What About Me? Selfishness in Dating

by | Dec 20, 2017 | Dating Perspectives


I grew up in a home where giving was loving. I learned at an early age that love is not merely a word, but a verb. When I began dating I began giving, sometimes maybe a bit too much. I found that my giving was either taken advantage of, unappreciated, or not reciprocated and I’d start to become resentful. Sometimes I didn’t even want to give anymore. How can I learn to give in a comfortable and healthy way without compromising who I am and what I need in a relationship?


It may seem counter-intuitive since we are raised on the value of giving, but in relationships too much too soon is not helpful. Setting that stage can lead to resentment, unattainable expectations, the appearance of desperation, or early burnout. We must be ‘selfish’ in order to be the ‘best giver’! What? Selfish? But that goes against everything I believe!

In the embryonic stages of dating, we must be “selfish” so that we can determine if our date is a person who is good for us. Do they have qualities that I need? Can they provide a balance to my strengths and weaknesses? Can I respect them (ie: if my children turn out to be like them would that be a good thing)? Do they have what to give to me and could I receive from them? Do I like spending time with them? Would they make a quality spouse and parent?

If we can confidently answer yes to these questions, we can rest assured that our needs will be met and we can begin to give in a greater capacity without fear that it won’t be reciprocated or valued. A marriage without giving is suicidal, it simply won’t survive. To be the ultimate giver though, we must establish that our core needs are being met so that we will be giving and receiving from the right person. One-sided giving is unhealthy and painful. One may think if they give and give, they will be more liked and accepted, which is not true. Healthy giving can exist only between two people with confidence, strength, self-worth, and generosity.

What you see in dating you can be sure to see more of in marriage.

 One of the greatest gifts of marriage is the ability to choose your spouse.  G-d could have given us a spouse as he gives us our siblings, cousins or parents.  Instead, he chose to give us the free will to choose who we will marry ….. to whom we will give.


It is a life pursuit to master the ‘art of giving’ and that starts in dating.  What you see in dating you can be sure to see more of in marriage. If your first impressions are of a thoughtful, kind, and considerate person, you can be sure to see more of that in marriage. The opposite is true as well.



A couple of words of warning. Once you’ve decided that you can build with your date and let the giving begin, it’s still important not to ‘overdue’ it in dating. You may set expectations that are too high to maintain in marriage. Furthermore, selfishness is critical if you are in danger emotionally, verbally, psychologically or physically and need to protect yourself.  Giving will not help you regain your safety or self-worth. If you find yourself in such a relationship, please seek help from a mentor or therapist.



My belief and observation is that initially, the healthy direction of giving should be from the man to the woman, with her responding to his giving graciously.  This is why the man should pay for dates, open the door, and pick the woman up. Some will disagree. My experience tells me that this dynamic sets the stage for men to feel like men by taking care of their woman. It also opens the woman up by allowing her to feel feminine and cared for.  This allows both partners to feel empowered in the roles they play best in relationships.


May your ‘selfishness’ lead to clarity and ultimate giving for the shortest distance to your longest relationship.



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