My advice is simple - BE FRIENDS FIRST
This is no new revelation and I’m certainly not trying to reinvent the relationship wheel.
Let me explain.
This is what I see to be a typical dating pattern of many. You see a guy and you become attracted to him over shallow observances. You think he’s cute. You think he has a nice style. He seems funny. Where does it go from there? You start constructing the type of person you think he may be. You check his Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. He likes hip hop music - so do you! He plays sports - he must be active! He has lots of photos with his family - he must have great family values! He’s going to be a great father to my children you think to yourself! You feel me?
We have a tendency to idealize and create a whole personality for someone we don't actually spend the time to know. Getting to know someone TAKES TIME.
Where do things go from there? You’re attracted to him, he’s attracted to you, and subsequently, you enter into a relationship. Throughout the course of the relationship, you both endure different seasons of life - trials, hardships, turning points and growth spurts. As time goes on, your patience and grace levels in the relationship are no longer at 100 where they first started. You finally begin to see the TRUE character of the person you’re with, as you both no longer have your best foot forward.
You begin to realize that they lack the core character traits that you so valued before. This eventually leads to frustration over unmet expectations and the start of fights, distance, and resentment. Let me interject myself here - I’m not saying every relationship has this type of outcome. Undoubtedly, you can work through differences and succeed in a relationship if you so desire. However, what I am trying to relay is that you can potentially avoid pain, tears and time simply by spending the time to REALLY get to know someone FIRST before you do a deep dive into a relationship. Significant and core characteristics such as humility, kindness, and holiness only truly surface over time and with trials.
Being friends first means that you keep a healthy distance as well as clear boundaries. It means not emotionally investing in someone beforehand. Emotions can often skew your judgment and cause confusion. Practically speaking, do things like: hang out in group settings, ask a lot of questions and observe the person’s attitudes and actions in various situations and different environments. The decision over whether or not to enter into a relationship should come AFTER you get to know the person well enough. Don’t jump the gun.
Waiting is always the hardest, but your waiting won’t be in vain.