Ever since I turned 30, it seems like many of my peers (myself included) are hell-bent on settling down and finding “the one.” I’m not sure if it’s the fact that we’re getting older and our biological clocks are ticking, or if people are looking at others and basing their lives off of where they think they should be. What I do know is that I am surrounded by a number of people who are more than frustrated because they have not found their mate yet. In fact, some are downright angry.
I used to get angry too. For quite some time, I allowed my anxiousness and excitability to control my actions when looking for my life partner. Some are so upset at still being alone to the point where they’ve:
1. Demanded to know what someone who is interested in them wants immediately (like before you even have a first date)
2. Have constantly questioned their own worth and what they bring to a relationship
3. Made pacts with friends of the opposite sex to marry by the time they turned 35 if they’re still single
4. Created hashtags on social media with the year they are going to get married despite not even dating anyone/being engaged (ex: #M2017 = married by 2017)
5. Given up on dating completely until they move out of state and/or the country
The struggle is real.
I get it, and wouldn’t be telling the truth if I sat here and acted like I didn’t have to stop myself from committing some of the above actions on more than one occasion. But unless you’re among the small number of beings who was lucky enough to meet the love of your life at 12, you’re going to meet at least a few of following personality types when dating before you meet the one.
1. The Crazy One
If you’re still single and have yet to date the crazy type, get ready. They’re too good to be true because, well, it’s a lie. You mistake their fits of rage after finding a text from an associate as “caring.” At first, you’ll perceive their behavior as “a symptom of being in love” instead of the red flag that he/she is controlling and possibly covering up their own tracks.
Everyone has allowed their emotions to get the best of them at some point, but this person always does. You’ll find them staked out in front of your crib at three a.m. because you didn’t reply to their text messages right away. This is one of the few personality types that most won’t deal with for long. Insecure people like this will drive any sane person away fast, but these types usually prey on those with low self-esteem. Their insanity often turns into physical and mental abuse, a tool they use to manipulate and keep you at bay. Hopefully, you’ll be gone before I finish this sentence.
2. The Best Friend
You’ve been friends for quite some time, but are just now noticing that you’re attracted to each other. You know each other: from their favorite foods to that time he slept with his college roommate’s girlfriend. The friendship is too sacred for the relationship not to work, so you go for it. So what your friend cheated on everyone he/she has every dated?! With you it will be different.
But it isn’t. The best-friend breakup is particularly bad because you least expect it. This is someone who knows what you’ve been through and has been that shoulder to lean on during tough times. Now they’re the one causing you harm and you have no shoulder to lean on. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen a couple of successful relationships rooted in friendship. But some friends hook up out of desperation and convenience, so don’t take it personal if it doesn’t work out.
3. The Wild Card
With the wild card, you never know what you’re going to get. You’re intrigued by the “danger of it all.” You stick with them for the excitement, and the false belief that you can tame this wild and free soul. Most wild cards have commitment and stability issues, but we see their problems as “living on the edge” or “going with the flow.” Never mind the clusterf*ck of an emotional roller coaster they put you through.
These individuals have a stream of short-term relationships that all end due to the “other person’s issues.” The wild card never takes responsibility for their own actions and will constantly try to manipulate you with passive-aggressive behavior when you call them out on their bull. Trust, this isn’t a ride at the amusement park that you’ll want to wait in line for.
4. The One You Think You Can Save
This is by far the most emotionally draining personality type that you can involve yourself with. The relationship starts off sweet, with your mate showing you signs of a normal person who is warm and interesting. Give it about six weeks. They will have you in tears because you can see “the potential” of how good you can be together, but the reality is anything but.
Despite what is being presented, you won’t have sense enough to leave right away because they “need” you. You believe that you can change them and most likely have a strong desire to be needed. These relationships are particularly damaging because “the victim” is very good at playing the role. For most of the union, they’ll have you wondering what you did wrong (which is nothing), and holding on a bit too long to an already doomed relationship.
5. The Stepping Stone
The stepping stone is always looking for something better. They have no problem using people to fill the void left from an unsuccessful relationship or until the “right one” comes along. They ignore the fact that they’re trading in people as if they are shopping for a car. Unfortunately, you’ll buy into their affections, not knowing that they’re looking for the next best thing. They are the epitome of selfish and can truly damage your self-esteem.
No one is perfect, and many of us have behaved in ways similar to the personality traits described. The difference is that some allow their emotions to get the best of them on occasion, while others dwell in destruction. The point of this list isn’t to tell you that you’ve made horrible choices when dating. It’s meant to encourage you to not give up, to realize that you’ve got to go through some relationship fails to find your mate.
Often, we can block love from finding us because we’re looking too hard for it. Love is something that you just cannot force, because your spirit is what will attract your mate to you. I’ve dated all of the personality types above (and then some), and it hasn’t deterred me. So don’t allow the “nos” to keep you from your “yes,” “amen” and “then some”!
Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, The Monique Caradine Show, Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister. Her debut book, Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self, is available now at Amazon.com.