How many men have you dated based on the potential of what the relationship could be in the future?
When they graduate from “blah blah” they will have the time and resources to invest in our relationship. When they achieve “this” and “that” they will be able to settle into their sense of self and be present for you. When they go to their therapist and realize that part of their past, they will acknowledge how patient I have been. When they do “X,” “Y,” and “Z,” then I will be able to have the relationship I am desiring from them. And on, and on, and on, and on.
Dating someone base on where you anticipate them to be emotionally, socially, economically, physically, or psychologically, two years, five years, or even a decade from now is invalidating your present moment experience that is saying that something right now is not working.
If you find yourself in a place of making up excuses or narratives around the growth or development your partner is needing to make for you to feel secure, sure, or stable in the relationship, then you are settling. You are ignoring your present moment experience and instead choosing to live in the realm of fantasy where you have created a fictional version of the person you are fondling at night. No judgement. I have done it. I have done it many times.