Dating. In today’s culture, that term can mean all manner of things, but it increasingly refers to casual encounters, like hookups and flings. So, if you’re someone who’s dating with purpose and with long-term goals in mind, like getting married and having children, you may find yourself frustrated.
Article Updated: 1/22/2021
The idea that seeing someone is meant to lead to commitment and kids just isn’t as widespread as it used to be, and as far too many of us already know, dating when the other person doesn’t want the same things as you do can be heartbreaking. Literally.
How many relationships out there have ended because the people involved didn’t have the same plans for their lives? She wanted to get married, but he didn’t. He wanted kids, she didn’t. She held certain values, but he didn’t.
Stories like this are so common nowadays because modern dating culture preaches that we should all do whatever “feels” right at the time, and go wherever our emotions pull us. In fact, for a lot of people, it may even be considered weird and inappropriate to bring up things like our values and our views on marriage and children on early dates. But we should do just that if we're going to date with purpose.
Dating with Purpose Means Talking about the Important Stuff
A potential partner’s goals and values, in general, all speak to their long-term compatibility with you. Dating with purpose means not just searching for someone who gives you butterflies, but also searching for someone whose goals and values align with your own. Someone who isn’t just cute and fun, but with whom you can also build your life.
A potential partner’s goals and values, in general, all speak to their long-term compatibility with you.
Although it may fly in the face of everything magazines like Cosmo have told us, when you’re getting to know someone, it shouldn’t be considered taboo to ask them what, exactly, they’re looking for in a potential relationship. That doesn’t mean asking someone to marry you right then and there, mind you. But if you’re both looking for different things, it makes sense to find out sooner rather than later.
Where To Find Such a Partner?
“Sure, finding someone who wants the same things as you and settling down sounds great,” you might be thinking. But the next thing to pop into your head is probably going to be, “Now, where would I find this magical person?”
Well, that’s the hard part. Online dating is extremely common right now for anyone who’s looking. And although it may be harder (but not impossible!) to find a good match on apps that simply tell you to swipe right on anyone who looks hot, there are also sites out there that cater to specific groups or that use questionnaires to allow people to get really specific about the things they’re looking for in a partner.
The more you can ensure that your partner wants the same things that you do, the less you’ll find yourselves at odds with them later on.
Platforms that allow you to be as specific as possible when screening for potential dates may leave you with fewer “matches,” but the probability of those matches leading to something real is a lot higher when you know you already have more in common than just liking each other’s faces.
Of course, dating will never be an exact science, since things like chemistry, which is so important in long-term relationships, can’t really be quantified. However, the more you can ensure that your partner wants the same things that you do, the less you’ll find yourselves at odds with them later on.
Stick to Your Standards
When I’ve spoken about my own experiences from when I was single, about not wanting to date guys once I found out they weren’t interested in marriage, children, or my values, I’ve been called cold, close-minded, and exclusive. Romantic rejection is never easy, but if there’s ever one area where it’s OK to be picky, to be exclusive, it’s dating. No one has a right to tell you that you need to be interested in dating a particular person, or that you should give up the goals you’ve set for yourself and your future.
No one has a right to tell you that you need to be interested in dating a particular person.
Relationships (and life in general) are full of ups and downs, and I don’t think there’s ever going to be a couple that’s perfect in every single way, 100% of the time. However, by ensuring that you and your future husband have a strong foundation, and want to strive for the same things in your lives, you can mitigate the seriousness of any conflicts that might arrive.
After all, it’s a lot easier to argue about what the best school for your children might be, for example, than whether you should even have children at all.