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The (Bare Minimum) List of Dating Non-Negotiables

The (Bare Minimum) List of Dating Non-Negotiables

The dating scene is tiring, especially for girls who are ready to commit and lay a solid foundation for a healthy relationship. You log in to your dating app and match with colorful personalities, only to discover, many weeks later, that what you two have is not sustainable. The other person’s either not serious, not committed, or not ready.

Here’s my take on the matter: people go on dates without a clear picture of what they want. 

Sure, they’ll say they want a relationship. But with whom? With what kind of person? Do we just accept any degree of effort from any kind of person that comes our way?

What I’ve learned from my experience and the experiences of my friends is that there should be a hard list of non-negotiables. This filters out people who 1) are likely to waste your time; and 2) are incompatible with your goals, plans, and life views.

With that, I present the bare minimum list of dating non-negotiables:

Intentions are Clear

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The first filter is intention. If you’re intent on a long-term relationship, your date should be, too. 

It’s tempting to explore the possibilities with someone who’s “just here for fun” or continue the fling with someone who’s “not looking for a relationship right now.” Your gut tells you to take that leap of faith and hope that this person, who clearly isn’t looking to commit, will, well, commit.

But won’t similar intentions give you peace of mind? Isn’t it much more fulfilling to go out with someone who’s confident enough to tell you they’re here for the long haul, ready to commit, compromise, and care for you?

Manners Maketh Man

Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

Nothing is sexier than a person with impeccable manners. 

I’m not talking about knowing which utensil goes with what dish during a fancy dinner. I’m talking about looking for the trash bin instead of throwing the wrapper on the side of the street. Cleaning up after themselves and not relying on anyone to fix their mess. Saying “please” and “thank you.” Not prying when you say “I’m not comfortable sharing it.” Talking during dates instead of scrolling through their phones.

Open communication also falls under manners. It’s courtesy to listen actively and express your concerns clearly. Cancelling dates reasonably, politely saying that your choice of movie isn’t their cup of tea, and tactfully offering advice.

These are all signs he or she has a good head on their shoulders. They carry themselves well and are considerate of others.

Beware of dates who are rude to the servers and janitors, openly flout rules, and disregard your comfort. These are red flags.

Control Over Temper

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It’s never nice to be on the receiving end of a yell fest, and they should know that, too. 

Date someone who has enough self-control not to yell, even when mad, even when provoked. Choose someone who is more powerful than their temper, who wouldn’t dare lay a hand on you even during the most heated arguments.

Calm discussions are the hallmark of a healthy relationship. Trust me, you don’t want to spend half your dating life screaming at each other as you two walk home. You’d rather be with someone who argues with dignity.  Who knows when to agree to disagree.

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Parallel Moral Views

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Not all cases call for a truce. When we’re talking about values, we can’t simply agree to disagree.

When you’re looking for a person whom you’ll spend your life with, you must have the same fundamental views on life. Congruent core beliefs mean fewer chances of life-altering conflicts down the road.

You don’t have to have the same set of moral views — just make sure your potential partner possesses the values that you think are most important. We all have a hierarchy of values, after all.

This could include attitudes on pre-marital sex, marriage, familial obligations, or religion. Some consider their partners’ views on money, privacy, and parenthood. I, for one, look for the same stand on racial equality, gender equality, LGBTQIA+ rights, and politics because I want to know how a person sees themselves as a part of the greater community.

Respectful of You, Your Space, and Your Dreams

Photo by Chris Palomar on Unsplash

Some girls are clingy, some girls are aloof. Whatever type you are, a good partner will work with you to strike a balance. They will be respectful of your time and space. They’ll respect your consent and stop at the first “no.”

This goes for your dreams, too. Choose someone who shows practical support for your life goals. Practical, meaning, they’ll have the courage and care to tell you when it’s no longer realistic or healthy. 

It feels as if, with this list, we’re gunning for a perfect Ryan Gosling. But if you take a closer look, all we’re asking is the bare minimum — a decent, respectful, and considerate person. You are entitled to that kind of stable love.

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