This almost seems like the antithesis of one of my most valued characteristics: loyalty. But that is precisely what I’m saying. I think somewhere along the way we started to blend liking someone, dating, and marriage. Having all of our eggs in one basket, not open to anyone else. Now I know what you might be thinking- what is so wrong with that? Well, here’s my theory of why you should keep your options open:
So you can be yourself
I had recently started talking to someone and I caught myself filtering what I was saying. Like how can I make this not sound like I’m arrogant? I was wondering if what I would say would align with his beliefs. But I was glad I caught myself because I stopped to think about why I was doing that. I realized this was a guy I was interested in, who also liked me, and I didn’t want to mess that up- as if being myself could mess that up. It was then that I told myself there were a couple other guys I was interested in and if for some reason this guy decided not to like me anymore it was okay. I know it can be easier said than done because nobody is fond of rejection. But I wonder if I would have had enough strength to be myself and not care as much if I didn’t have other options.
So you can be honest about what you really want
Do we really want someone we can’t be ourselves around? No. While it may help me keep the guy temporarily, it’s not what I’m looking for long term. The problem with closing yourself off to others is you start settling on things that were important because you think it’s your only option.
“I’m just happy he is going to church with me, it’s okay he isn’t a spiritual leader.”
“She is always rude to people, but she treats me well most of the time.”
“He doesn’t like it if I go out with my friends, but that’s just because he wants to spend time with me.”
“She puts me down in front of others, but I know she doesn’t mean it.”
Do you see what ends up happening here? Of course there will be compromises in any relationship but you should never compromise on major, important things simply because you have no other option.
So you don’t end up with the wrong person
Some people don’t believe you can end up with the wrong person but I do. I’ve seen the impact family members, co-workers, friends make on another person’s life. How much more so a spouse? You have to remember that talking, dating, even engaged are all stages leading up to see if you are ready to make that commitment to one person. You are not married yet. It shouldn’t be scary to think about spending the rest of your life with someone; the thought of spending the rest of your life with them should make you the happiest you’ve ever been.
If you allow yourself to keep your options open, you are more apt to be yourself and keep your priorities straight. It will either allow you to see you’re with someone you shouldn’t be or solidify the relationship to a deeper level, allowing you to appreciate them even more. I firmly believe that we took this approach we’d see a lot less fake people settling only to end up in a divorce and more relationships ending in happily ever after.
photo credit: Couples at Watermouth via photopin (license)