By Chrissy Kirk| SmartBrownGirl
Dating gets trickier as we get older. My priorities have shifted as I have gotten older and I look for different qualities. I am no longer looking for just a good time, I’m looking for a good man. A good man is hard to find but its easier when you’re clear about what you’re looking for. Here are some tips I learned along the way.
Don’t be fooled by the icing. Find out what’s in the cake.
He’s handsome, he has great style and a nice car. Jackpot right? WRONG. Before you imagine yourself behind the wheel, imagine him at the wheel of your lives together. Is he a leader? Is he responsible with money? Is he impulsive? These are all things you need to pay attention to in the early stages of dating.
Wait for sex.
I know its unpopular and sometimes very difficult, but its worth it. Sex clouds your judgement, linking you spiritually and emotionally to someone who may not feel the same way, or may not be a good for you. We are emotional creatures and we want to nurture, love and be loved. Sex is an expression of that. But when we have sex prematurely, we trick our hearts into thinking that a fling has a future…especially if the sex is good.
My suggestion is to keep sexual contact to a minimum for at least the first few months or until you give yourself time to see what’s what. Some things may not be as they seem. Instead of letting him feel you up or you doing the same, focus on romance and finding shared interests. Hold hands, go to each other’s favorite places and try something new together like salsa dancing, horseback riding or rock climbing. When you are trying something new and challenging, you get be yourself and experience closeness with your clothes on. After all, it is often the intimacy we are seeking, not the sex.
Know your deal-breakers.
We all have our hangups but it important to know what things are just mildly annoying and what things are deal-breakers.
Is it important to you that he is saved? Are you a stickler for good hygiene? Do you only date men with college degrees? Do you want children? These are all things you need to find a way to discuss with your potential mate.
Know his values.
Is he a man of faith? Is he a man of his word? You need to know what a man stands for. If you don’t know his character, you shouldn’t enter into bed or a relationship with him.
Know his vices.
We all have something we have a weakness for that is hard to turn away from. For some, it may be chocolate or reality TV. For others, it may be a smoking, drinking or sex. It’s important to know what each other’s vices are so you know what you’re working with. If he is willing to share, don’t take it lightly. Sometimes this isn’t an easy topic. Be careful not to say anything judgmental and thank him for opening up. Listen to what he tells you and consider it carefully. This may be something he will always struggle with and you will need to decide whether you can help him deal with it or if you can live with it.
Know what you bring to the table.
It’s important that you know you value. You may be independent. You may have a degree. You may be the life of the party. You may be a go-getter. These are all great and should be celebrated. But it’s equally important for you to acknowledge and accept that you bring baggage to the table as well. Your past relationships, strong opinions, credit rating and habits are all a part of your total package. Consider this when you are deciding what you want in a mate. He needs to be able to accept and love you just like you are.
Be honest with yourself.
You’re not perfect. You have made mistakes. You have had triumphs, losses and lessons. He has too. We are complex beings and life is full of surprises. If you are willing to accept a few flaws you may find that Mr. Right for you is right under you nose.