3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Dating Someone With 'Potential'

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During the beginning stages of a relationship, when everything is all rainbows and butterflies, flaws can keep things interesting.

You may be fascinated as to why your new boyfriend has turned one year into six of living at home and “working on his novel,” or it may thrill you to know that your much-older partner used to have a rather dangerous past.

Flaws can be quirky, charming and unique, but with a little time and added substance, they can turn into annoying roadblocks that prevent relationships from ever progressing.

You may be left telling yourself and others, “Oh, if he just changed this, we would be perfect.”

The problem with that is it emphasizes the possibility of “one day.” One day, he'll change. One day, he'll get a better job. One day, we’ll have the lives we’ve always wanted.

Now, in no way am I advocating that you should strive for perfection in a partner — the odds of that are slimmer than, well, Slim Shady — but you also don’t want to be stuck with someone who has all of the potential in the world, and you’re just left waiting for it to finally kick in.

This can cause the what-ifs to surface. What if they never get their sh*t together? What if they're this close to their big break? What if I’m just wasting my time?

Leaving a relationship like this isn’t easy. Fear is usually what keeps a person in it and waiting for the other to change, fear of not finding someone else, fear of making a mistake or fear of feeling shallow.

If you identify with any of the above, ask yourself these three questions to determine if you’re done waiting for the possibility of a great relationship, and would be better off going for a better one:

Am I willing to jeopardize my happiness?

This is easily the most important question. Despite not doing it for a while, you must put yourself first and focus on your needs and wants.

Putting any fear aside, ask yourself, "Can I continue waiting?" "Am I really, truly happy?"

Determining this will help you decide how much more of yourself you’re willing to give to sit around, waiting for them to change.

It also stops your own cycle of making excuses, as you must focus only on your happiness.

Is there a future here?

Since having a relationship as you want it, right now, is clearly off the table, look to the future instead.

Shift your thinking away from the what ifs and focus on what you want to happen. See yourself settling down? Having kids? Moving far away?

Big changes like this require a lot of planning and a partner with similar goals and motivation to make sure it happens.

If the possibility of this ever being a reality is simply unforeseeable, it may be best to move on. You deserve to find someone who wants and is excited about the same things.

Can you handle the judgment of others?

Confiding in your friends and family about your partner can often backfire. Since they are now privy to the problems, they may judge and question your relationship.

This is a natural reaction, as they care and simply want the best for you. It can hurt for them to see such a great person stuck in a relationship that is only bringing you down.

What’s even worse is being left defending your relationship, offering up just as many excuses as your partner has given you in the past.

The judgment of others can be difficult to handle, but it can serve as an outside voice of reason that helps you finally see the light.

If any of these questions are difficult to answer, it may be time to cut yourself loose and go after the person who has everything you’re looking for. Right now.