"You're just picky."
Sound familiar? If you're single or you've ever been single in your adult life (which is pretty much everyone), you've probably heard this explanation for your seemingly inexplicable and unrepentant singleness.
Why do people have to say it like it's a bad thing?
I think people should be more picky when it comes to dating and relationships and who they eventually marry. Yes, you heard me right. I said people should be more, not less, picky. Scandalous, I know. But that's just how I roll.
See, I don't know about you, but I don't like to make promises I can't keep. And I seem to remember from the 47 weddings I've gone to that there was something about " 'til death do us part" in the vows. If I'm going to make a promise like that, you bet I'm going to be pretty discriminating about who I make that promise to. Unless, of course, I'm still single at 85.
And it's not just marriage. I think people should be picky about who they date. I see people who go out a couple of times, and BAM! Instant Relationship. You know you know people like that, too. They're inseparable. They "we" all over the place. And they've known each other for two weeks.
Even a romantic realist like me has been the victim of Instant Relationship. Which pretty much led to Instant Breakup. Feel free to call me names if you want, but I need to know someone longer than a month before he starts making plans for "us" without consulting me.
Maybe I'm just too practical and unromantic. But there are a lot of people who are in unhappy relationships. And I wonder if their unhappiness could have been avoided if they had just asked themselves a few questions before they jumped into a relationship -- and then marriage.
"Do I really actually like this person?"
"Would I be friends with this person if he or she wasn't so cute?"
"Do I like this person enough to give up spending time with my friends, family and doing what I like to do to spend time with him or her?"
"Am I only hanging out with this person because I'm lonely or need a plus one for a work or social function?"
"Do I like this person enough to one day sacrifice precious closet space to his/her clothes and Happy Meal toy collection?"
OK, the last question is more for the ladies, but you see where I'm going.
It's easy to get caught up in the fun and the emotions of someone new. But life's both too short and too long to not be picky about the people you share it with.
Gina Bever is a local public relations professional and woman-about-town. She's known for providing her friends -- male and female -- with thousands of hours of free therapy and (asked for) relationship advice.
ASK GINA: Send questions about relationships to Gina at malecall@timesfree press.com.
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