“Make sure you are not falling in love with the POTENTIAL of someone. We must know the difference between loving people for who they already are vs. loving the idea of what they COULD be. Make sure you are loving him for who he is today. His potential should be the icing…not the cake.”
– Jada Pinkett
All I have to say is IF JADA DON’T SAY THAT THING!!!! Woooo you guys just don’t know how true this is!
Q: How do I know?
A: I’ve lived it. (more times than once)
There is a significant difference between falling for ‘the potential’ of someone and ‘who they are’. People can have potential ALL DAY LONG, but there is no guarantee that they’ll act and live up TO that potential. I’m not married, and don’t profess to be a relationship expert, but I’ve been through enough and have witnessed enough from friends, etc to know a little something.
Case in point:
About 2 years ago I dated a guy who was almost 10 years older than me (the largest age difference I’d ever experienced while dating). When I first met him, developing anything with him was the furthest thing from my mind. But over time, I’d see him around town or at mutual friends’ get-togethers until one day he invited me to a concert. By that time I’d had enough conversations to find out that even though he had decent conversation, liked the same music I did, had a nice sense of humor and was trying to do the ‘best’ he could in life. Surprisingly we had a great time on our ‘date’ and the friendship quickly turned into ‘relationship’. As more time passed the ‘newness’ took a turn for the not-so-great as I found out that 1 month (super fresh baby) before he met me, he had a little girl with a girl he ‘claimed’ was nothing but a one night stand (insert serious side eye). I also found out that he worked in food delivery and was staying with family to save on rent. About 2 months prior to me meeting him, he’d been living with his grandparents. I would ask questions to find out why he wasn’t further along in life and he said it was a combination of bad decisions and not knowing any better. He told me of all these dreams he had of being a bondsman and being an event promoter and so on and so forth. When I suggested that he be more realistic he basically called me a ‘dream killer’. ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME knows that I not only have dreams but goals and take the necessary steps to work towards those goals. I’ve also worked in Corporate America full-time since graduating college and I’ve been the owner of a budding photography company since I was 19 years old. I understand that people have dreams, but they’ll stay dreams if you never act on them. Every time I tried to help him network or suggest something he could do to go further in his career, he shot every helping hand down with EXCUSE AFTER EXCUSE!
I convinced myself to stay with this guy for like a year despite my spirit of discernment telling me that this was a HUGE waste of time and a HUGE mistake. Eventually, I got the message and broke things off with him. My life was changed FOREVER by that relationship. I learned so much about myself and what I could work with and what I could NOT work with.
I was dating the guy for his POTENTIAL. He was a pretty decent guy. He had potential. But that’s ALL he had. Any guy I date from now on doesn’t have to be perfect (because who is), but he’s got to have his life basically together. He can have dreams, but he has to live each day with his eyes peeled, taking the necessary steps to grow in his faith and grow in his career. I’m doing it, so the guy I end up with will have to be doing the same.
Some people may say ‘that’s selfish’. Well they can stymie that because think about it: why should I settle to make someone else happy, when it’s not making me happy. If my boyfriend/husband feels blessed to have me, do I not have the right to be happy to be with him.
You’ve got to think people. Love smart.