Will We Grow Together or Apart?

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Hey Wendy,

What are the signs of a guy who is willing and committed to learning and developing himself?

How can I tell if a guy is truly willing and committed to grow in relationship with me?

How can I find such a guy?

Carmen B.

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Hey Carmen,

Great question! I get this one a lot.

Let’s start with the where: In the real world, you’ll meet him at work/workshops/parties/events/charity functions etc. Oh, you don’t go to those? Then online. That’s it—sorry! Online is how it’s done these days. This is how you get access to available guys outside of your friend circle.

Next, once you connect, is he your guy?

Well, there are some super-obvious signs if he’s not gonna be your guy.

Like when you ask, “What do you love about your life?” and he says, “Um…I don’t know,”

or, “Now that the world is starting to open back up, what are you excited about doing?” and he says, “Um…I guess I’ll do what I’ve been doing?”

These answers are obvious red flags when you’re screening, right?

But what about the guy who talks about being growth-minded and loves to learn new things right there in his online dating profile?

Is he your guy?

Maybe…

I once went on a first date with a guy I was really excited about after reading his profile. He was articulate, funny, smart, and seemed full of passion for life. When I sat down across the booth from him at Sherry’s Pies, that’s not the guy who showed up. I wondered if the person who wrote his profile was single and available, because it sure wasn’t him.

Even if your future date shares on his online profile that he’s into growing with you, how can you tell if it’s just lip service or the real deal?

You’ll learn the answer when you ask him to do something with you, like take a class or go for that long hike you’ve been wanting to conquer, and he says “yes.” If he sounds genuinely enthusiastic pre-date, then:

Yay!

Victory.

He’s the guy who’s down to grow with you.

Or is he?

He was down for the first time, but is he down for the seventh or the seventieth time?

Here’s what I’m trying to say here:

The things that you most care about when it comes to finding a partner are often things you just cannot screen for in advance. Things like will he:

  • Grow with you
  • Have staying power
  • Be faithful to your agreements
  • Say what he means and means what he says
  • Bring out the best in you
  • Make you feel safe
  • Calm your nerves
  • Have your back

You’re only going to learn these answers over time, when his actions match the words he says to you over, and over, and over again.

This is not a man thing. This is a human thing.

You can only trust and count on people for:

  • What they have a track record for
  • And/or what they’re clearly dying to provide

A track record comes with nothing but time, one action after another after another.

Date someone long enough that you know what you can count on them for, even if it means investing in a few dudes up front who may turn out to be nuh-uhs after the getting-to-know-you process. You’ll never know until you get to the part where he can start showing you what kind of man he is, not just telling. I know this is not the easy path, but if you’re looking for a happy life, it’s worth doing.

Good luck and happy dating!