Choosing a Boyfriend is NOT The Same as Choosing a Husband

Choosing a Boyfriend is NOT The Same as Choosing a Husband
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My client, Leslie, asked me recently, “When did you ‘just know’ that it was right with your wife? When were you able to tell for sure that she was ‘the one’?”

After a brief pause, I said, in all seriousness:

“Six months after we were married.”

Leslie was stunned.

After all, she comes from a culture that is all about undeniable feelings, Hollywood fantasies, and powerful mythology surrounding the notion of love.

You probably do, too.

Like it or not, dating is ALWAYS an extended audition, with both parties consistently gathering information and assessing their futures, up until they reach the altar.

Right now, I’m going to blow your notion away — not because I feel like killing your dreams, but because your dreams are holding you back from finding true happiness.

Look back on your life.

How many times did you “just know” that a man was “the one?”

How many times did he actually turn out to BE “the one?”

The defense rests, your honor.

So if we can be wildly misguided in our feelings, what do our feelings actually teach us?

Nothing.

Literally every single woman reading this has had a feeling that felt true, but turned out to be false.

Maybe he freaked out after three intense months together.

Maybe he enjoyed your company but never actually saw himself marrying you.

Maybe he turned out to be a liar, drug addict, or serial cheater.

These are things that you couldn’t have known on date one.

The only way you could have learned them was to keep your eyes open and keep open to the possibility that you don’t “just know” anything.

There’s always new information pouring in that should inform your decisions.

And if it comes as a shock when a guy suddenly dumps you, it shouldn’t. Because YOU also reserve the right to change your mind as time goes by.

You don’t fall in love with every guy you meet.

You may determine that he’s financially irresponsible or not a good father figure.

You may determine that the attraction isn’t there and that you need to feel more.

The point is that you can only figure this stuff out over the course of TIME.

Which is why, like it or not, dating is ALWAYS an extended audition, with both parties consistently gathering information and assessing their futures, up until they reach the altar.

This is not a crime. This is not selfish. This is smart. This is practical. This is what prevents us from making huge mistakes and marrying the wrong people.

If a man dumps you after two years, it’s because he felt it would be a mistake to marry you and THEN want to dump you. That’s a GOOD decision.

And vice versa. Whether you break up with a man after a week or a year, you’ve come to the conclusion that he’s not the right guy for you, which frees him up to find the woman of his dreams. Another good decision.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is that every day I talk to private clients who make two colossal mistakes when it comes to assessing men.

I’m guessing you do the same.

1) You fall in love with a guy within a few weeks, then spend 6 months trying to preserve that feeling, EVEN WHEN HE TREATS YOU LIKE CRAP.

This is a classic case of “you just know” being really misleading. All you know is that you’re intoxicated by him — what you seem to ignore is that he’s a terrible partner who doesn’t treat you with kindness or consistency and has absolutely no desire for a future with you.

2) You think that you MUST know in a short period of time whether he’s the one. And if you don’t have that “feeling,” you move on.

Bad call.

Here’s why.

Choosing a boyfriend is NOT the same as choosing a husband.

And you need to stop making it feel that way right now.

If you take your profile down to focus on a promising new man — even if you don’t have butterflies — it’s not a mistake.

You’re giving a new relationship a chance to grow and breathe.

If you give it a chance and it doesn’t feel right after a month or two or three, you move on, gracefully.

But if you refuse to give any new relationship a chance unless you have that “you just know” feeling, you will find yourself devastated over and over, because clearly you DON’T just know…

Stop thinking that just because you call a man your boyfriend that he HAS to be your husband.

Plus, you’ll never get to see what it’s like to enjoy the act of discovery that comes with merely committing to try on a new relationship.

I’ve often said, “If you’re always moving, you can’t build anything.”

And if you never give a guy a shot unless he takes your breath away, you are destroying your chances for lasting love.

It’s no secret. I wasn’t blown away by my wife. She wasn’t blown away either.

The entire time we were dating I was happy, but I questioned the relationship because it wasn’t what I thought it was supposed to look like.

When I finally proposed, I made an educated guess: I’d learned so much from my dating coaching practice, that I felt I’d be making a huge mistake if I let her go… just to find someone a few years younger with a similar background.

So was I SURE that we were “meant to be” and “soulmates” and all that?

No.

But I was sure about this:

Every relationship where I was sure in the past blew up in my face.

This relationship was, by far, the easiest, healthiest, warmest one I’d ever had.

And if it didn’t meet what I THOUGHT it was supposed to feel like, that just meant that my EXPECTATIONS were WRONG.

Not the relationship.

My expectations.

Your expectations.

Of how it’s “supposed” to feel.

Were wrong.

I took a leap of faith based on my knowledge as a dating coach.

But you don’t have to. You can learn from what I’m sharing here.

I’m now 39 and happily married.

We own a big house in the San Fernando Valley.

We have a ten-month old daughter who makes us smile every day.

We’re having a New Year’s Eve karaoke party for couples in a few days.

And we both giggle when we think how easy it would have been to pass each other up, merely because we didn’t meet each other’s preconceived image of perfection.

Starting today:

– Stop falling in love with men you barely know. You need YEARS to really assess his worthiness as a life partner.

– Stop giving a free pass to men who give you that FEELING. Chances are, that FEELING allows you to ignore a TON of red flags.

– Stop thinking that just because you call a man your boyfriend that he HAS to be your husband. Dating is a 2-3 year audition — and at any point, either party has the right to break it off if he/she feels that the next 30 years would be a mistake.

– Stop thinking that you have to “just know.” Your gut has led you astray every single time. Maybe this is a good time to use your head a little bit.

Please let me know what you think of this post in the comments section below.

And if I don’t hear from you — if you’re one of the readers who lurks, but never posts – thanks for making this blog into the success it’s been.

Over 1 million people have visited in 2011 to learn more about dating, relationships, and the opposite sex, and I’m honored to be a part of the conversation.

Warmest wishes and a very Happy New Year.

Evan

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Comments:

  1. 101
    Jennifer

    Evan – I find your blogs and messages so inspiring. Having been in a relationship since my early 20s, I never really dated until I got separated 2 years ago. I am grateful to have you as a guide on my journey. Thank you!

    1. 101.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Thank you, Jennifer. Always nice to hear. Enjoy reading and best of luck on your journey.

  2. 102
    Nassu

    About the colossal mistake 1), why it happens and how to stop doing it?

  3. 103
    Madina

    Great article! I was so confused when I started to date guys. Had no idea for what to look for in the other person, assumed that my feelings are the only true indicator of   “the one”. I’m still concerned with these questions, but feel like slowly starting to understand more of what do I actually need and which expectations I should have for the relationships and which I should just       adapt to reality. Thank you for the article! It definitely pushes me to the right line of thought.

  4. 104
    Wendy

    Perfect timing. Thanks!

  5. 105
    Elizabeth Castelo

    Thank you for consistently pulling me off the pity pot and helping me realize that it’s my behavior that keeps me single and NOT who I am.

  6. 106
    Connie Sybert

    This is the best dating advise I have heard in a long time!!! You are so talking directly to me. I need this straight forward honest advise. Thanks so much for posting.

    Blessings to you,

    Connie

  7. 107
    Sammi

    love your work Evan â¤

  8. 108
    Jennifer

    Love reading what you have to say..dont always agree on everything..definitely agree on this. Thanks for writing 😊

  9. 109
    Ilona

    Totally   agree !  I even think it applies to all cultures and continents. Thx!

  10. 110
    Julie

    I agree great blog!

  11. 111
    BDS

    Evan, thanks so much for this great advice. I turn to your blog and books often and so appreciate your spot on viewpoint. I just had a new guy ask to be my boyfriend and I was thinking I might not feel the same way, this blig was a real loss off and I feel like I can just enjoy the journey and not worry about if he’s “the one”. God knows I need experience with relationships rather than serial dating. Good point!

    Thanks as always!

    BDS

  12. 112
    Itee

    Just one word.
    WOW.
    I never read through but I just couldn’t stop.
    I’m speechless. You described how I feel, perfectly. Thankyou. I have so much more clarity now.

  13. 113
    jat

    NOT being taught how to assess a man/relationship has ruined many women. You are literally saving live’s!!
    Thank you forever.

  14. 114
    jo

    Evan, this is a fabulous letter.

    I can imagine that one response to this letter you’d get from women you work with is: ‘But how can I overcome that feeling of intoxication? You know how strong crushes can be!’ One way to think about it (a twist on Karmic Equation’s comment on a different thread) is that the crush is the same as any other chemical entering the brain and causing strong reactions that have no permanence. It only approaches permanence if you keep going for yet another hit. So treat the crush like the scientific process it really is – hormones affecting the brain – and honor it (don’t beat yourself up over it), because it’s natural. But don’t call it ‘Love’, at least not till it’s passed other important tests – and don’t expect it to result in a sustainable permanent state.

  15. 115
    Venus

    I recently started reading through your doc “The Pyramid of Love” and came across this blog.

    Last week I finally decided to stop putting up with my now ex-boyfriend’s lack of follow-through, his constant excuses for not being able to plan things (he tried to tell me “things change” as a reason for his lack of planning), blah blah blah.

    The first year we were together was pretty good. But then the last 6 months, after I thought it was best that we not live together (we lived together for a year), have not been good at all. He has been acting like a completely different person than he was the first year. Part of why I asked him to move out was in “hopes” he would get it together, and maybe reflect (yeah I know I was holding my breath). I was waiting to see how he would act when he moved out. And boy did I see a lot.

    I was feeling extremely stupid about this situation, and feeling bad that I “wasted” almost 2 years (we met 2 years ago around this time of year). But this article made me realize that I did myself a huge favor and walked away but without really looking at the situation for what it is – versus storming off feeling slighted for no reason. It’s tough, but you’re right, the things I found out about him weren’t things that reveal themselves right away because we all put on our best behavior for a short while.

    I am finally realizing that I DO make good decisions. And that I DO NOT accept poor behavior. Well, ok to be fair, I’m trying to cut that acceptance threshold down so I can avoid unnecessary tears and heartache.

    But anyway, I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am for your article.

    Wish me luck here….. I am keeping my head high and regrouping to remain focused and happy.

  16. 116
    Venus

    Ah correction to my comment, I mean to say
    “I did myself a huge favor and walked away but NOT without really looking at the situation for what it is” (meaning I feel like I made a pretty informed decision before walking away).

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