My friend Erin is a "foster" girlfriend. She’s what Urban Dictionary defines as, "A guy/girl who dates someone until that other person finds their forever partner."
The last four men she’s dated have each gotten engaged/married to the woman they dated directly after her, and she has specific characteristics that has made it difficult for her to have and maintain long-term relationships.
While some people might feel happy for their exes because they hadn’t seen a future with them, Erin didn’t feel that way. She’s beautiful, whip-smart, and responsible, yet time after time, she’s been upset about being just a brief footnote in someone’s romantic history.
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"Why am I the one to help these men find their wife while I stay single!" she’s said to me more than once.
She longs to find her "home," of feeling close and complete with another person. Yet she, and other "fosters" generally have some behaviours that make it hard for them to get "taken." They are:
- spending most of their energy focusing on their career or crossing things off their bucket list.
- communicating sporadically with the people they’re interested in.
- not enjoying the "romantic" part of romantic relationships.
- preferring to spend time alone.
- going on low-effort dates.
- never bringing up long-term plans.
If a "foster" really wants to be in a long-term romantic relationship, then their actions need to align with their words. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in being single, but if you want a serious relationship, here are ways to start moving toward that:
1. Evaluate your priorities and long-term goals.
A job will never hold your hand while you’re waiting to go back for surgery. It won’t show up at your parent’s funeral or kiss you goodnight before bed.
In essence, no matter how much you love your job and your career, it will never love you back.
Crossing items off your bucket list or obsessing about ways and means to make more money are fine too, but you might realise eventually that hiking Mt. Everest or spending lavishly isn’t as enjoyable without someone to share it with.
Having close relationships is a prerequisite for a happy and healthy life. The stronger your relationships correlates to the greater your happiness. This can mean close familial or friend relationships, but for many, it means a romantic one as well.
If you truly want a long-term relationship, that means your priorities and goals will need to shift to accommodate that.
Cut down on your excursions and try to spend a little more time in one place.
Leave work every night at 6pm instead of staying until 11pm.
Be more discerning about who you accept or ask on dates.
Make sure the people you’re pursuing are also interested in pursuing a long-term relationship by letting them know what you’re interested in upfront.