“If you don’t want to marry a garbage man, don’t date a garbage man.” – Mrs. Vera
This simple statement was uttered by a woman with a knowing heart and a lifetime of wisdom. Sitting at her dining room table during my junior year of college, she delivered this simple, yet powerful revelation. Initially, I didn’t internalize her words because male suitors were readily available and time was still on my side. However, as the years progressed and I spent too many days with the wrongs (relationships/guys), her words began to echo through the chambers of my mind.
To be clear, it wasn’t really about a garbage man. She wasn’t attempting to degrade or label them as undesirable. Instead, she was warning me to be true and consistent in my decisions and choices. If dating is ultimately about finding the right long-term partner/spouse, shouldn’t I spend my time with men I’d actually want in my life beyond breakfast? I’m not referring to superficial preferences that only you’ll know if they matter enough to end a relationship. Instead, I’m referring to significant chasms between the negotiables and non-negotiables.
Opening my heart to guys and situations I’d already decided I didn’t want meant risking the possibility of pushing my life in a direction I didn’t desire. I’ve seen men marry, buy houses and have kids with women they only wanted as Laymates. I know women that envisioned stability and comfort now living in eternal ‘transition’ because they hitched their wagons to what was familiar and convenient. They all fell in love and (our notion of) love will sometimes make you sacrifice your dreams, discard your goals and accept mediocrity.
In relaying this wisdom, she was forcing me to separate the excitement of now with the fulfillment of later. Do I really want a family/life/home with this man? If not, why spend my precious minutes tied and connected to him? We forget the temporary nature of time. Our moments are not to be taken lightly nor used carelessly. She was shining a light on the art and act of complacency.
Now, several years later her words lend value to conversations with friends and strangers alike. Most are exhausted with the sport of dating. They’re done with the ups and downs of what feels like a never-ending cycle. While many have vowed to never date again (which doesn’t really work), others have simply settled. I know that sounds like an ugly word but it’s true. There are women married to men merely because he said he loved her and she was worried no one else would. There are guys in relationships with women because she tolerated infidelity and he felt he owed her a ring or at least a promise of commitment. We’ve become comfortable accepting what’s offered rather than waiting to ensure we get what we want and ultimately need.
I’ve learned compromising standards out of fear isn’t beneficial for anyone involved. It brings the undesirable and hinders the beneficial. The wisdom in her words foretold of broken promises, perpetual excuses and tough decisions. Your ‘garbage man’ may be a man with kids or a woman with a history of infidelity. It could be a guy with no vision or a girl with too much bad debt. Your garbage man could be abusive, emotionally unavailable or financially undesirable. Regardless of what makes him a less than ideal candidate for marriage, it’s true that he’s not someone you should entertain in dating. Some will argue the unfairness of dismissing one from your life without an opportunity to prove you right/wrong. Yeah, no. In my twenties I may have fallen for that trick. Thirtyville dating has exposed that type of thinking for the setup it is.
Read Part 2 where I reveal the 3 Reasons you Don’t Date What You Wouldn’t Marry!
What do you think about Part 1? Are you dating someone not destined for your future? Please comment & share!