Karen’s Column…Advice for the Loved and Loveless

Dating a Project vs a Potential

demo-pearl-2Have you ever met a great person (male or female) and say in your head, they’re great except for a few things?

I’m not talking about the little things like snoring or forgetfulness because I know I am far from perfect. I spill things, snore, and fall all day every day just to name a few flaws to make you all feel better.

I’m talking about the red flags. The person has commitment issues. He’s not generous, treats your friends poorly, uncompromising, or hides pieces of their life from you.

First off, we’ve all asked that question. On so many occasions when Karen asks who I like? My reply is “Do you think I can just mesh them into one?” She laughs and says, NO!

Secondly, we’ve all made excuses to ignore the red flags. The other day we were talking on the phone and that’s when she brought up that you never want to date a project. There is a big difference between a project and a potential.

A PROJECT is similar to buying mansion at an auction without any type of home inspection contingency. They might look spectacular on the outside, but when you move in you find out that there are plumbing issues, termites, mold, and the electrical wiring isn’t up to code.

Your dream home just turned into a money pit. And to top it off, as you continue fixing the house, you find more problems. Your first mistake was NOT getting a home inspection.

Dating a project is exactly like that. They may look great on the outside: Great job, well put together, drives a nice flashy car, and throws their money at you. Once you dig a little deeper and get on the inside of the person, you find out they have issues that you can’t repair.

These can include self-esteem problems, neediness or as Karen calls it being “thirsty,” or anger issues.

A POTENTIAL on the other hand is a house that may just need to have a quick paint job and some landscape work done and you’ve got a great place to call home. The house may not be a mansion, but it’s something that is a good investment with a little TLC.

A potential doesn’t need a lot of work, they just need a little bit of guidance because maybe they don’t know better. Karen brought this up for example, if someone in their 30’s is still dressing in Aeropostale and Old Navy versus upgrading to Banana Republic, Express, Macy’s, and once in a while adding in a few good pieces from Polo or Lacoste…you take them on a quick shopping trip. Some girls focus a lot on this piece and outside looks only goes so far.

Or if the person doesn’t enjoy the same lifestyle as you when it comes to health and fitness, you can compromise and make it a couple activities to go to the gym. Many people think compatibility issues are the end all be all.  It’s not, relationships are a give and take and you have to find things you both enjoy.

Potentials are fine to date, but it’s the projects you want to look out for and here are a few RED FLAGS that you should look for immediately because in the words of Karen, “Girl, he’s a project and you don’t want him.”

  • Anger issues. Stay far away. No matter how sweet you are one day you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and “baby, I’m sorry” isn’t going to be enough.
  • Arrogance. You like a man with confidence, but when they are overly arrogant just to show how great he is super unattractive. An inflated ego can’t be deflated with a push pin.
  • Airtight wallet. Generosity is a huge turn on. If someone is generous to you, your family, and friends, it speaks volumes and it is one of the first things I look for because I am very generous with everyone who I love. I may not have a lot, but literally as my TWIN can confirm, I will give you the shirt off my back. A man who keeps all his money to himself isn’t going to change and treat you right. I’m not saying you want a man who gives every penny he earns, but just a generous nature. He won’t lose sleep over buying round of drinks for all your friends or when you use their credit card for a new dress…hey you want to make them look good standing next to them right?
  • Honesty and loyalty. That should be enough. Projects may not trust you and they will test you. Why would you want to be tested all the time?
  • Outlook on life. If the person is always negative and critical, it’s so difficult to be with someone like that. Eventually their negativity will rub off on you and life is too short not to see the brighter things in life. You are not their therapist.
  • Thinking he’s elite. Karen’s words, “Boy bye, who do you think you are?”
  • Inflexible and uncompromising. A relationship is a give and take. One person can’t win all battles. If that is the case, be with yourself, don’t add another person into your equation.
  • Talk is cheap. Don’t break promises. Karen definitely advocates making sure that when a man promises to do something, he doesn’t back out. A man who breaks promises will continue to do so. You set the standard that he can because there is not ramification when he does.
  • Lack of communication. If they can’t relay their feelings, your relationship is doomed. Communication is the key to a successful relationship. You should be able to talk about anything and if he can’t, it won’t get better the older you get, it’ll just get worst.
  • Priorities. Everyone’s priorities are different, but the basis should be the people around you. If one makes money their priority over you, it will never change and that’s the only thing that matters in their life. Or if it does change, it’ll be much later in life when it’s too late.
  • Southern Charm? Not all men are gentlemen these days. Some girls don’t care, but if you are like Karen and I who do want a gentleman, then find one. Don’t waste your time trying to make an a$$hole into your prince charming.

Next time you come across a project, hopefully you save some time and money by not investing in them. Invest in the one who is reliable, stable, and most importantly one that treats you and everyone around you well.

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