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Kissing frogs, living through it, and writing to tell about it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bad Bait?

A friend of mine recently sent me this comment, "You really need to learn to pull back at the first red flags... You might want to think about setting your parameters for men a little narrower, because while this wide net you're casting is great fodder for the blog, it's not catching you much in the way of quality men to spend your life with. I'm worried about you." She also sent me a FB message that she is worried that I am lowering my standards and settling, out of fear that I will be single forever, and that I should make a list of what I want. I feel like I can't win. If I give every guy I meet a chance, I'm "lowering my standards and settling", and if I write them off based on reading their profile, I'm "judgemental and too picky"... I feel like I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't... The old adage "you can't please everyone" really IS true!

I actually have a list. When I was young, I participated in the True Love Waits program through my church, and we were encouraged to make a list of what we would look for in a future mate. My list has changed over the years (in large part, thanks to things I learned from past relationships), but the basics have stayed the same. Now, my purpose in trying online dating is not to find a husband... There are a lot of things I want to do in this life, and I want someone there to share those experiences with. Eventually, I would like to get married and have a family, but I am also content in my single life. There are a lot of things I have been able to do, and a lot of freedoms I have enjoyed, that would not have been as easy or possible if I were raising a family. My friends comments (well-intentioned, and out of genuine concern), have started me thinking... Am I too picky? Or am I not picky enough?

For your amusement, I have included "The List", partly because I am hoping for feedback to tell me if I am way off base here, and partly because I am proud of my "parameters".

1. Kind
2. Mature
3. Good with money
4. Adventurous (likes to do/try new things)
5. Wants/likes/is good with kids
6. Ambitious/Hard working
7. Adaptable (not stubborn & stuck in his ways)
8. Loyal/Faithful
9. Good listener (and can carry a conversation)
10. Patient
11. Respectful
12. Down to earth/Laid back/Easy going
13. Positive attitude
14. Reliable
15. Committed to meeting me halfway
16. Has goals and a plan to meet them
17. Wants to spend time with me, but is okay being apart & having space
18. Affectionate
19. Fun
20. Great smile
21. Makes me excited to be with him
22. Non-smoker, non- drug user, not a heavy drinker
23. Not a “party animal”
24. Big family is a plus, but not a requirement

The problem with having "a list" (besides the fact that if any potential date knew about it, I'm sure he would run for the hills), is that it's hard to know when to give someone a chance, and when to make a snap decision that they are not what I am looking for, and to pass them by. In the online dating world, this is especially hard. It is easy to judge a person based on a few sentences on their profile. If they don't fill it out, they seem "lazy", and if they write too much, they come off as "desperate". Someone who enjoys video games is written off as a "slacker", but someone who enjoys clubbing is too much of a "party-animal". When I first started this experience, I was being very selective as to which messages I responded to, and which person I would contact. I was being very picky. Then I read an article that highlighted the risks of writing someone off too soon, stating that overlooking them because of something they wrote (or neglected to write) on an online dating site does not guarantee they are not a good match... at the very least, this person could teach me something about love, life, or even myself. I agree that every person to cross our path does so for a reason, and that there is something we can learn from every individual we meet... The article made me re-think how I was approaching online dating (and dating in general). I started responding to anyone who sent me a message, since "you never know"... Doing so has been even more depressing than being selective. And while my friend is right, I do gain experiences that make for a fun blog, I feel increasingly more and more convinced that a genuine, regular, normal boy-next door just simply does not exist, especially not online. I'm including the article I read below... what do you think? Is it better to quickly weed out potential dates based on a brief introduction to who they are (and meet a LOT of frogs), or to stay open to *almost* everyone who crosses my path, in hopes that I don't overlook a prince, disguised as a frog?


Why You Shouldn't Write Him OffBy Rori Raye, Author of best-selling eBook Have The Relationship You Want and free newsletter.

It's all too easy to decide a certain man isn't for you - we make such quick judgments from those first impressions. And if you're on Plenty Of Fish, you might think that there's plenty of choice, which means you shouldn't have to settle for someone who doesn't measure up.

But giving a man a chance isn't settling - it's opening yourself up to the man who may ultimately be right for you. Here's why...

MAKING SNAP JUDGEMENTS MEANS YOU COULD MISS YOUR MR. RIGHT

Remember Charlotte and Harry on Sex and The City? The bald, sweaty, often brusque man was not Charlotte's ideal suitor by any stretch of the imagination. If Charlotte had met Harry at a bar and he had asked her out, she probably would have rejected him out right. But, as you may know, Harry was Charlotte's lawyer, so by default she was spending more and more time with him. Before she knew it, she was swept away by the "wrong" guy who was absolutely right for her and adored her like no other. Likewise, the perfect guy for you might not come in the package you've imagined... but you won't know that unless you give him a chance.

The other thing to remember is that you wouldn't want a man to make a snap judgment about you. Think about the times a man has written you off without taking the time to discover all the wonderful things about you. So, if you find yourself thinking "he's too this" or "he's too that," stop and ask the very same questions about yourself. Are you the perfect height? The most desirable weight? Are you without flaws yourself? Remember that any man who dates you will also have to overlook your "imperfections"... and focus instead on what makes you who you are.

YOU COULD BE SHORT-CIRCUITING YOUR CHANCES FOR TRUE LOVE

Every single man who comes into your life - regardless of how long he stays or what kind of an impact he makes - will teach you something you need to know to get you to the next stage of your love life... and help you identify the right man when he does show up.

Maybe this new man will turn into the best guy friend you ever had, maybe he'll open your eyes to parts of you that are more attractive than you've ever considered. Or maybe there's something about him that will clue you in to something you need in a man.

Ask yourself: is there something I need to find out here? For instance, maybe he's an artist and you've only dated business-type guys, and this guy shows you how to appreciate the sensitive side in a man. Or it could be that this new man treats you so well that you'll realize you deserve so much more than what you've been settling for.

BREAK THE PATTERNS OF YOUR PAST... AND FIND TRUE LOVE

If you've been making bad choices in your love life until now - if you've had your heart broken too often or you seem to pick the same kind of men who aren't good for you - then you need to let a man grow on you in a different way. You need to learn to feel the pleasure of being loved and appreciated by a good man. And the only way to do that is to push yourself past your usual comfort zones and give different kinds of guys a chance - namely, the men who are pursuing you.

Here's a quick little exercise that will open your eyes: write down the qualities you're looking for in a guy, then write down the qualities of the last four guys you dated. Are they similar? Are you repeating a pattern? Only by expanding your view of what constitutes a worthy date will you finally be able to break the patterns that have been holding you back.

Before you write off a new man, give him six dates. Yes, six (unless he makes you feel uncomfortable or is disrespectful.) But if you find him pleasant enough, look past the initial lack of fireworks and simply spend time with him on a get-to-know-you basis. Forget the pressure of dating, and just get to know another human being. True chemistry only happens over time and when you feel safe with someone; this is the kind of chemistry that stands the test of time and plants the seed for a lifelong romance.

5 comments:

  1. Dear Princess,

    Your list is a terrific start but isn’t it a little non-specific? What girl doesn’t want someone who is kind and a good listener and faithful and respectful. But get down to the nitty gritty and think about the things that you would be living with every day.

    To me, education is a big deal. If he isn’t educated or doesn’t believe in education how are we going to make sure that it’s a priority for our children? He doesn’t have to have a PhD in Rocket Science but he’s got to appreciate that it takes more than a High School education to be competitive in today’s world.

    A job that he can keep is a big deal too. I dated a guy who, in the few weeks we dated, went through about five jobs. He lied about rule #1 – education but I, mistakenly, gave him a bye on that. He was also divorced and had no self-reflection on the experience to include that he might have been part of the problem. It was all her fault because she wanted unreasonable things like what her brother and his wife had. Questioning him further I found out what she really wanted was some stability and a home of their own, which her wealthy parents were more than willing to help them buy in very pricey Los Angeles, so that they could have a child. Doesn’t sound too unreasonable to me. I thought he solved my problem of breaking up with him when he disappeared for weeks until he showed up at my door one Sunday afternoon and wanted me to pick up where we left off. So, yeah, a guy who is stable enough to keep a job rose right up on the list. Good to note here – if he’s divorced how does he talk about his ex?

    Health insurance has become another huge one for me too. Of course that goes along with having a stable job. I’m not opposed to working and carrying my own financial weight in a relationship but I don’t want someone to think he can quit his job and play computer games all day because I can carry the insurance.

    If a man can’t keep a job and/or his job doesn’t have health insurance what kind of a provider would he be for you and your children. You say you want someone committed to meeting you halfway, well this would be one of those halfway issues. Again, be specific.

    What are his passions? I stopped dating because I got sick and tired of meeting guys who had no other hobbies than surfing the net and watching TV. The best guys I’ve dated have had interests beyond just finding Ms. Right. One guy was really into a Cappella music and we went to an a Cappella concert on our second date. Incidentally he was my best first date ever and the kind of guy who I would have normally dismissed out of hand based on looks because physically he was more George Costanza than George Clooney. Another guy was reading The Inferno when I met him. Yes, Dante’s Inferno. I played it cool and asked him if he was reading it in the original Italian, which he wasn’t, but still impressive. But even a guy who gets out and golfs or plays softball or bowls or goes to art galleries or wine tastings has got to be more interesting than the guy who spends his life looking at glowing boxes. Incidentally you participating in interesting activities is a good way to meet men too.

    I’m also a real stickler for him paying at least for the first date. It kind of tells you a little bit about how he was raised. And listen to what he’s not saying, although you seem to be pretty good at that. But if he’s complaining about money from the get go, he’s always going to be complaining about money. And it doesn’t have to be money, it could be anything. I had one who kept talking about not making his High School basketball team because the coach was anti-Semitic, ad nauseam. If he keeps talking about it, it’s his hot button issue. Is it something you can live with for the rest of your life?

    Princess, you have a choice here too. It’s not just him choosing you so don’t get caught up in what he’s looking for in a woman. Get more caught up in what you’re looking for in a man and how it will play out over the years.

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  2. wow Michele are you still single??? Health insurance??? seriously... if you have a good job then you should have your own and that is all that should matter... It does not take more than a high school education to be productive in today's world... honestly?? Who ever said you need a BA to be successful I have one.. and I work a part time job... my husband has high school.. and makes very good money doing what he loves...
    my princess friend :D:D you know who I am... I think your list is perfect as you said it is the basics.. You can't judge someone based on "health insurance, money, and education" give them a chance to show you the real them...
    yes it can be adventurous, and yes a little strange... but when you go as a open minded person you may find someone who you never thought would be your prince.. keep it up :D there is a good one out there :)

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  3. Michele- I hear what you are saying. Having a job is such a given, I didn't even think it warranted being on the list. However, see #3, 6, & 16. I am looking for a guy who will pull his own weight (#15), which includes financially (when we get to that point).

    Education isn't a requirement for me, because some people learn skills or a trade in HS or through life. I have a very intelligent good friend who did not go to college, but has a decent career in insurance, and another who only took one semester of college, yet is moving up in the banking and restaurant worlds. I want a man who is intelligent, but it is much more important to me that he is a good person. If he went to college, great! But not every guy who went to college took it seriously- I'd rather date a man who did not go to college, but is serious about their job, than one who partied and slid by with C's in order to land their okay job. Quality and substance are what I am looking for.

    As for health insurance, I've never considered that as important, as I plan on having my own career and healthcare policy. I don't plan on relying on a man for that, though, if his plan is better than mine, by all means I'll use his!

    I agree with you about hobbies and interests (see #4 & 19)- I want a guy who like to do different activities, which includes with me and without me. I don't plan on dating a guy whose only interest is video games... I want to get out and do things (walk in the park, tennis, laser tag, paintball, road trip, Italy, etc.), but who is also content watching a movie on the couch after cooking dinner together. If his hobbies are things I've never tried, that's exciting, as he can teach me something new, but as long as we have a few things in common that we both enjoy, I'll be happy. :)

    What I value most in a potential partner is someone I can trust, who is loyal and honest, kind, and has a great attitude. I have dated so many guys who looked good on paper, but had the personality of a toad. I'd rather date one who looks like a toad on paper, but has the personality of a prince. The other things (education, job, etc.) are just icing on the cake. As long as he HAS a job, and enjoys what he's doing, I'm happy. If he doesn't make a lot of money, but enjoys what he is doing, I'm content living on a pauper's pay. Besides, I'm going to rule the world one day, and I'll have more than enough money for both of us. ;)

    Miller- Thank you! I know you have had similar experiences, and you can relate. I also know you are happy with how things turned out. I truly believe there are still good ones left, and I am more than willing to kiss as many frogs as I need to in order to find him. :)

    Thank you both for your support! <3

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  4. Those are the things I look for Princess because I don't want to let romanticized notions of love and happily ever after to blind me to reality and the necessity of security in a relationship. Love can't pay the bills when the main breadwinner gets laid off and it certainly can't pay both the household bills and medical bills when the middle aged main breadwinner is diagnosed with a serious illness and her employer releases her from employment because of all the time she is taking off for her treatments.

    I can tell you story after story of women I know who have made decisions based on romanticized notions of love and died sooner than they might have if they had foresight to choose differently or women who stay with abusers or drug addicts just because they're afraid of being alone. I just don't want you to be on this list.

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  5. I get what you are saying. Perhaps when I am older, I will add that to the list. But at the moment, health insurance just isn't one of my top priorities when going on dates with someone. But I DO appreciate your concern! :)

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