Have you ever met a great guy with many admirable qualities, yet upon forming a relationship with him, it turned out to be less than stellar? Or maybe you like him, but you just cannot see yourself making a serious commitment? Many of us have experienced this bait-and-switch. It can happen when we mix our “dating-types” and our “relationship-types.”
Surely you have heard the play on words, “Mr. Right” and “Mr. Right-Now.” While it has found its way into every other chick lit book on the shelf, it actually has some merit. Depending on your need at the moment, you subconsciously scope out very different types of people.
For example, let’s say you have just broken up with your ex, and are looking for a temporary fix (to put it bluntly). You focus on your hunt on a person’s appearance and top-layer personality. For a Friday evening at the bar, you don’t care what school he went to, what he thinks about war in the Middle East, or his commentary on family values. All you may want is a cute face with the ability to make you laugh. He is your Mr. Right-Now. Dating-types are all about convenience and immediate pleasure.
On the flip side, relationship-types are all about compatibility. You may have decided you are done with dating casually. You hone your target on men who you are more compatible with over a longer spans. Simple personality quirks, which may have been deal-breakers if you only planned to know him for a couple hours or a couple weeks, do not matter to you. Appearances also don’t play as much of a role in your decision to commit to him. This is the more elusive Mr.Right.
The differences between your dating-type and your relationship-type may be drastic or subtle. However, it is generally not advisable that you try to mold a dating-type into a relationship. Many couples face almost immediate issues due to this incompatibility: they enjoy each other’s company, but just can’t seem to make the relationship work. People, by nature, are compatible in different areas: sexually, emotionally, socially, mentally, and so on. Taking a person you work well with in a casual setting and putting them into a deeply connected and emotional setting can produce a turbulent result.
However, this may not always be the case. Many people have found love in unexpected places: a friend who turned into something more or a one-night-stand who they later married. The best way to determine who you will be compatible with for the long-term is to think hard about what you hope to find in potential mate. What traits do you value? Which traits do not matter as much? Which of your needs or wants do you hope this person will fulfill? Figuring out the answers to these questions will help you to determine whether that guy you just met is relationship- or dating-material.