Call me petty but I once calculated how much money I had spent on a significant other. A bad breakup and a bit of spite brought the math teacher out in me. My total spent in just 8 months was somewhere near $4k including dates, gas and car maintenance for the hour drive to his house, speeding and toll violation tickets, gifts, and etc etc. What the hell right?! That’s sheer tomfoolery! Don’t Get Surf & Turfed this Valentine’s Day: 5 Ways to Protect Your Wallet If it helps to know I was only twenty-three and had a ton to learn. So, with that said, how do we know if we are investing too much in the wrong person? And what qualifies as an investment?
An investment is anything you won’t get back. The two biggest investments I’m referring to are TIME anbd MONEY. And remember, while you can make more money you cannot ever get back more time.
Simply put investing too much time or money in a significant other can be detrimental to your own growth because it means you aren’t investing that time and/or money in yourself. The danger in that is stagnation in your own growth. If/when the relationship doesn’t work you may find yourself in the same position you started in. Have you ever thought to yourself, “damn, they used me” or “I made them into what they are only for them to go be with someone else”?
That was me in 2011. I built a relationship founded on misery. I was still living at home as a freelancer and entrepreneur and I was miserable with my state of stagnation. In 1 year of dating, I helped my boyfriend revise his resume and cover letter, apply to out of state jobs, rebuild his self-esteem from a previous bad breakup and inspire him to start a business. I remember screen sharing on Skype as we co-designed his business logo and brainstormed business names. When the relationship ended he had a new job, new city, and a new business on the rise. He was confident and engaged in his life. I still lived with my parents, gridlocked in bitter resentment and stagnation. I spent the next year playing the victim role, complaining and telling the details of this story to any friend that would listen. It got old fast!
So how can you ensure that you are investing in the right person? Keep reading….
1. Invest in yourself first.
The truth is, it is a lot harder to invest in yourself than it is to invest in someone else. It’s easy to listen to someone else’s goals, see where they are off track and advise them to get back on track. It is a lot harder to do this for yourself. It requires being brutally honest with yourself about what you are and aren’t doing to get the results you want. Are you clear on your goals? Are you honestly working as hard as you could be? Are you working hard but not smart? Are you working long hours but avoiding the challenging tasks that would actually give you results? Investing in yourself requires being uncomfortable. Change happens when we are most uncomfortable.
2. Let the past go.
You can’t move out of stagnation if you are content being the victim. The truth is that God, or the Universe uses all of us as vessels to channel messages and positive energy. Everyone that crosses your path imprints on you in some way and changes you for better or worse. Likewise, you are used as a vessel to help others. I could continue to be upset about the time I spent helping that guy better himself, but it’s petty and disillusioned. Yes, I did help him, but ultimately, he had to put in the work to better himself and see success. Likewise, there have been people who have helped me in the same way. I’m a better wife today because of the good and bad experiences I’ve had in dating. Likewise, my awesome husband wasn’t always so awesome. I am sure there are some women whose path he’s crossed that may feel they were instrumental in making him a better partner today. Whoever, and wherever they are I’m grateful that they were instruments, vessels in his journey.
3. Don’t give with expectation.
You know how people say don’t ever loan money that you can’t afford to not get back? This is the same concept. Don’t give gifts, spend money or invest time if you expect something in return. If you give your significant other a gift you should be 100% okay with the possibility of not getting a gift in return. When I was dating, I was truthfully trying to audition my way into a marriage. I thought that if I gave thoughtful gifts despite the cost and invested time in helping men better themselves or achieve their goals they would perceive me as wife material. In appreciation of how wonderful I was they’d want to take our relationship further. When this didn’t happen, I constantly felt resentful and regretful about the lack of “appreciation” for my investment. And it’s notable to mention that when I finally did meet my husband he didn’t want or need anything from me. He didn’t NEED me to invest time in helping him better himself or pursue his goals. He also didn’t need material things from me. When he proposed, I was 100% confident that he loved me, and not just the things I did for him. I hadn’t auditioned my way into a marriage!
I’m not saying don’t give gifts or do nice things for people. If you genuinely want to give a gift or assist someone in a task, you should do it. Just make sure that you a. can financially afford the gift and b. have already spent time investing in yourself. Don’t invest in others what you haven’t yet invested in yourself. I had no business buying a waffle maker for my ex-boyfriend’s apartment when I still lived in my momma’s house. Just sayin’!
Remember, you cannot audition your way into a healthy relationship speak less a marriage. The best way to find a happy, healthy relationship is to invest in yourself. Increase your confidence and attractiveness. 10 Ways to Be More Attractive & Confident Passionately invest time and energy into your goals. Not only will this speed up your journey to success, it will make you more attractive. Passionate, driven people are inspiring and intriguing. In the mix of pursuing your goals, you will enter new networks of people who are equally passionate about the same things. Somewhere in that mix you might even find your spouse. Remember, to get a great partner, you’ve got to be great! All the years you spend investing in yourself will prepare you to receive great things.