It’s really wonderful if you can find a partner who is financially stable and also checks off all those other “wants” on your list. There is a problem, though, if you’re basing your attraction to someone on them being financially stable, or physically attractive, because you could be- and very well likely are- setting yourself up to wake up miserable one day.
This could happen because your partner suddenly loses that financial stability, or the physical attraction fades. Even if the physical attraction doesn’t fade- life has a way of greatly diminishing what you’re physically capable of with age. Then, there is always the possibility of a health problem popping up. If your relationship is based on the physical & financial aspects, what’s left when you get too sick to work and your body starts breaking down? Nothing- unless you’ve based the foundation of your relationship on something more significant and meaningful.
Financial stability and good looks are bonuses– they should never impact how you care about someone. If someone can’t love you when you’re broke, or not society’s vision of “hot, ” “sexy, ” or anything else- then you shouldn’t WANT them to love you. They aren’t worth that kind of effort because when things get rough they aren’t going to stick around- and things WILL get rough. For a life partner, you should be looking for someone who is in it for all of it– good, bad, ugly, awful, wonderful, joyous, horrendous- anything life can throw at you.
This is not to say that those people who just don’t want to work, or think that because they are pretty- someone owes them- are justified in their thinking that being lazy or entitled is perfectly fine, so people should just “accept them” that way. No- that’s not how that works. If you expect anyone to invest their time and emotions into you, you have to at least be doing what you are capable of to be a productive member of society and your relationship. Expecting someone to take care of you- just because you exist– is unreasonable, as is expecting more of your partner than you do yourself.
Setting unrealistic expectations always seems to be a bit of a trend on the dating scene, but it can really get out of hand when people start setting conditions and having stipulations to getting married. I understand that prenups are popular among the high society types that have a bunch of money, but I personally wouldn’t be marrying someone who felt that they needed to question that I would be fair, and give them all that is theirs, if we split.
On the flipside of that– I’m also that person that would go to my future spouse and hand them a legal document stating that I will not try to take anything that was solely theirs, and things that are ours, will be split fairly. Maybe that’s why I can’t really imagine myself faced with the issue of my partner trying to make conditions to our relationship. I would have already handled anything like that far before the relationship got to marriage status. That’s just me. Stipulations shouldn’t be needed if everyone is being real from the beginning and you are truly meant to be with each other.
You have to be the person you expect them to be and then try to do even better whenever possible. Focus on finding a partner who can adapt and grow with you. Never choose based on a fixed version you know of someone. People are ever-changing because life forces that– whether we like it or not- unless you are very lucky, or you never really live. Life will give challenges and it’s your responsibility to make the best life you can in spite of, and sometimes even because of, those challenges. If you and who you’ve chosen to be with can’t adapt through the inevitable changes in a way that bonds you closer together instead of tearing you apart, your relationship will grow stagnate. You’ll both feel isolated and abandoned, leaving room for any temptations to create problems in your relationship.
Cheating happens because someone isn’t getting something they feel they need. Now, why they feel they need whatever it is they’re missing is a whole different issue and can involve a crazy amount of psychology. Don’t fall into the trap of loving for the wrong reasons. Get someone you can be absolutely real with because they will see you at your very worst and very best.
Serious relationships are all about adapting, forgiving, communicating, and hanging in there. Look for those qualities in your partner and make sure your core philosophies mesh. It’s the only way to create lasting, strong relationships that can handle all the madness life throws at you.
If you want to read a piece specifically about marriage, I have a piece on Vocal you can read here: