Side By Side

noahs arkThey say that the first step to improving your life is to admit you have a problem. Most of the women I know are well aware of what their type, or pattern is. Unfortunately, knowing your pattern doesn’t always correlate with making the changes you need to make.

I once had a friend who knew she had a problem. She easily confessed that she had such bad taste in men that she could walk into any bar, in any city, and be guaranteed she’d pick up the saddest, loneliest asshole every time. I knew two of her husbands and she was right. I hope in the 25 years since I moved away she has been able to make better choices.

Another, recently divorced, friend of mine is pretty aware of her patterns. She has had a tendency to date enthusiastic dreamers and is convinced that if she’s attracted to a man, there is no way he knows how to adult. In other words, if a man behaves like an adult then she is sure there is no way she could be attracted to him. Knowledge doesn’t always manifest change, but she’s working on it.

My own track record with men is pretty abysmal; I have repeatedly dated men who bring the same old familiar patterns into our relationship. Basically, if you have commitment issues and have a pattern of becoming totally silent when you’re upset, then I’ve probably dated you. If we haven’t dated yet, please make and wear a sign telling me this is who you are so I don’t make the mistake of starting to date you.

I have been single for over 9 years now and I am in no rush to anchor myself to anyone. I am happy being single and have gotten to the point that it’s difficult for me to envision ever living with someone again. It’s hard to picture having to let someone know what I’m doing and when. It’s even harder to imagine ever washing someone else’s dirty underwear.

Being un-convinced that I need a man in my life sometimes makes it challenging to date someone. All of us over the age of 3 have pre-conceived ideas of what a relationship looks like and it’s difficult to convince men that I am not trying to force them into becoming joined at the hip. Side by side may have worked for Noah and the ark, but I have no interest in being on that boat.

As a single woman I have been privy to uncountable conversations with friends about dating and/or living with someone of the opposite sex. I am amazed how many women who, despite being 100% self-sufficient, still think that having a man in their life is what they need to make their life complete.

The most mind-boggling example of this is the friend who called me a few years back. Her divorce had been finalized that day and she spoke briefly about how that felt. She then launched into an extended discussion of how badly she wanted to be married again. In other words, she had just walked away from a relationship that didn’t fit well and wanted to immediately run back into another one. I can’t even begin to tell you how foreign that thought process was to me.

From listening to my friends, I’ve found that some dating behaviors seem to be pretty consistent. In my circle of female friends, it is almost a given that once you are ready to move forward after a break-up, at least one man from your past will start reaching out to you again. Although it feels like this occurs just to mess with your head, I am sure that it’s actually the Universe asking you if you’re really ready to move forward or if you’d prefer to repeat your mistakes.

I have dated many men who tended to forget we were dating while we were in the relationship, but as soon as I would finally say enough and walk away, I would become freakin’ unforgettable. To this day, there are still two or three ex’s who call or text semi-regularly.

One man, who I am still quite fond of, calls me every six months or so wanting to know if I would be interested in starting something up again. Please note: he has no interest in changing any of the behaviors that prevented the relationship from working, he’s just convinced that what he brings to the table is irresistible. I am always happy to hear from him, but I am also happy to let him know I can resist him, and I have no interest in moving backwards.

Another interesting aspect of being a single woman is the wish list. Every self-help guru advocates making a list of what you want in a mate. You are supposed to make that list and then envision that you have a man in your life who fulfills the list. Easy-peasy.

Communication is important to me, but it’s such a basic need it doesn’t even make my list of what I want in a man. What does make my list could be viewed as pretty intimidating. I won’t bore you with the whole mantra, but here’s the basics of what I’m looking for:

I want a man who is Available, Able to Plan, Accepting, Appreciative, Attentive, Attractive, Athletic, A Best Friend, Companionable, Comfortable, Compassionate, Confident, Exciting, Faithful, Funny, Honest, Independent, Interesting, Kind, Loving, Nice, Nurturing, Positive, Present, Rational, Respectful, Single, Smart, Spontaneous, Stable and Strong.

I don’t think I’m asking for too much. If you know of anyone who meets all of that criteria, please let me know.



One thought on “Side By Side”

  1. I think most of the time people (both men and women) get into trouble when they seek facets in a partner that they themselves haven’t developed. For instance, I’ll take the liberty of using your example of the woman who dates men who can’t adult…is it possible that she’s either a tad bit codependent (read: needs someone to take care of to feel worthwhile), or is it possible that she longs for a life of less responsibility? The same theory could be applied to the woman attracted to dreamers…does she wish that she dreamed more herself, and does she get that dreamer quality by proxy when dating a man who dreams.

    If and when, we (of both genders) are fulfilled with ourselves, it’s easy to find oneself content being single (take that as a compliment Jean). But, it’s very hard for most people to reach a point where they are content with themselves…mainly because they don’t do the necessary self-inquiry required to find there own issues, and resolve them so that they are at peace with themselves. Once you love yourself for who you are, and are at peace with yourself, you will only find that relationships add to your life by adding an “extra piece” rather than just completing the puzzle.

What are your thoughts?