Hello to all of my fellow single Career Girls out there! We’re a fun, talented, professional group of women looking for our match — whoever he might be. Every Saturday, I will bring you along on my Single Career Girl journey.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my post-college dating life is that you have to know what you’re looking for, and what exactly you want in a partner. I have dated and made my share of mistakes, and I have “friends” who like to sometimes make snide remarks about it. It used to make me feel bad about myself, but I’ve accepted that we all have different paths. Some of us know what’s right instantly and take the leap, while some of us have to take our time, learning what does and doesn’t work. And this doesn’t mean that our path is wrong, immoral, or a failure — we all find who we’re meant to be with at different paces.
Now that I am 26, I’m discovering what I need, and I’m recognizing a pattern in my choices. All of those mistakes have taught me something valuable: Having chemistry with a guy isn’t all you need. Chemistry is great, but if other areas of your life don’t add up — like your values and goals — the relationship probably won’t work. And as a Career Girl, you want to find a partner who shares your values and work ethic. Here’s what I’ve learned, and hopefully you can find some comfort in this:
- Ask for the information you need, upfront. If you have certain non-negotiable issues or concerns, get as much information as you can early on. It might seem rude or off-putting to dive deeper so soon, but do you want to discover it all months down the road, and break up then?
- Differences do matter — especially when they’re big ones. I have a bad habit of falling for a guy and ignoring the differences between us. “Opposites attract,” I’d tell myself. But if you ultimately want different things out of life, it can be hard to compromise. For example, I’m very ambitious and driven, so it is difficult to be with someone who is not the same way.
- How you feel about his friends is important. Who a guy’s friends are says a lot about who he is. And of course, every guy has a few friends you won’t like. But you should enjoy hanging out in groups together and have some mutual friends. If you don’t seem to have friends that would ever hang around each other, or if his friends are people you don’t really want to be around, that says something. If this is who he wants to spend time with, then you will have to spend time with them — a lot of time. The two of you can’t live in a bubble.
- Learn from Gwen Stefani: You can’t change someone. After a recent breakup, I heard one of Gwen Stefani’s old No Doubt songs called “Ex-girlfriend.” One of the lines is “I find myself trying to change you / If you were meant to be my lover I wouldn’t have to.” Listen to Gwen. She’s right. Even if he tells you he’s trying to quit smoking, trying to be a better communicator, trying to make more time for you — if you keep butting heads over the same problem, it’s not going to magically disappear. You might want to take a step back and reevaluate whether he is the right one for you.
Above all, remember that you need to be happy and comfortable in a relationship. If you aren’t, it’s time to move on.
Keep checking CGN on Saturday mornings, when I’ll tackle common dating issues and where to meet other singles. Feel free to ask your dating questions and share stories in our comments section below!