correct me when you know what I meant. I love you and I would always choose to show that over anything else.” And he walked his talk.
He taught me that choosing kindness makes both of us better people. Every time.
Be honest with yourself
Yes, be honest with the other person too, but if you are being honest with yourself, that pretty much follows anyway.
Finding your “better self” is not always easy. I believe the reason we resist change so much is because it implies a previous lack. True honesty however, doesn’t have judgment. It just recognizes that there is more to be done, more to be had, more to be.
Oh dear, it would appear that you don’t need to use another person in order to grow, to become better. What is this going to do to the dating industry? I have faith that love—real, honest, kind love—will survive.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Tui Anderson
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Casablanca Movie Trailer Still