I wonder if we need to think in terms of a minimum threshold we need to attain before dating. It wouldn’t be a tricky thing: a useful way to make a living, some money, physical health, mental health, freedom from addiction, established probity in one’s affairs.
As a list of low-level requirements, it doesn’t challenge mainstream ideas. If you want to become and remain a member of almost any society, these are close to being the least the rest of us can ask.
But reasonableness does not apply to dating and romance. Nor sex. Unspoken and unwritten, the unstated assumption is that the price of entry to the world of making a union with another – no matter the length – is only that we can breathe. Living for the moment is almost the assumed position from which we begin relationships, a kind of human rights assumption without reference to what it means to be a human, let alone how rights are issued.
Which is a long way around to say that the responsibility for the success of any relationship begins with us. You and me. My relationship with you depends upon who I am, how I present, my foundation, the way I make my way; in an oddly isolating way, you begin with me.
Let’s stipulate that we’re looking for something who is additive to our life, not a net withdrawal. Finding the person who will make 1 + 1 = >2 therefore begins with having our heads above water. We don’t build lighthouses underwater. Let’s not shine our own light until we’ve found a solid headland from which to beam.