So, as some of you may be aware, I am getting married here in a few days. I am excited as hell to finally be married to the love of my life. Thinking about that, I have looked back on how I got to the place I am today: it has been a bumpy, rough road. I have made a lot of mistakes, and I have fallen down a lot more than I can count. But I have come through it smarter and infinitely happier with my life. So I decided, "Why not share some of the big things you have learned?"
First: People Date People, Not Things
So, some fringe kinks aside, people date people. Now, that may sound inherently obvious, of course people date people, but what I mean to say is that people are more than just some self-applied/externally-applied labels. Think about a group of people you associate with. Now think of how different the people within that group are. People really are unique creatures, with no two minds thinking alike.
The point I am trying to drive at here is that all too often, I see people trying to live up to the definition of some idealistic state of being. It's not wrong to strive to become a better person, whatever definition you may have for that, but think for a moment: do you want the person you are dating (or would be dating) to like you because you are a mold for a certain ideal, or because you are uniquely you? If the answer is the former, then you must understand that the other person merely likes the thought of a person like you. They will be disillusioned, however, by the inevitable mistakes you make simply because you are human. In that case, better for them to realize your humanity and susceptibility to failure than to have their perfect view of you shattered because you were never supposed to make a mistake. Thus, it is better to not label yourself an Alpha, or a Nice Guy, or whatever other idealistic name you want to call yourself.
This must also be a two way street. When taking others into consideration, don't get it into your head that the one you want the most is a specific type of person, because your high expectations will fail you. This is OK, though. Don't sell yourself short, always go for someone who will treat you with respect, but take them for being the person they are, not an ideal you desire.
Second: Be Honest
Now, again, I understand, this one sounds a little obvious, but let me explain: I'm not just talking about everyday honesty, I'm talking about being truthful to yourself, and then expressing that true self to the other person so they can understand what you expect from the relationship.
For instance, when we first started talking, my fiancé came out and said, "Look, I'm only going for a relationship that will lead to marriage. I don't expect you to come out and propose right away, I just don't want another relationship with someone who can't commit." I agreed to the terms, and I set my own demands: that if I pay for something, it wouldn't be based on expectation, but based on me being nice and gifting her that something. Also, while it wasn't something I expected immediately, I told her that sex had to be a part of our relationship: that I wasn't going to play the waiting game for a long ass time to find out that it was not going to happen.
After that, we were true with each other: she told me about her son and her shortcomings with previous relationships, I told her about my failures in schooling and my tendency to play video games, sometimes excessively. The best part about the experience: there was no "cupcake" period, nor the resulting down period which we would fight. Instead, we realized that the other was just human, that we were just human, and that we didn't have to be perfect individuals. We just had to care and love each other for being who we are.