It’s easy to fall for potential. Guys with dreams and plans for their future are attractive, but your relationship isn’t solely a future entity. It lives in the present — can you tell if that present is a good one or are you just holding on for a future that may never come?
Is he all talk and no action? Does he spend more time talking about his dreams than he does working towards them? If he’s talking big about how he’ll get to where he’s going but not actually working towards it, it’s not a sign that he actually wants change. It’s great to have goals to strive for, but if he’s not actively doing the striving, you’re wasting your time.
Are you stuck behind rose-colored glasses? You need to have the ability to view him as he truly is. If you’re doing the work of glossing over his flaws for him, you’re not doing either of you any favors. That guy you’re dating who’s always just one week away from quitting cigarettes or getting a job? Don’t let him delude both of you into believing it.
Can he adapt to different dreams? The ability to realize potential requires the ability to learn how to bend around the hurdles life throws at you. If he can’t adapt to different circumstances, you might just be believing in his potential rather than his actual skill set.
How does he treat you now? Put aside the ideas of how he says he’ll treat you in the future. What is he doing in your daily life, right now? Take a step back to evaluate the difference between who he is and who he says he’s going to be.
Where’s his balance? Is he living with his head in the clouds? How does he plan to better himself or follow his dreams? Do they seem like they’re always just out of his reach? If he can’t look at where he’s at and chart himself accordingly, he’s not being realistic. You need to be with someone who can have a balance between reality and dreams for the future.
What’s the value of his word? Does he follow through on his promises? Or do they turn up empty time and time again? Follow the path of his promises and see if they ever come to pass.
Can he pay attention to his present? It’s easy to fall for someone who’s got big plans. Being part of their goals, even just as an observer or cheerleader, can be intoxicating. It’s fun to dream big and do so out loud, but how much time can you actually spend working towards change if all you’re doing is thinking about the future? If a man can’t pay attention to where he’s at in the moment, you might be falling for his potential rather than who he is now.
What has he achieved so far? If he’s got a proven track record of setting goals and meeting them, that’s awesome. If he doesn’t, it’s not necessarily a warning sign, but take a moment to dig a little deeper. What’s his history with self-improvement say about him now? Well, it might tell you if he ever really does end up following through on his potential.
Do you feel like it’s your job to help him realize his potential? It can be easy to feel like if you could just help him with the right push at the right time, you could accomplish the task of getting him to his potential. The problem is that there’s no way you can do this for another person. It’s tempting to try, but the truth is, if he’s ever going to get there, it has to come from him.
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