The Problem With Dating Potential


There’s this myth going around that says if you aren’t dating or looking for someone with potential, then you’re waiting on someone perfect and you’ll never find it.

Merriam-Webster defines potential as capable of developing in actuality. This would mean if something has potential, it hasn’t reached reality yet but has the ability to in the future. An example would be weight loss. If you still have that winter body but you have the drive and determination to be summer time fine, you have the potential to have a six-pack in the future. I speak that over your life today. Let the church say amen! But you get the point of what potential means so let’s dive into what this post is all about.

Most of us have used the word potential way too often in dating. We meet a guy or girl, they seem nice, they don’t check off everything on our standards list, but they seem to have the capacity to develop those traits in the future. You then embark upon a dating journey with that person, and realize that although they have potential, you don’t have the patience or tolerance for the bull they’re putting you through while they develop this potential you speak of. Sound familiar? How many times have we accepted potential rather than waited for the finished product? How many times have we told ourselves that we should give potential a chance because waiting on something that is a finished product makes us selfish because no one is perfect right? What if I told you the reason you’re single is because your phone log is filled with nothing but undeveloped potential?

From my own dating experience, I have realized that there is a huge issue in dating someone with potential. The biggest thing is it causes one to wait or force change on their person of interest rather than be patient and wait for that person to reach their full capacity; or patiently wait for someone who is actually fully developed. There’s this myth going around that says if you aren’t dating or looking for someone with potential, then you’re waiting on someone perfect and you’ll never find it. But that is a lie from the pits of hell. Jobs don’t hire potential accountants, they hire accounting graduates. The company isn’t asking for a perfect accountant that knows everything, they’re asking for someone who took their innate gifts and applied themselves and reached graduation so that now they are qualified for the position they have applied for. Too many times, we skip the qualifying process in dating. It is fine to see potential but are they even qualified to be your mate? In order to qualify, they have to take that potential and apply it to something. It isn’t about dating someone perfect, it is about dating someone in progress.

It is fine to see potential but are they even qualified to be your mate?

Merriam-webster defines progress as forward or onward movement. This means that you have taken that winter body and moved it into LA Fitness in order to get to your summer-time fine. With no progress, potential can never reach the finish line of actuality. I remember meeting this guy who I found very attractive and he was super cool and smart. The issue was, he had just moved to Atlanta and had no job or car. I thought he had potential so against my better judgement, I began to attempt dating him. I soon found out that trying to help someone reach their full potential is a hard job. I had to pay for all the dates, go pick him up and drop him off, and even get him odd jobs here and there. In the end, we didn’t work out and I wasted all that time trying to help and ended up with more miles on my car and less money in my bank account. At that time, I had my own place, car, and a good job. On the outside looking in, do you think I should’ve hired him for the job as my mate since he wasn’t qualified? This isn’t about money, this is about timing and understanding where to step in to help someone. He was in no place to date, he was building. He had no time to even reach progress. Eventually, he began forward movement but by that time, I was drained from dating his potential. I should’ve just been his friend while he figured it out or just said “nice to meet you” and left it at that. There’s a difference in pushing someone to be better and carrying them, and at that point, I was carrying him. Today, he has actually reached his full potential and yes, I think I helped with that but he isn’t with me. He is with the girl he dated after he left potential and reached progress. Do you see where I am going with this? Not only was I doing myself a disservice trying to date his potential, but he was also doing himself a disservice because by trying to hold onto me, he couldn’t fully focus on reaching his end goal.

Why invest your heart into something your brain already told you won’t work?

Don’t get me wrong, potential isn’t always a monetary or a physical thing. You could meet someone who is fully established but doesn’t know how to stay faithful but you could see their potential for monogamy. Instead of you waiting on them to reach progress, you jump into a relationship with them and get your whole heart broken because you’re dating their potential. The issue with dating today is no one wants to wait. Everyone wants their mate now now now. If we focused on what we need from someone to be 100% happy rather than satisfying our thirst for companionship, we would be able to see that not all potential reaches actuality. You can’t force anyone to be who you want them to be, they have to see it and after seeing it want to work hard to get to that place. Half the time, we aren’t really seeing potential, we are seeing false hope. We’re creating a dream person in our head and ignoring this trashy person before our eyes. I know I have said a lot but the main point is dating potential is risky because not everyone reaches actuality. It is better to date someone who actually qualifies for the position of being your mate or someone making forward movement towards their full potential. In order to recognize the difference, we gotta stop leading with our physical and emotional needs and let our brains decipher the situation first. Why invest your heart into something your brain already told you won’t work? You don’t see CEOs hiring second year law students to be partners of their firm because their gut told them they have potential to be great. No, they wait for their candidate to accomplish different levels and become qualified. You are the CEO of your heart, stop giving it to unqualified applicants. You don’t have to date potential, you’ll be just fine waiting on someone who is the finished product. Take it from me, your gas tank and bank account will thank you.

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