Dating is like a job interview…

Call me old fashioned by why don’t you just live in sin?”, my mother actually said this to me several years ago while I was dating my husband. Funny right? My mother is the only person I know who has lived with a boyfriend and actually made it work.  18 years ago she and my now step-dad Byron began dating.  It wasn’t long before Byron moved in with us and that was ok because he was a great guy and moving in seemed to be the normal thing to do, right?  It wasn’t until 2 years ago they actually, officially tied the knot and got married.  I have never known any other couple to live together before getting married and have the relationship actually work out in the long run.  Think about it.  How many people do you know that have been together that long or longer who started off their marriage by living together first?  Yes, there are some exceptions out there, my parents being one of them.

When my husband Glenn and I began dating we took things very very slow. 1) We both had kids. 2) We were both recently divorced. 3) We didn’t want to screw this up.  For those several reasons, and including religious and moral beliefs, we decided not to live together before marriage.  I am an avid Dr. Laura fan and I have adopted her rule of the 2 year dating rule and the no shacking up rule.  If you date someone for 2 years, you will experience a lot with this person.  2 sets of holidays with families, financial ups and downs, blended family issues, home repairs, and other normal daily life stresses.  The kinds of stresses that can hurt a marriage if you haven’t dealt with them before with your significant other.

Dating is like a long job interview.  How does this person deal with his family, his kids, his finances, his anger, his ex, his friends, etc. If you truly want to spend the rest of your life with this person, why would you jump right in and give him the job and hope for the best?  That’s what you’re doing if you begin living together with this person while still dating.  On the job training? You are managing your life and if you hire every yahoo that applies for the job, how successful do you think you will be?

During our time dating, I had some severe financial difficulties partially stemming from my previous divorce.  Of course life would have been much easier, in theory, if we had just moved in together and only had one mortgage to pay and one set of bills to pay.  My job even offered health insurance coverage to him and his kids IF we lived together! This is when my mom quoted the famous line from above that I swear I will print on a t-shirt one day and make millions from!  But since we chose a different path, he and his kids would have to wait on that health coverage, and financial struggles would continue.  Did we make it out of that mess? Sure. Did it prepare us for how to deal with future financial stresses? Absolutely!

Anything fabulous is worth waiting for.  My husband and I have been together for 5 1/2 years and tomorrow celebrate 3 years of marriage.  I trust him completely and he still puts butterflies in my tummy!  A good man is worth waiting for and if he waits for you…he’s a good man.

 

 

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The Best Advise? The List!

What is the best advise you ever received?  A friend of mine asked this question on Facebook the other day and ironically, the best advise I ever got was from her.  She told me to make a list.

After 12 years in an unhappy and abusive marriage, I finally got up the nerve to leave. That was exactly 5 years and 9 months ago to date.  It was no doubt the hardest and scariest thing I had ever done, but I did it.  I will skip all the dramatic details and long term effects I had to deal with and to some degree, still dealing with, but will tell you that it was the best decision I ever made.

*Side Note* If you are in an abusive relationship and want to get out, email me asap chanda_gunter@yahoo.com

So here I am, a 30 year old, single mom of 2 and on my own for the first time in my entire adult life. ( mistake #1)  My friend, who was also my roommate at the time, told me to make a list of everything you want in a person and that you can not make this list while currently in a relationship.  The point of the list is, love is blind. When we get into a relationship we lose sight of ourself and sometimes our core values because we really really like the other person.  By creating a list of everything we want, no matter how small or silly it might seem, some of those things are really very important to you. For example… if you really want someone who leaves the toilet seat down or puts the toilet paper on the right way or tells you they love you every single day, then write that down. If the toilet paper thing is important to you and your new guy doesn’t do it, 5 years down the road when things aren’t cute anymore and your breastfeeding a newborn, the toilet paper thing will drive you up the wall.

It’s who you are, your core being, your core value. Do not compromise it.

So I made a list.  I took a yellow legal pad of paper and wrote two columns of what I wanted, then put it away. When I met Glenn (my husband now), I took out the list after a couple of weeks of dating him and started to check off a few things.  He graduated college (check), he had been in the military (check), he had a close family (check), he went to church regularly (check), he had put up Christmas lights in November (check)…you get the idea.  After about 4 months of dating, I pulled out that list having had forgotten about it for a while.  At this point in our relationship I was head over heels in love with him.  When I started checking off the list I realized I had checked off all 2 columns except for 3 items. 3 ITEMS!!! Could this really be the perfect man??? For me, yes he was.  I was able to put in perspective what I really wanted, what was important to me. And then I got it. Luck you might say, Karma, channeling energy, Divine Intervention, whatever it was it worked.  We dated for 2 1/2 years before getting married and did not live to

 

gether, he moved into my house the day before the wedding.

So here is my advise to you…

#1) Do not get married before 25 (and I would highly suggest waiting until you are 30. You change as a person so much between 20 and 30. Think of it like this…when you were 6 you probably liked Barbie’s but 10 years later you hated them right? Same thing, seriously)

#2) Do not live together before marriage (How many people do you know that lived together before and are still together?)

#3) Date for at least 2 years before marriage

#4) Do not waste a ton of money on a huge wedding that you won’t really remember (Spend it on a house or furniture)

#5) Live alone or at least with a roommate. You will learn a lot!

#6) Make a list. Trust me, it works.

I am not a relationship expert by any means.  I chose to take the advise of a friend, trust myself and listen to myself, learn from my past mistakes, and let a good guy in.  The part I left out was the 2nd greatest piece of advise I ever got, again from the same friend.  After about 6 weeks of dating I almost broke up with Glenn and for no real reason other than he was just “different”.  I didn’t know what it was, but he was just different.  My friend said to me “Oh Chanda, you’re just not used to someone treating you so nice.” From that day on, I looked at Glenn in a different light.  He was different, and I almost let go of a good guy because he wasn’t “my type”.

#7)  Look for someone who isn’t “your type”.

Good luck!