Unequally Yoked: 4 Reasons We Engage in “Project Dating”

I’m a project dater.

I’ve noticed this was a consistent behavior that can no longer be ignored. By “projects,” I mean dating guys who can be considered major works-in-progress…fixer uppers, if you will.

Project Dating

Before you remind me of my glass house, let me clarify a bit…It’s understandable for people to have questions about their passion, purpose and whether or not they’re living their best life.  We’re all wandering around this Earth colliding with one another as we venture along our personal journey.

However, I’m taking it a step further. I’m referring to those who have absolutely no plan, no passion, no desire, no insight – nothing. Nada. Yet, they want the material wealth that’s typically associated with monetizing a talent or that comes with just putting in plain ‘ole hard work.

Let’s talk about dating people with all the possibility but little probability of materializing those dreams. Not the man that needs time to execute a plan but the woman that fails to realize a plan is even needed: people who wind up being more of a project than a partner. After watching friends and probing family, I’ve discovered several others are guilty of this same behavior, too.  While not easy to admit, [inlinetweet prefix=”#ProjectDating | ” tweeter=”@paulcbrunson” suffix=””]consistent “project dating” (because there should be a universal term for it) says more about you than the other person[/inlinetweet].

After listening, questioning, analyzing and finally accepting, here are the 4 reasons I concluded why some of us are serial project daters. 

Before assuming this post isn’t applicable to you, take a step back and look long and hard at your relationships. You might just find a hint of truth.

 

1. Craving Control

Someone who is a major work in progress equates to an incredibly vulnerable person. Plain and simple. Whether its financial (significant debt or minimal income), professional (no job or largely dead-end jobs), educational (limited training with few transferable skills), or situational (no residence and/or no car), [inlinetweet prefix=”#ProjectDating” tweeter=”@paulCbrunson” suffix=””]the area that’s deficient in this person’s life is usually an area of strength for the project dater.[/inlinetweet]

While “opposites attract” tends to be an appealing notion, [inlinetweet prefix=”#ProjectDating | ” tweeter=”@paulcbrunson” suffix=””]dating someone because you feel a sense of control over them is not productive and lacks longterm viability.[/inlinetweet]

There’s already a twisted tendency to be possessive in dating. When coupled with significant disparities in the aforementioned areas, you’re bound to have a combative and toxic dynamic. Control-fueled project daters enjoy the sense of power and position of strength this relationship offers. Initially, these project daters will appreciate their partner’s vulnerability. But, as the disparities become more obvious, so will the levels of resentment and indifference.

 

2. Boredom

Sometimes you just need something to do, right? There’s nothing good on television, it’s taking longer than expected to finish writing that second novel, and snow’s on the ground so the gym is a no-go. Project dating may be the perfect remedy for a case of extreme boredom. Instead of focusing on your goals and mission, sometimes it’s easier and a more appealing use of time to point out someone else’s shortcomings.

Having to face the reality of what’s not so perfect in one’s own life is a challenge most of us aren’t willing to face. Enter the best distraction of all – a new “project.” While in these relationships, its difficult to recognize the signs. However, once things have ended, clarity and hindsight come knocking and you see how much valuable time was spent trying to “help” someone else fix their problems instead of focusing on your own.

 

3. Ego Tripping (or, Pity)

A few years ago, I admitted to dating an ex-boyfriend because I felt sorry for him. No joke. I’d spent months debating friends about open-mindedness and not requiring an MBA or an AMEX from the opposite sex. So, when he approached me, I decided to give it a try. I quickly realized how misaligned the pairing was – not merely because he wasn’t formally educated or financially stable – but because I failed to see him as a partner and instead treated him like charity work.

Pity made it difficult for me to walk away and my ego wouldn’t accept the possibility of him leaving me. I always saw his life benefitting from my presence as if I was the Great Messiah rescuing him from a life of nothingness. If you don’t respect your partner and if you struggle to see the value they bring to the relationship, it’s destined to fail.

 

4. Insecurity

Habitually dating a major work-in-progress speaks to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. When you project date with this lens, you become attracted to weaknesses and deficiencies in the other person. Not to always to exert control, but because it validates your insecurities. Their shortcomings make you feel more comfortable accepting your own. [inlinetweet prefix=”#ProjectDating | ” tweeter=”@paulcbrunson” suffix=””]You have to believe you’re valuable, worthy, and enough before you can fully connect with someone else.[/inlinetweet]

 

We are who we are and we know what we know. If all romantic entanglements in your past include having someone  largely dependent upon you for their basic needs, the pattern has been set. It’s been said that habits are formed in roughly twenty-one days. If project dating is the norm for you, it’ll take just as long to break the cycle and start entering healthy, balanced relationships. No man or woman wants to be controlled or pitied. And, accomplishing your personal life goals will prove far more successful than passing the time pointing out (or enabling) weaknesses in the life of another.

Will you commit to ending your unhealthy addiction to Project Dating today?

 

This post was written by Renita Bryant and originally shared on Renita’s Mynd Matters. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novella, Yesterday Mourning. You can follow her on Twitter and read her thought-provoking blog on life & relationships. 

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About Renita Bryant
I’m a native of Fort Valley, Georgia. Since obtaining my BS & MBA, I’ve worked for some of the world’s largest companies on many of the most recognizable household brands. Although I found the work rewarding, my passion for writing compelled me to complete and publish my first novella, Yesterday Mourning, in May 2013. Since then, I’ve been living, learning, loving and writing!

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73 Comments on "Unequally Yoked: 4 Reasons We Engage in “Project Dating”"

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Tiffanie R. Spearman
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Luv it “Project Dating” LOL…..

Myya Mars
Guest

Wow

Eric Armand
Guest

this

Shanoy Coombs
Guest

A to the Men

Nneka O'Reilly
Guest

Very interesting, never thought about it in quite this way…

Debra J. Gordon
Guest

I couldn’t waste my time on such short sighted men. Applies to business relationship as well. Look at the BIG picture is my mantra.

Ruth Florella Charlton
Guest
Ruth Florella Charlton

Paul just take it there, SON!! DEAR WOMEN: STOP THIS SHIZZZ!! *Project Dating* is for suckers!!
We do this mess so much it should be an OLYMPIC SPORT!!

Bryna Heria
Guest

We just went over being unequally yoked last sunday. Lol

SouthernGemGal
Guest

PaulCBrunson Naw. Only interested in homes that way. lol

PaulCBrunson
Guest

SouthernGemGal lol!

Marluce Simões
Guest

Well coherent.

Myra Johnson Mba
Guest

Guilty but delivered!!

SouthernGemGal
Guest

PaulCBrunson Hey…not my job. lol

Yvette Foy
Guest

Oh dude. You hit nails on the head constantly.

Astrid Bianca
Guest

Thank you for this. Wow!

Deidre-Ann Fuller
Guest

He’s on point Janessa Hanna Mercedees Thompson

Ciquia C Martin
Guest

I’ve definitely got in a relationship with someone out of boredom. Didn’t realize I was project dating smh. Hard truth!

Nekeisha Briggs
Guest

I think this can be said also of a peraon who is educated abd financially stable but has the emotional quotient of a five year old. Ive wasted time and seen many others labor in vain in order to emotional grow a stunted partner when the partner has no plain or interest to grow themselves

Louise Grimshaw
Guest

Lol.hilarious.Bahahaha.

Louise Grimshaw
Guest

Love the tree of hearts n red,nice.;).good work.

Dani Atherton
Guest

Hahahaha! Yes! “Mr. Or Ms. Fixer Upper”

Toynia LovesNathaniel Edmond
Guest
Toynia LovesNathaniel Edmond

I’m committed to ended the cycle of project dating!

Audreyess Washington
Guest

Lesson Learned: “Don’t date his potential, date his reality.” If his reality is not up to your standards, move on!

Angela Maria
Guest

Good Day Bridgett..this article was very enlightening. .thanks for sharing♥

Holley Clark
Guest

I had two kids with “potential” and it is a nightmare. Not only did I lose and waste 10 year of my but my children will never have a true father that can love and take care of them. I feel like the whole relationship was a set back and made it harder for me to be were I wanted to be in life. I work hard eveyday to over come this dating mistake. 🙂

Brie Brie Knight
Guest

Wow!

Lauren Chatman
Guest

I’ll admit, even I’ve fallen in love with the idea of being in love, & have fallen victim to my own projected ideas of what he could be… really, it never works! He has to want it for himself, wait for it, if it is meant to be, you will be equally yoked and more suitable to navigate the relationship, while avoiding the pitfalls of unfulfilled expectations…

Anitra IamaDiamond Burney
Guest
Anitra IamaDiamond Burney

This speaks VOLUMES! I needed to read this. Thanks for posting!

AidanZPhiB
Guest

PaulCBrunson I don’t date. it’s a horrible waste of time especially if one person is on one page and the other is at the end of the text

Sampaguita Berba
Guest

I agree

LaWannah Trailor
Guest

No NO

Lori McCray Brown
Guest

great post.

ZkitaRae
Guest

PaulCBrunson is that dating someone from the projects? I mean, what are you saying here, Paul?

Danielle Whidby
Guest

Iam Beautifuldammit this a good read

PaulCBrunson
Guest

ZkitaRae lol, no that’s not it – check out the post and let me know your thoughts 🙂

La-Tica D Paige-Watson
Guest
La-Tica D Paige-Watson

Great post! My girlfriend just told me last weekend, this same thing! LOL

desireemmondesir
Guest
I’d love to hear from Paul and Renita about this, but if you know someone who is actually trying to marry someone as a project (among other things)–and the poor girl has no idea–what would you do? Is it the right thing to speak up or shut up?  And just for the record, I’m that person that will flat out tell you if you’re dating the wrong person. I have a very good sense about these things for other people. I’d rather you hate me for telling you the truth, then sit by and say nothing. Marriage is permanent. It’s… Read more »
Talisha Janice
Guest

The only type of projects I like are home improvements

Mario Dias
Guest

🙂

Dwayne Cole
Guest

Wow!

Tenacity Leisure
Guest

Right!

Saran Baker
Guest

Great post. This applies to family as well.

Kiran Corneille
Guest

Indeed!

Toynia LovesNathaniel Edmond
Guest
Toynia LovesNathaniel Edmond

I’ll admit that I’m a project dater because I don’t think that a person has to be perfect for me to love them. However, what happens is, I help this person get that job, car, into college, etc, and as soon as they start doing better they feel like they’re too good to be with me and they leave.

Meagan Moznette
Guest

Craig Smith remember when we talked about this? Soooo true!

Desh Dixon
Guest

Great info. Good read.

Genn Hossenbux
Guest

Toynia LovesNathaniel Edmond I feel u. I do exactly the same..

msnifa_hanifa
Guest

PaulCBrunson I totally agree especially with #3

anndrex1
Guest

desireemmondesir  
Respectfully, that is not your business.
You can’t make decisions for grown people.

LYHMEDIA
Guest

AMEN!!!!! This post is from GOD !

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