There were countless times my lady friends gushed to me about a fantastic guy they had just met or blamed themselves for ruining a promising relationship after a few months of seeing their new partner. They feared that they’d never find someone better and, soon enough, they started putting their ex on a pedestal, getting hung up on “the one who got away.”
I get it.
The beginning of the dating process is fun and exciting and full of potential.
How could it not be?
You find a perfect profile on a dating app, you go on a romantic first date, the food is delicious and the cocktails make you feel all fuzzy inside; your date says all the right things, makes all the right gestures, ticks every box you could possibly have; you can’t wait to tell your friends all about them, you believe you’ve met the love of your life. It’s like you’re in the loveliest bubble.
And all of a sudden, it pops.
You get rejected, ghosted, heartbroken. Reality sets in and it sucks. You don’t know what you have done wrong, but you desperately want to undo it. You can’t bear the soul-crushing pain of losing something so valuable.
But… is it?
If you really think about it, what exactly have you lost?
Some expressions of interest? Some ideas of a person you barely know?
See, this is where I pointed out to my friends that they need to change the way they judge their romantic dates because it’s not serving them at all.
The definition of a high-value partner
A high-value partner is a partner who has demonstrated regularly and consistently over a long amount of time that they add real value to you and your life.
When it comes to valuing a romantic partner, it should be in relation to you and your life — it’s not about who this partner is or what they have. They could be a god or goddess, but if they aren’t compatible with you and don’t choose you, they’re as good as a lamp post and you shouldn’t even think twice about ditching them.
Being with them is costly simply for the fact that they’re standing in the way of you finding your dream partner. They need to be gone.
The truth is — no matter how desirable someone seems — if you’ve only met them a handful of times, you have no way of telling whether they’re a high-value partner or not.
And if they’ve disrespected you, manipulated you, used you, abused you, gaslit you, or made you feel bad about yourself in any way, they’re the opposite of “high-value”. They’re below zero. And there’s no reason to miss them or want them back or beat yourself up over a rightfully failed relationship.
The story is simple: You give dating this person a go, you’re being yourself and you find out you aren’t right for each other — in some cases, you also find out they’re a horrible person who brings out a horrible side of you — and you move on. It’s the natural order of things. It’s meant to happen that way.
What is considered “real value”?
Real value could come in different ways in different aspects — emotional, physical, social, intellectual, financial, spiritual, and so on.
In short, a partner who adds real value to your life is a partner who makes your experience of living better or easier as a whole and in these different aspects. A high-value partner does this regularly and consistently AND does NOT damage you in any other way. They care about your well-being and they sincerely want to make you happy.
If they damage you, they’re NOT high-value. They’re bad people and you need to stay away from them.
It’s important to remember that you deserve a high-value partner and you should never settle for less.
Here are some common things that might have some value but do not equate to a partner being high-value:
Your date’s attractiveness, respectable career, academic degrees from prestigious institutions, wealth, and so on — If your date never uses these qualities to enhance your life over time, they are not your concern and should be worthless to you.
Asking you out on a date, paying for a meal, buying you gifts, being attentive during sex, and so on — If these behaviours happen on and off over a few weeks or months of dating, they’re merely expressions of interest. Worse, they can be a form of manipulation if there’s some other disrespectful bullsh*t going on.
Showing care and respect to you selectively, leaving you confused about their true intention — This person is toxic. Run.
The key takeaways for your dating life
As you can see, there’s a way to judge your romantic partners that will not only help you make better decisions but also gain your own closure about your past relationships: they ended because your partner didn’t end up adding value to your life and you need someone who is high-value.
Here are some lessons that will keep you safe and effective during the dating process:
1. There’s no such thing as a high-value partner after one or two dates (or even one or two months of dates.)
Some people can maintain the perfect version of themselves for months or even years. For example, they mirror you so they can convince you that you two are compatible and they’re deeply interested in you. In reality, they’re an abusive stranger who doesn’t particularly care about you or your wellbeing.
I can’t stress enough that you can’t be sure if someone is a high-value partner after a few dates. You need to observe them over time and assess them in relation to you and your life.
2. You don’t need to miss the ex who left you.
The ex who left you is likely to have stopped adding value to your life for some time before the break-up — heck, they might even have subtracted value from your life.
They’re an ex for a reason and they were not as “fantastic” or “wonderful” as you made them out to be. They’re most definitely not “the one”.
You didn’t lose anything valuable — you’ve saved yourself time wasted on a wrong partner.
3. Take your time with dating.
One way to avoid getting carried away is to remind yourself that you’re looking for a high-value partner and you can only tell if someone is a high-value partner after a decent amount of time (months or even years). There’s no reason to get overly excited after one or two smooth-sailing dates.
If the relationship fails before this timeframe, you can’t conclude that you’ve lost something valuable — in fact, the trash might have just taken itself out. Chances are that if they were truly a high-value partner who is compatible with you, you’d still be dating them.
So be patient. Stick to your boundaries and standards. Vet vigorously. Follow your heart but bring your head with you.
4. A partner is high-value doesn’t mean you have to be with them.
During the vetting process, you will find the signs that tell you whether someone is a high-value partner or not. Even then, you don’t have to be with them just because they’re high-value. Being high-value should be the minimum requirement.
You should be picking the one you’re most connected to from a pool of high-value partners, NOT latching onto the first seemingly high-value partner you stumble upon from a pile of trash.
5. It’s a two-way street.
That said, if you want a high-value partner, you should be high-value yourself.
Only by knowing exactly what you bring to the table can you stop selling yourself short and jumping at the first available partner instead of waiting for a high-value, compatible one.
So invest in yourself before you put yourself out there. For example, go to therapy, read books, pick up hobbies that enrich your life, and build loving relationships all around you.
6. Stay prepared.
A person can change and so does your romantic partner.
They might prove to be high-value for a few years but become a negative force later on, and it happens.
Your responsibility is to recognise the bad treatment and make decisions about it immediately.
Remember to always prioritise your well-being and dignity, and never let anyone think they can disrespect or mistreat you without consequences.