For a majority of young women today, dating looks something like this: downloading a dating app or hopping on social media, trying on various types of men for size, seeing what the dating pool has to offer, and most importantly, trying their very best to have fun.
Of course, dating should be fun. It's intriguing to see what and who is out there, make memories and connections, and learn more about ourselves in the process. But the thing we tend to get wrong about dating? That we shouldn't date intentionally — in other words, with the specific purpose of finding the man we’ll one day marry.
It’s popular to say that dating with intention takes all the excitement out of it, that putting such pressure on a budding relationship will stifle it, that we’ll only disappoint ourselves every time a relationship doesn’t work out, so it’s best that we date around with fewer expectations. But is that mindset setting us up for success?
Our intentions when dating will affect the quality of suitors we come across.
The reality is that our purpose when we’re dating — whether we’re dating with the goal of settling down and getting married, or dating to gather experiences and stories — completely changes the type of men we’ll be interested in.
What We’ll Find If We Don’t Look with Purpose
When we’re dating for a good time over everything else, our top priorities, as well as that of the men we’ll come across, are looks and chemistry – the things we can assess right off the bat. We’ll act based on what’s most thrilling in the moment, consider his lush hairline and impressive muscles before anything else, and keep ourselves from contemplating a future with him.
The guys we’ll typically date, while wild and spontaneous, won’t be preoccupied with having more in common with us than physical attraction. He might whisk us away for an adventure, help us feel like we’re truly embracing the excitement of the unknown in our twenties, make us feel momentarily lovely with his compliments and desired with his bids for physical affection, and keep us busy on what would’ve been an otherwise lonely weekend, but he sees that as the extent of his responsibilities (and the relationship).
Does That Leave Us Satisfied?
Dating the non-committal guy can provide us with some fun times or make us feel alive and chosen, but the reality is, engaging in the surface-level connection that he offers will leave us feeling like something is missing ultimately. Our time with him might temporarily fulfill our need to feel admired, but this feeling ends up sinking away as swiftly as it appeared.
Engaging in mere surface-level connection will leave us feeling like something is missing.
We have a nagging, uncomfortable awareness that we couldn’t call him in an emergency, that he wouldn’t be our shoulder to cry on, that he’s not interested in seeing us as more than a good time, despite being just interested enough to keep texting us every weekend, despite having seen the “preview” of what a relationship with us could look like.
If we aren’t pointedly searching for a guy who offers more than this, chances are, we’ll run into a lot of guys who have no problem stringing us along for months, only to promptly jump ship when we attempt to cultivate something more serious.
Looking for the Relationship Guy Changes the Game
So many women have an almost-obsession with bagging the guy who wasn’t looking for anything serious – it feeds our ego, making us feel special and capable of changing a man. But where’s the excitement for the guy who actually wants us in his life, who doesn’t need to be convinced to keep us around?
Dating with the intention of finding a man who’s ready to commit changes the game – we spend our precious time with the very best brand of guys: the ones who are mature enough to know what he wants, respectful enough to think about more than his desire in the moment, and reliable enough to never leave us wondering what his deal is.
Dating the Relationship Guy Definitely Isn’t Boring Either
Dating the guy who’s in it for the long run doesn’t mean all the fun has to go out the window, left behind with the good-time guy, by the way. Chemistry doesn’t stop being a crucial factor in finding the right man, it’s just no longer the only factor. But the best thing about the chemistry we feel with the relationship guy? We aren’t constantly worried thinking about when it’ll disappear because it relies on more than a fleeting feeling.
Chemistry doesn’t stop being a crucial factor in finding the right man, it’s just no longer the only factor.
Dating for marriage means the chemistry we feel will be based on an enduring love, intellectual stimulation, and the ability to be emotionally vulnerable with each other. We’ll have the freedom to plan for the future, embrace the unknown with him, and build a relationship that we’re confident in and at peace with. The butterflies we feel won’t be because of anxiety, but instead, because of sincere happiness. Doesn’t that sound a lot more exciting than wondering if a guy will call again next weekend?
Our intentions when dating will affect the quality of suitors we come across – if we’re hoping to find a truly good guy to marry, we have to be looking in the right place.
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