Editor's Note: Although this article is about certain concerns while "dating" and may not seem appropriate to a polie website, I posted it for two reasons: first, many a police officer is young enough to be dating and this may be helpful; second, some of what's discussed here is applicable to getting to know a new patrol partner.
Dating. As a teenager, this word brought images of excitement and a sense of maturity. Even as a young adult, and especially when I was dating my husband, it brought a sense of adventure. It was the name of the time we spent together as we got to know each other. As an adult, I’m finding, the word is cringe-worthy. It seemed so easy as a young person. You just hung out with people, usually at school and at a certain point you just seemed to pair up with someone who shared similar interests. At least, that’s what it seemed like. As a grown up, first you have to find someone to “hang out” with. This can be complicated if you work in an occupation that makes it difficult to find appropriate dates (like law enforcement—after all, I doubt most of the people you come into contact with would make your “I want to see if this person is the one” list). Once you do find someone you’re interested in spending time with, you have to figure out how to learn about them. When we were young, we knew a lot about each other by virtue of our surroundings (what school you went to, how old you were by your grade level, what interests you had due to clubs or sports you were involved in, what kind of people you liked by who you hung out with, even what you like to eat because of cafeteria observations), but now as a grown-up that information is hidden. You might know a bit because of where you met (a gym, the grocery store, a glass blowing class or a Shakespeare festival), but finding out who the person you’re dating IS means you have to do a little work.
Mike Wasilewski and Althea Olson wrote a great article outlining what the three to six month timeframe of dating could look like. Much of this time is getting to know the other person. This is the information gathering stage. Granted both people are still on their best behavior at this point. The article defines it aptly as my representative is dating your representative. But if you’re looking at long term—if your goal is to determine if the person you’re seeing is someone you could spend the rest of your life with and not just someone you can tolerate over the holidays, you need to get to know them. The best way to get to know something better is to ask a lot of questions.
Asking questions can help you get beyond your partner’s likes and dislikes. A popular dating site states they matched people up by compatibility, so I looked into how they figure this out. I for one would love to know what to look for to determine compatibility and I wondered if compatibility is something you can become more of. If you’re dating, just married or have been married for 25 years, can you become more compatible with your mate? According to their rating, it appears you can. Their compatibility rating is split into two sections.
The first section is core traits which are defining aspects of who you are and remain largely unchanged throughout your adult life. These traits are split into four sections: Emotional Temperament (self concept, emotional status), Social Style (character, kindness, dominance, sociability, autonomy and adaptability), Cognitive Mode (intellect, curiosity, humor and artistic passion) and Physicality (passion, sexuality, appearance).