There are plenty of great reasons to look for love, but there are also some ready shady factors that find us searching for a partner. If you fall into one of the following categories, consider finding another way to consume your time before focusing on a search for a boo…
- You’re lonely: I know, I know. Choosing to throw ourselves into a flurry of dating seems to make sense when we don’t have anyone to call our own. Nobody wants to end up as the dreaded “Cat Lady”. But the reality is that loneliness is a state of mind for most people. Before you rush out to fill a hole in the soul with a significant other, consider first the reasons why you’re lonely. A consistent feeling of loneliness may be a symptom that you need to expand your life and interests. Or that you have unresolved issues from your childhood. A partner who is chosen as an escape from inner dissatisfaction or a lack of personal meaning will inevitably fail at their job. Why? Because in a healthy relationship, your partner’s main role isn’t to provide entertainment or a warm body on lonely nights…but to complement the full life that you already have.
- You’re broke: Let’s face it. The economy and unemployment rates of black people have placed financial consideration into the forefront of many of our choices. But choosing to date someone primarily because of the size of their wallet is a tried and true way of ending up miserable. Money can mask incompatibility or financial irresponsibility but for only so long. Finance, health, attractiveness, professional status…all these things tend to change over time, and not always for the better. Instead of trying to stabilize your finances with someone else’s cash, you might want to look at yourself to determine how you can stabilize your own finances.
- You’re horny: If your libido is one of the main reasons why you choose to date, you’re inviting drama with a capital D into your life. It doesn’t matter how sturdy the latex, there is no such thing as 100% medically safe sex. There is always a risk that one takes when you engage in sexual activity. And it’s not only the physical ones that cause the most harm. Sex is an intimate act. It is a sharing of emotions, spirit, and body. It bonds two people together with a strength that often supersedes common sense (eg. ChRihanna). Affection, commitment, communication, openness, compatibility, trust. These are the qualities that make for great sex. Show me a person, whether male or female, who is able to regularly engage in emotionally disconnected sex and I’ll show you a person who is emotionally and or spiritually out to lunch.
- You’re scared: You’re afraid of dying alone. Or your kids are finally flying the nest. If your main reason for choosing to enter a relationship is driven by fear-based thoughts, “I’m getting old.” “I need security.” As opposed to love-based thoughts, “This person is the best thing that has ever happened to me.” “I feel better with them than without.” An example of this that I’ve seen is in a good friend of mine, Marc. After nearly three decades of playing the field, he has finally chosen to settle down. The main reason he cited? “I’m getting old…I don’t want to die alone.” Which I told him sounded more like “I’m finally willing to settle down with you because my fear of dying alone is greater than my fear of being closing off my options or losing my freedom.” Needless to say, one of the frequent battles in his relationship is *drum roll please* his tendency to act like he’s single. In every way possible. His motivation for choosing his partner was less about a need to express his love for her and more about his need to quiet his fears. Changing the external structure of your life doesn’t change what’s going on inside of you.
- You’re pressured: Everyone in your family is already married. Your ovaries are drying up. Your best friend is on his second marriage and you haven’t even had one wife. None of these reasons have anything to do with YOU. One should only get into a relationship when they feel that they are ready. Sure, external circumstances do have an influence on our personal choices. But something as significant a decision as entering into a serious relationship shouldn’t be driven by the choices of other people. It shouldn’t be driven by tradition or timing. It should be an outgrowth of the love, compatibility, trust, mutual goals, respect, attraction and friendship that you both share.
The key element that the above reasons share is fear. But from personal experience (and from my observations of other people’s), I’ve learned that fear is a horrible reason to enter a relationship. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to place a value on the “whys” of getting involved with another person. But I’ve seen far too many people enter into a relationship for any or all of the above-listed reasons and end up right back in the same place that they were before hooking up. Except now there is a child or children, shared property, community ties…and years that can’t be replaced behind them.
Sil Lai Abrams is a writer, inspirational speaker, anti-domestic violence activist, Ebony.com’s relationship expert, and author of No More Drama. You can follow her on Twitter: @sil_lai and connect with her on Facebook. Want her advice? Email SilLai@ebony.com to have your love questions answered in a future column!