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Dating the Right Person: Who They Are vs. Who They Could Be

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What’s more important to a long-lasting relationship: to marry someone that has it all together or has the potential? To explore the bedroom chemistry or to develop everything else and keep that on the backburner?

I read an interesting article on Muslim Village (I’m not Muslim) a while back. It was titled 10 Ways to Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person, The title speaks for itself, so you already know what it’s about. I bring it up here because it covers great points, some of which made me think. For today, I wanted to take two of them and bring them back a couple stages to dating in general. So I’ll share two excerpts from the authors’ article, and my take on each as it applies to dating.

Do Not Marry Potential:

Oftentimes men consider marrying a woman hoping she never changes while a woman considers marrying a man she hopes she can change. This is the wrong approach on both accounts. Don’t assume that you can change a person after you’re married to them or that they will reach their potential. There is no guarantee, after all, that those changes will be for the better. In fact, it’s often for the worse. If you can’t accept someone or imagine living with them as they are then don’t marry them. These differences can include a number of things such as ideological or practical differences in religion, habits, hygiene, communication skills, etc.

My Take

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When most folks start dating someone, they don’t jump to thoughts of marriage. Well, at least men don’t. We’re happy to be in the moment enjoying it for what it is. Over time we’ll start to have thoughts more often, but out the gate? Nah.

I believe that you can date potential. A significant other naturally earns your trust and confidence over time. Can you marry it too? That again depends on how confident you are in your boopiece. What if you meet someone that’s just coming back up from rock bottom? What if they just had an epiphany that motivated them to turn their life around? Do you walk away because they’re not completely where you want them to be in every aspect of their life? Personally, I admire  demonstrated effort in improving one’s state of affairs.

Personal development is a continuous process that occurs from leaving the womb to leaving the earth. There are always things people can adjust or improve on that they’re not exceeding in expectations today –whether it be their own or their significant other’s. Rather than dating or marrying potential, it’s about dating or marrying someone that demonstrates the ability to change as needs and obstacles manifest themselves.  It’s about malleability. Besides, it’s a beautiful feeling to grow with someone and see how they’ve progressed along their journey — spiritual or otherwise. They may benefit from having someone reaffirm their progress. Everybody needs a cheerleader.  Now on to the physical side…

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Avoid Pre-Marital Sexual/Physical Activity:

  • Recognize that there is incredible wisdom in why God has ordered us to refrain from intimacy before marriage; they are to prevent great harms as well as to keep sacred what is the most blessed part of a relationship between a man and a woman.
  • Aside from the obvious spiritual consequences, when a relationship gets physical before its time, important issues like character, life philosophy, and compatibility go to the wayside.

Consequently, everything is romanticized and it becomes difficult to even remember the important issues let alone talk about them.

Intellectual commitment must be established before emotional or sexual commitment.

My Take (Pause)

First things first, that boat probably sailed for you a long time ago. Second, as a fan erotic expenditures, I gotta throw up the thumbs down. I love the hokey pokey too much to turn it down all together. And honestly, I’ve never dated a woman where us handling the business turned out to be the end of the relationship. If anything, us handling the business early solidified that there’d never be a relationship. At that point, marriage isn’t even relevant.

When it comes to dating, I take gettingt to know the person, how they think and operate, and what the potential pros and cons of a future may be. I’m a smart dude that likes smart chicks. But, I don’t wanna be in a relationship with someone that I have no sexual chemistry with. Not at this stage in my life. Nope. Not this guy.

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Yes, I think chemistry — like character — can be developed. But how many episodes of Read Between the Panty Lines am I supposed to watch before I can say I don’t like the show? No matter what people say, sex is important. Bad pokey can spill into other parts of the relationship. This can magnify trust, confidence, and communication issues. It’s better to flush those things out early than to deal with them years in. You’ll be happier later on.

An amazing sex life is equal parts intellect and roar. As a man, you connect with her mind and then with her body. She’s most likely (hopefully) done the same thing for you. If the intellect (relative I know) or roar is missing, you’re going to expend a lot of energy trying to sustain.

That’s it for me. How about you? Are you more concerned with having someone that has it all together from the jump, or someone that’s working to get there? Would you avoid premarital sex or consider abstinence to find the right one? Or, do you think you think the bedroom needs to be explored before you start talking about shared bank accounts? And lastly and most riskily, how do you define an awesome sex life?

You’re a good person, but this is just bad,

Comment(37)

  1. I would date potential, but much of that potential would need to be actualized before we married bc the rest of our lives depend on it. I would need to see concrete proof that progress is being made and that the person is capable of making change. Pre-marital sex? Yes.

  2. Def can understand why pre marital sex can be a problem. My BF and I are taking things slow mainly cuz we both agree that sex can be a game changer in a relationship. People should realize that, although, there is no sex instead you can still have intimacy. I really think people should practice more of that then sex. Can save a lot of heartache. IMO

  3. I don't know (yet) what to make of this article… Are we talking about how to make a marriage last or have a marriage be of quality most of the time throughout the marriage… I hate to get all NaijaSweetz, but I might have to…

    First, I need to be in a culture that supports & upholds marriage… Because being married in a LAS VEGAS matrix, or anything similar to it, is not good for longevity and/or quality… The financial incentive for women to divorce men needs to be all but eliminated.

    Second, I need to have my finances in order (for the children)…

    Third, I need psychology right… Nuff said…

    Fourth, I need a good woman…

    – Low body count, no abortions (I must be at least, the third man who hit that… preferably the first)
    – Manipulate, but with good intention
    – Under 25
    – A solid 7 in looks (I can't think of anything else right now…)

    But, I think, as it pertains to the SBM… people at least need to get married first, childless, before talking about marrying the wrong person.

    I am all for not having pre-marital s*x before getting married… I think there is a world of good having fun in that part of the matrix…

    SSTTE

  4. I say all that to say, is that a woman's past and a woman's future counts when I am considering matrimony….

  5. I wonder if age is a factor in any of this?? What I am saying is-it is probably easier to date potential in your 20s when marriage isn’t of any real concern to some people. No sex ummm I think that would really suck monkey balls if you marry someone and the are a mess in the sheets. Oh the trauma. I can think of some flings from my hey day and there is NO WAY a marriage could have survived with that wack sex!!

  6. Interesting article Brother… I agree on both points. Makes sense to date potential if you see growth and willingness to want and do better on their part. I’m currently at that point in life where I’m making major changes for the better, so I couldn’t date someone who only sees my past and not where I’m going.

    As far as premarital sex, it will definitely change some things, not always for the worse though. For the most part, if it’s good, women usually become possessive afterwards (some men too.) It depends on the two people involved, it may be best to wait.

  7. Be very very careful with dating/marrying potential. Everyone seems to immediately think “potential” automatically and solely means money. It doesn’t. Marrying “potential” means a lot more then material possession and acquisition. It speaks about the persons personality, character, emotional state, etc. People change over time and often, too often, those who date them do so hoping for the “potential” that they will morph into that semi-perfect person they want them to be. Like I said be very very careful. My recommendation. Align yourself with someone who you accept AS THEY ARE. A man who works a regular 9-5 earning decent pay but with tons of ambition and hustle to improve himself is NOT an example of “potential”. The ambitious person is already is. They just hasn’t made it yet. The “potential” person would be one who is comfortable in their current state but you hope or believe that if s/hetries s/he can do better but currently s/he isn’t doing it. Again….be careful with “potential”. Because if they don’t change then what?

    Pre-marital sex. I agree. We should avoid it even though I didn’t. Truth is sex mucks up our vision in relationships. We stay when we shouldn’t because our “others” give it to us RIGHT! I’ll admit to havIng an ex I should have left early but she put the work on me crazy. Made me overlook things that I should have taken more notice too. That being said….it’s hard to buy the cow without sampling the milk these days.

    1. "My recommendation. Align yourself with someone who you accept AS THEY ARE. A man who works a regular 9-5 earning decent pay but with tons of ambition and hustle to improve himself is NOT an example of "potential". The ambitious person is already is. They just hasn't made it yet. The "potential" person would be one who is comfortable in their current state but you hope or believe that if s/hetries s/he can do better but currently s/he isn't doing it. Again….be careful with "potential". Because if they don't change then what?"

      *slams the gavel down* nuff said on that…

  8. I think it’s not so much potential or whether you got it together or not. Life is hard and it is constantly changing. You need someone you can grow and adjust to life’s changes with. It all matters. Because even though you might have it together today, we don’t know about tomorrow.

    1. agree 100%. this is why career type and income don't factor so heavily in the partners I choose. I prefer men who can handle their finances no matter what they have and know how to adjust when shit changes.
      My recent post I Quit: Complaining

  9. Are you more concerned with having someone that has it all together from the jump, or someone that’s working to get there? I would say at this point in my life I'm more than willing to work with someone who doesn't have it all together…..cause most everybody Never has it "All" together. As you mentioned Slim we are constant works in progress and realistically we will never ever live long enough to reach absolute perfection in every aspect of our lives. Also on the flip side remember that a person can have "everything" going great for them when you meet them and while your together and then due to hardships lose everything (in the way of material possessions). So in essence what a person has when you meet them and while your together doesn't mean much if they don't know how to maintain what they have and make it last.

  10. Would you avoid premarital sex or consider abstinence to find the right one? Absolutely……and I'm thinking more women will say yes they will avoid premarital sex and consider abstinence than men. Just one of the differences in thinking between men and women. Reasons why aren't that relevant cause they can go on and on and on……point is it's just one of those things and it is what it is. Sex has been since the beginning of time and will probably always be much more important to men than women.
    Or, do you think you think the bedroom needs to be explored before you start talking about shared bank accounts? I do think when dating you should have "sexual conversations" and sex talks and discuss your likes and dislikes prior to actually having sex. It definitely helps to avoid being unsatisfied and awkardness. And frankly if you can't discuss sex then you probably shouldn't be having it.

  11. And lastly and most riskily, how do you define an awesome sex life?
    First let me say Slim "riskily" is the cutest non real word I've ever heard/seen…..lol…….props for word creativity….*smile*
    I define an awesome sex life as one where you and your partner have awesome open and honest communication….cause thats the foundation right there. Thats where it starts. An awesome sex life is also one where there is complete and total trust in each other. That is also important…reason why is people are more likely to seem sexually rigid and not explore various things sexually if they don't trust you. And not just trust you not to hurt them but also trust you not to pass judgement on them or look at them differently for what they do.
    Lastly an awesome sex life is one where both people are "sexually creative." Reason why…….your best sexual tool is your imagination……because it's limitless.

    1. Co-sign. And to your other point I agree i think men and women view sex very different on certain levels . I dont know if being celibate is going to grauntee that you will find the right partner, but it will probably help you remove the men out of your life who just want you for sex. Idk if I could wait all the way until we jumped the broom lol

      1. Smilez this right here "it will probably help you remove the men out of your life who just want you for sex." is the truth.
        Realistically I don't think most folks men and women could wait until marriage unless the courtship is on some celebrity relationship type ish…..like real real short and less than a year.
        I couldn't wait til I was married in a regular non-celebrity real time relationship because 9 times out of 10 it would last longer than a year. Now if it's long distance it may make it easier to do that, but then there's those pesky trust issues people have in long distance relationships.

      2. Definite cosign. I just sarted dating again after being in a LTR. I decided that i was going to eliminate sex fron the dating equation just to see what happened. And talk about clarity. It has been very easy to point out which men were just trying to smang. They disappear somewhere around date 3.

        I’m also a little more hesitant to date “potential” but that is mainly based on my past experience with (let’s just call them) losers, for lack of a better word. I tend to date ambition more so than potential. Everyone has potential to be more or do more. But not everyone has the motivation or drive, or even the desire to. When i ask a man about his future goals and he tells me, he has none or he’s cool how he is (especially when I know he can do better), I’m instantly turned off. I’m allegeric to complacency.

  12. This post definitely made me think about one of the reasons my last relationship failed……… I was frustrated at the fact that my ex wasn't reaching his "potential" while he accepted me completely as I was, flaws and all. He's doing a lot better now & I should have had the "trust and confidence" in him to mature…….as far as the sex, I don't think we should hold off completely until marriage but wait until we know the person and have an understanding of what they're about. I find that a man's true intentions come out when sex isn't involved……and I've saved myself from a lot of drama and confusion by doing so. At the same time once you have sex with someone you really like and have gotten to know it can take things to a greater level so……. I just think as far as that goes timing is key. Sidenote: If anyone can explain to me how to make a profile so I don't have to comment thru FB I'd appreciate it……not feeling the fact my whole government is out there lol…..thanks 🙂

  13. Are you more concerned with having someone that has it all together from the jump, or someone that’s working to get there? It depends. I have to go by what I see. I have to see the man's determination and motivation.

    Would you avoid premarital sex or consider abstinence to find the right one? I would avoid it…and it is possible. My hormones don't control me, I have matured beyond that. I have experienced that it is logical to wait in order to give the relationship an adequate amount of time to build on the areas that will ultimately make or break your marriage…in the long run.

    Think about it like this….that great sex you rush into having will not be so great once all the incompatibly issues you didn't plan for start happening.

    That 'chemistry' will be felt prior to actually engaging in the act itself. The extended foreplay will actually enhance the first time.

    Great sex is aight but in the long run that WILL NOT sustain a marriage. Sex is the icing on the cake in a REAL marriage. It's great to have but isn't needed in the grand scheme of things. Lots of things will happen that will decrease libido in either partner (Pregnancy, ED, stress and other medical issues)…that's why sex is NOT to be such a HIGH priority. Sex should not be the glue to a marriage.

    Furthermore, when you are genuinely attracted to a person, the sex is awesome no matter what. A real union give you the ability of being able to just be kissed by your spouse and climax because you two are so in tune with each other.

    Awesome lovemaking to me involves the physical, mental and emotional. It not just about getting mines but also anticipating what I think he wants me to do next. Awesome is when every time is a grand event that continues to get better over time.

  14. Slim: "Are you more concerned with having someone that has it all together from the jump, or someone that’s working to get there?"

    The person doesn't have to have it all together for me. What I need is more than potential, but potential in action. At the very least, the person has to be actively working on trying to improve when I decide to date them. Anyone has the ability to improve, but many don't put forth the effort to do so. They talk a good game with no real desire to actually play the game.

  15. I don’t mind being with someone who’s sincerely trying to get themselves together. I think in dealing with that sort of situation shows a person’s true nature and how much they are willing to commit to something they really want in life. As far as pre-martial sex I don’t think it’s a problem if you’re in a committed relationship and are working towards getting married. Not saying you should jump in the sack with whomever you meet or get it in cause you got all hot and bothered.

  16. I wouldn't define the scenario you laid out as potential. That's a person in progress. Potential is what they were before they decided to start the work towards whatever. Marrying potential does sound like a problem to me, but marrying someone who's in progress but hasn't reached their goal does not.

    As far as point two, I agree with it in terms of order of operations. I can't speak for everyone else, but good sex does set off a whole lot of chemicals in my body as described in various articles. It clouds my judgment horribly. I cannot deny it. The intellectual and values stuff has to be assessed before (not concurrently or after) physical involvement. I don't need to get married to do that, but I see what they mean. If I were to ever get married, I will have had sex with my spouse before we sign the papers. That's one of my steps for determining long-term worthiness.

  17. "Rather than dating or marrying potential, it’s about dating or marrying someone that demonstrates the ability to change as needs and obstacles manifest themselves." ——–> I agree!

    As far as premarital pokey (lol) is concerned. I think most of what you said is logical. But in the end it's just more of the same —-> GAME. I'm a "smart girl", so guys usually use their "smart girl" approach with me. Consequently, I've heard the "I've gotta take it for a test drive before I buy it, don't I?" LINE a million times before. There is only one guy who didn't use that line on me and I call him my Fiance.

    He and I waited a year to make love. And you know what? Making love to him was exactly like I thought it would be: a more intense, more intimate, more fulfilling version of what we already had going on in that department. Ladies!!! Make love when YOU want, not because he needs to test drive y'alls sexual chemistry. If he presses you on this point, or acts like he can't possible figure out whether he'll want to make love to you in the future unless he "test drives" you right this moment—–>DROP him.
    My recent post The Measure of A Woman

  18. I don’t think I would go into a marriage without having had at least one sexual encounter with my mate. In my opinion, sex in a more than platonic relationship is way high on the important list. Even if one is a virgin, your body is going to eventually know whether or not it is being satisfied sexually; and once you’re there, one of two things will probably (most likely) happen: you’re going to really work hard at getting if fixed (which will take away from other areas in your relationship), or you are going to find other ways to get the fulfillment you need (and that’s just gonna end up screwing up your relationship).
    I think I would definitely date potential….otherwise, what’s the point? Potential means one is trying to get something. When both of us are trying to get something, what can be bad about that?

  19. I dated potential. I dated him while he was growing..and then when it was my turn to do some growing, he let me go. -___-

    I think that we are constantly growing and changing. I agree with most people who say that it is important to accept the person as they inherently are..but always be ready to see your relationship progress. Don't take each other for granted and or be selfish in your wants. YOU might want to change a person, but is it the BEST thing for that person and YOUR relationship?

    A true relationship is a partnership that is embarked upon, together..

    My recent post A new understanding of violence and nonviolence as a tactic.

  20. Good points made by all. As someone who had his fair share of premarital relations before getting married, it definitely makes a difference. One of the things that kinda stood out about my now wife is that when we were dating, she was adamant about no sex before marriage. It caused some initial consternation between us, but I respected her more for her stance.

    As far as the don’t marry potential; that I agree with all the way. We date people based on their potential, but if marriage is possibly in the future, looking at who we choose to deal with as they are presently is the best way to gauge whether or not one can deal with them as a spouse. If not, somebody will need to kick rocks.

  21. Potential:
    I define potential as that thing that someone has that doesn't need to be produced, added, or created because you KNOW it's already there, it just hasn't surfaced yet. Yes, I’m into potential. I am not into ideas.

    Sex:
    (Side note: Character cannot be developed. It is in the fabric of who you are. Chemistry, on the other hand, can be developed.)
    Sexual chemistry is just a matter of communication and letting go of your ego. Personally, that empty feeling after having sex with someone who isn’t worthy of you, sucks. I have no desire to be abstinent my whole life (at all), but I do prefer abstinence over that empty feeling, any day.

  22. Very interesting. Im interested in hearing more about the types of men that are okay with marrying a woman without doing the "hokey pokey" before marriage.

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