A Firewall Against Future Heartache and Disappointment
You have dated Henry for three weeks. What’s amazing is that you like him! Hooray!! These days, in the dating world, wanting to see someone for a second date is almost a miracle. Three dates and you’re hopeful that something substantial might develop.
You reach out to Mr. Wonderful Monday morning at 9. Nothing important… “Hi. Wanted to say hello and see what’s up. Give a call when you have a chance.” Monday comes and goes. Tuesday morning, afternoon and early evening come and go. Finally you get a message at 10 p.m. on Wednesday of “Hey, got your message. Good to hear from you. Call me when you have a chance”.
How you understand these events is why minimum standards are so important. I’m speaking of minimum, not maximum standards. This is not about Henry having to be six feet tall with a full head of hair and broad shoulders, is smart, curious and sensitive. This is not about needing/wanting Henry to having a great family and quality friends and makes a terrific living. No, this is about minimum standards that, if not reached, should be a huge sign that says to at the least slow down or, at most, pull the ripcord.
Obviously the “minimum standard” in the above example would be something like: “If I reach out to someone I care about, it is important that that person respond to me in some way in a reasonable about of time.”
“Reasonable” is an important point. This can be subjective but I’m assuming that we are all relatively rational and mature people here. A message at 9 a.m. doesn’t require a reply in ten minutes or even two hours, but at some time during the day and message like; “Got your message. I’m totally slammed today and tomorrow looks crazy as well. I’ll reach out by Wednesday evening.” That type of message takes all of 30 seconds to write or say and can easily fall into the minimum standards category.
When you lower minimum standards or you put them to the side because you choose to believe the reason they get broken (I am so busy that I couldn’t get back to you) you create a relationship precedent that is very likely problematic and certainly subpar of what you should want and expect.
What are your minimum standards? Make a list of the qualities/behaviors that are things that you simply won’t allow in your relationship. They might include drug or alcohol use, flirting, career/motivation/ family values to name a view. Adhering to these minimum standards will allow you to cut off relationships before they become emotionally charged and complicated. They will prevent heartache while serving as a strong foundation for self-esteem and self care.