Your Non-Negotiables In Dating
You can love to the point you lose yourself. You can love to the point you forget that your needs, feelings, wants and desires are actually important too. Dating culture may encourage blurring your boundary lines for the sake of choosing any type of love over loneliness.
This is dangerous.
The delicate balance of what matters to you most – your dating non-negotiables – and what you can be flexible about is a necessary dance between self-preservation and being open to new love.
Don’t get this confused with the checklist mentality that was all the rage a few years ago. Walking up to potential loves with non-negotiables that are actually superficial variables (i.e. height) is a sure fire way to miss out the one for you. Non-negotiables are those things that no matter who the person is, love interest or not, you are unwilling to sacrifice. You are unwilling to negotiate or compromise.
No one can tell you what matters to you the most. Yet, people have a funny way of trying to put you down for those things because they are unwilling or unable to be those things for you.
Don’t let them. Most of my dating mishaps started with me thinking I could deal with something that was truly a non-negotiable because I really liked the person. It’s a way of forcing compatibility. You want something to work so you make it work even when the key doesn’t quite fit the lock. For example, romantic gestures matter to me. How someone speaks to me or about others matters to me. But there I was thinking I was asking too much or being sensitive only to find myself out of that relationship wondering why I chose to love someone else more than myself. Why did I ever think that was something I didn’t need when I knew I did.
The first step is deciding that you are worth it. You are worth having some non-negotiables about how you want to be treated and loved. You must decide that there are certain ways you want to be treated, respected and loved that you are not up for debate. Reflect on your past and realize how many people you “gave a chance” even if she or he didn’t touch on that need. Perhaps everything else felt good except your partner didn’t believe in your dream and that really mattered to you. But you compromised, you let it go, and maybe even started to doubt if that dream was really important. You’ve probably found yourself later with someone who did support your dream and wondering how you ever thought it was okay to go without this desire.
This is where you start to pull out and design your non-negotiables.
Determine some things that are your non-negotiables and hold on for dear life. The more you ignore that nagging feeling that this particular action, mindset, etc makes you feel loved and encourages you to love, the more you dishonor your own heart. Stop ignoring the voice that says you don’t like something and listening to the voice that says “but he/she loves me so maybe it’s okay.”
We are growing and so your non-negotiables may change over time. Consult yourself about yourself. Use the wise counsel of friends who love you. But don’t start blurring your boundary lines and needs for the sake of potentially missing out only to end up in a mess. The person who is really for you won’t be 100% perfect but he/she will at least fill your basic non-negotiables.
Be willing to spend the time with yourself reflecting on things that have failed or gone well with lovers in the past. Figure out when you started compromising things that truly mattered to you and be unwilling to do that again. Determine your non-negotiables and love and be loved better.