“Happiness is a journey, not the destination’ – I’ve always loved how it applies to every aspect of life, especially in relationships. Most of us have chased the idea of finding Mr.Right so much that we don’t appreciate the string of awkward dates and lackluster relationships that happen before we reach happily every after. We call them the ones before the one.
The Warm Up Boyfriend
The warm up boyfriend will likely be your first serious relationship. You’ll fall in love, meet the parents and talk about the names of your future babies. Warm up boyfriends initiate you into the world of compromise and commitment. They are your first love but unlikely to be the last. Like a light jog that preps you for the big race, warm up boyfriends help you develop the emotional maturity for relationships worthy of the long haul. You’re likely to meet him in your early 20s. From there you either grow together and get hitched or grow apart to ‘experience other relationships’. Sadly not all relationships last forever but the warm up boyfriend will sure prepare you for what’s to come next!
Mr. Not Quite Right
We’ve all met one. They are the Mr.Perfects that aren’t so perfect for you. They are kind, considerate, handsome and ready for a relationship but the spark is lackluster. It’s like that blouse you want to love but doesn’t fit quite right. My girlfriend Susie has her Mr. Not Quite Right on speed dial. When she feels lonely, she calls him up for pseudo-dates. He’s her back up plan. Are you guilty of stringing this guy along? End it now because you both deserve better. You want to find someone you like from the get go and he deserves someone who loves him for all his perfections!
If you’ve been single for awhile, the following will sound familiar. The commitment phobic guy says the right things at the right time and charm the pants off you…literally. These guys are likely to wine and dine you but when things get a little serious (i.e. you start leaving your toothbrush at his place), they will say things like “I really like you but I’m not ready for a relationship yet”, “You can see other people (so I can date around too)”.
You know it but you can’t resist the challenge of ‘taming’ him. You can convince yourself that you’re just ‘having fun’ but you have a glimmer of hope that he will commit to you eventually. They never do. These guys will settle when they are ready but it’s up to them to decide when and you want a guy who’s already there.
Everyone should date a younger man at some point. They are fun, carefree and haven’t been jaded by bad relationships. Eager to learn and generally easy going, these guys make the best dates. If you’re looking for something more serious, you might need to practice patience. Young’uns are still dating around to find what they want and don’t want in a woman. They probably won’t have their ducks in a row and won’t be ready to settle down anytime soon.
Mr. Right Now
My friend Jane dated her Mr. Right Now for 5 years before he broke it off. For half of her twenties, she was in this long-term relationship whilst her friends her out flirting with guys at the bar. Though she knew he wasn’t the ‘one’, she enjoyed the companionship and sense of stability he offer. Now single in her early 30s, she wishes she had called it quits earlier instead of spending what she calls her ‘prime years’ with one person. The Mr.Right Nows are ones you stay with for security and stability whilst you secretly imagine what life/sex would be like with your colleague/personal trainer/insert guy crush here. They have most of the things you want out of a relationship but still you feel like you’ve ‘settled’. Relationships with Mr.Right Now have an expiry date, unless you decide to settle and marry him.
These guys are the ones before the one for a reason. You have to meet them before you recognise the one so why not enjoy the journey!
Written by Amy B
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.