James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.
Nothing worthwhile comes easily.
If you want easy, simple, or convenient, then dating these days is perfect for you!
Some people may read this and immediately recoil at the idea of dating being ‘easy’ or ‘simple.’ They will rant about how things are so complicated now and how nobody wants any commitment and is just looking to hook up or chat forever and never meet.
Which is exactly my point.
It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s convenient — because it’s all on the surface.
These things are not trying, or challenging, or difficult. They do not require depth or substance or emotional commitment — they just require swiping right a few times and an invite for ‘Netflix and chill.’
But if you want a real, solid, long-lasting relationship — there are some things you’re going to have to admit to yourself (and your partner) before you actually get there.
1. Things are going to suck, eventually.
If you’re expecting the fairy tale ending, that’s not how things actually work. If you think that my hundreds of articles and videos about romance are meant to imply that things are always sunshine and rainbows — then I’m sorry — that was never my intention.
The reality of life is that every relationship is going to face challenges. There are going to be illnesses. Family struggles. Disagreements. Disappointments. REALITY. The sooner you understand things are not going to be perfect — the sooner you’ll be able to accept all phases of a relationship. Good, and bad.
2. You’ve got to lose a lot before you win.
So, you’ve been on 3 dates and you’re ready to give up, eh? Well, such is life (or c’est la vie, as the French say). Dating is a lot like playing the lottery — sometimes you’ve got to lose a lot before you win. But, if you never play, then you’re guaranteed to not win.
3. You’re expecting way too much from people.
You absolutely need to set a certain level of standards for yourself, with one million percent certainty. You need to make sure you never (ever) settle for less than you deserve, and only give your time to people who truly earn it.
However — I think we are taking this a little too far and expecting perfection from people. We need to be flexible and realize that nobody is perfect. We need to understand that we need to make compromises at times and accept people for who they are — not who we want them to be.
4. You’re obsessed with re-creating a fantasy land.
I know, your favorite insta-couple with 6 bazillion followers is currently selfie-ing in Tahiti while skydiving off of a waterfall flexing their perfect abs and landing on Unicorns before riding off into the sunset.
Stop comparing your ‘behind the scenes’ with someone else’s ‘highlight reel.’ You don’t need the picture-perfect relationship, you just need one that makes you happy and fulfilled.
Often, the two are not the same.
5. You can’t get more than you give.
Too many people hold their partner to higher standards than they hold themselves. You want someone who does crossfit 5 days a week and trains for Triathlons in their spare time, but you can’t wait to finish off that box of Hot Pockets when you get home from your 26-second stroll around the back yard?
All jokes aside, this isn’t about physical fitness — this is about lifestyle and general effort put into yourself and your relationship. Do not hold expectations for other people that you would not meet yourself.
6. Nothing is ever going to be how you pictured it.
If you want the Golden Retriever, white picket fence, and 2.5 kids frolicking around the yard while doing cartwheels and waving their little American flags in the air, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.
One of the beautiful things about relationships is that we have absolutely no idea what the hell they’re going to look like. Our happiest moments are often ones that we never saw coming — and that’s what makes them great.
7. Actions speak louder than words.
Telling someone you care about them isn’t enough — you’re going to have to put in consistent effort to show them. And, they’re going to have to do the same for you.
8. You have to leave your past behind you.
Your windshield is bigger than your rearview for a reason — the mirror is there to help you glance back at where you’ve been, but if you focus too much on it, you’re going to crash.
We are ALL affected by our past and we are ALL reminded of it now and again — but we cannot live in it, unless we want to repeat it over and over again. We need to learn from it, take lessons from it, know what’s good (and not good) for us, and adjust accordingly.
Mistakes are only mistakes until we learn from them — and then they become lessons.
9. You’ll have to be the bigger person sometimes.
Your significant other isn’t always going to know how to communicate, or apologize, or compromise, or ask for forgiveness.
Sometimes, you’re going to have to be the one to step up and be the bigger person. You are going to have to accept an apology you never got. You are going to have to clear the air — to make something less awkward — to understand they didn’t mean what they said — to say something bothered you when they might not realize it.
10. You need to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with anyone else.
The most important relationship you’ll ever have, is with yourself. If that one isn’t healthy — none of your others are going to be.