Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dating’s Prime Directive

Lately I find myself delving into new worlds, going boldly where I have never gone before. I’ve found my final frontier, and it isn’t space. No, I’ve found it in a younger man. Who woulda thunk it? After a decade of dating, from the slightly younger to the significantly older, I think I may have my match in a relatively young guy. Relatively being six years my junior, still in college and having the attitude to match.

With so many differences between us (age, life experience, education) it can be very difficult to hold back advice. I’ve come to realize that our relationship requires a Prime Directive. Starfleet’s Prime Directive states that there can be no interference with the development of an alien civilization. Okay, so calling a guy an alien is a bit of a stretch (just a bit), but the same principle applies in the younger guy situation. He is still working through his formative years, learning professionalism, self-sufficiency, adult-like manners, and personal, professional and educational responsibility. As much as I would love like to take over and show him how to do things, I can’t. Simple as that. I went through those same years without someone dictating my every move and I owe the same to him.

That all said, there are (several) times when it’s okay to breach the Prime Directive, such as a hint here or edited essay there. There is actually a difference between dictating and advising, though as a control freak that line is blurred. While I can’t tell him what to do, which ensures a rebellious response, I can offer advice that he is free to take or not. The trick for me is to not be upset if he refuses the advice even though I know it will improve his circumstances… But he has to learn from his own mistakes! However, if I am asked for advice or help, then the Prime Directive is less restrictive. I’ve been asked to proofread an essay and his resume. I did these things gladly but I also made sure to involve him in the process, that way I wasn’t taking over completely and could show him why I made the changes.

This brings up an especially important note for dealing with other people, especially younger males. No one likes to lose control. Even further, no one likes being told what to do without having solid reasons to back up this action. If you want a person to change himself or his product, then you should tell that person why you would like to see that change happen, what it would mean to change, and how it can improve their life. Then wait for them to process and adopt this change if they want to. Trust me, you’re more likely to succeed this way!

All in all, dating a younger man has its pros and cons. That’s enough for a whole ‘nother post! But, above all else, follow the Prime Directive. Be there to support your man when he needs but stay out of his hair otherwise! Just be sure to communicate clearly and accept who he is. Do this and you both will be happy.