If they’re men already, and deserving of that descriptive tag, they should already be doing, not storing up.
On dating men with “potential”

This right here is part of the problem. By trying to define “a man” in this way you are, unintentionally, attempting to control another person’s identity. While that is a problem in and of itself it also harms you.

It harms you because it gives you a short cut to thinking about the other person as a person — and thus ignoring flaws and seeing the good in them. You thus buy into the notion that “being a man” is synonymous with “being good” in a limited fashion. It leads to discontent whenever a man is suddenly, if partially, “not a man”.

No person is all good all of the time — there are conflicting definitions for “good” so this is impossible. Some men are arseholes, some more often or in more ways than others. But they are still men.

Some women are bitches, some more often or in more ways than others. But they are still women. I think a case could be made that at some point someone can accurately describe any woman and a bitch and any man as an arsehole. Because we are all varied and sometimes our perception is inherently biased and reflects not the person.

But to say someone isn’t “a man” because they aren’t doing what you want them to do is in essence an attempt to define their identity for them. When you define someone else’s identity you reduce your ability to interact positively with them, and whatever group identity you’ve assigned them to.

Indeed your “men with potential” identity which you’ve assigned to the men in this piece isn’t accurate or helpful. By labeling those men as “not a man” you’ve ignored the common threads among the cases you detailed. Their actions defined their identity, and you’ve set that aside, and assigned then the identity of “someone with potential”.

Yet I am sure you’d agree that there are indeed men with potential who simply haven’t obtained it yet. I’d argue all of us, men, women, or other, with rare exception can be described that way. At any given point “living up to one’s potential” isn’t desirable. It is the judgement of the individual what takes priority. It is the individual priorities we establish that make us unique and fit each other in different ways.

In a certain light this is no different than the “for the shareholders” fallacy. In this fallacy the board of directors of a corporation must act “in the interest of the shareholders”. Yet they can not, because different shareholders can, and do, have competing interests. A common one would be short term actions which boost short term price and exchanges long term growth. Which action be fits shareholders universally? None.

In the same way “men with potential” can not mean the same thing to all “shareholders” — potential mates. Instead I woild recommend looking at their priorities. By determining if their priorities are in line with yours you can form a rational decision on their fitness for a relationship with you while avoiding devaluing them as “not men”. This would be far more likely to result in better relationships and a more clear-headed view of “potential”.

It is much easier to be compassionate toward someone if you decide your priorities are different than if you identify them as “less”. We can judge a person’s priorities as incompatible with ours rather than judging them personally. In my opinion we could all use a bit more compassion, and less assigning of arbitrary identity to each other.

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