Before you admit the attentions of a gentleman who wishes to pay you his addresses, very carefully examine your respective tastes and dispositions; and settle in your own mind what are the most important requisites of happiness in a married state. With this view, you must enter upon the consideration of the subject with a calm and decisive spirit, which will enable you to see where your true happiness lies, and to pursue it with determined resolution – Martine’s Handbook to Etiquette and Guide to True Politeness, Arthur Martine, Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, 1866.
Welcome to the Information Age where education is freely available to all through Google University and the dating pool now extends to the whole world. Dating sites bring the credentials of potential dates to your keyboard and the forum to interact from the safety of your own home. So why does it seem to be harder than ever before to find a partner?
At least that’s how it appears to me.
I have a confession to make. I have never dated in the Information Age. I met the Italian Stallion almost three decades ago, at an age when the closest we came to a computer was through the Casio calculators in our backpacks. That said, I have listened to the laments of many a woman in their thirties and older as to how hard it is to find a good man.
Let me tell you, men. I’m on your side.
I’m on your side, because I think these women are looking for partner perfection. They probably have a better chance of finding a unicorn.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with standards or having high standards. Neither should a woman have to settle. But the attributes and characteristics of this perfectly baked partner seems a little endless and unrealistic. The perfect candidate seems to be:
- financially stable,
- knows where he is going,
- is a gentlemen and a romantic,
- dresses well and is well presented,
- carries no baggage,
- is intelligent, and
- tells great jokes and is so confident in his own skin he asks for directions.
OK, I made the last one up, but you get the drift.
As a long time married woman who has been let in on the secret that marriage is not easy, takes work and there will be times when either or both of you are less than perfect, this list resembles a whole lot of bucket. As a mother of sons it elicits a yikes!
The reality is you create a life together and settling down with one person is not without risk. The above attributes do not guarantee happiness nor a happily ever after.
Just looking at the list, I can’t help thinking that perhaps the notion of commitment is scarier now. Bad relationship bust up stories abound and tend to drown out the successes and perhaps with more women making their own fortunes the financial stakes are higher. Does the list get longer as women’s feet get colder?
Guys tend to be able to get away with not wanting to commitment. On the other hand perfection for many women is being partnered.
Seeking an understanding and authentic partner should be the goal rather than perfection. A relationship where you are accepted as you is about as perfect as it gets. The rest you work through together.
21 thoughts on “The R of Living Imperfectly: The Rigours of Relationships #atozchallenge”
Excellent post. Every partner-seeking individual should tead this. I know a couple of the women you are talking about who expect all those things in the man they seek. I think “honey, what are you offering in return” or ” when do you plan to show him your baggage?”
Relationships are a work/love/life in progress. We don’t come to them perfectly formed and we evolve individually and together from the first day on.
You nailed it in that last paragraph. Speaking of evolution/change there is also no guarantee that the “perfect” man will stay perfect over the years. You have to have some flex. I think “Sex in the City” has a lot to answer for 😉
I just read through all the comments on your post. A topic that grabbed attention, and it was fun to see what everyone had to say. Good job on stimulating lively discussion 🙂
I was married well before the online information age, so I haven’t experienced this either. But for those marrying at older ages, finding someone who “carries no baggage” will be a difficult task. Who among us doesn’t carry baggage, especially the older we get? The better way to approach it is to probably find someone whose baggage you can live with. 🙂
True. The tendency to become more set in our ways as we age can also be seen as baggage.
Nice. I’ve been married a long time, but I snatched up my hubby just as soon as I could. When I met a guy with manners, a love of God, AND a sense of humor, I was a lost cause. (It helped that he liked me in return. A lot.)
I think that’s the key. If you want one before they’re scarred and carry baggage, you’re better off bagging one early. Oh, and being the type of person who’d attract what you’re looking for.
True Heroes from A to Z
Hi Crystal, thanks for the comment. You see, there were a total of three traits on your list and therefore your chances of finding a partner seemed far more realistic. Hope you’re enjoying the A to Z.
great advice – stay in the realms of reality! relationships are far from perfect, even if you think you find the perfect match. reach for a like-minded soul on the big stuff and the rest will work out.
i like the level-headed, persevering tone of your posts.
happy r day!
Thanks Tara for dropping by and for your comment. I try to be level headed in most things I do, doesn’t always work, but I try 🙂
And don’t forget to add to that list that most women are looking for a man that is all that AND drop dead gorgeous!!!! I tell my granddaughter to look for the traits in a guy that will stay because the looks will go…in all of us. My husband was short, fat, bald, dressed badly, broke but was ready to take me on with two little kids while I was in nursing school and working 2 other jobs. He had good manners, cared about my kids and treated me like a queen. 37 years later I am glad that I snatched him up. Yes, we had many, many problems along the way but like you said marriage is not a fairy tale and there will be problems. It is all up to you to work through them. Great post!
Oops, I did forget gorgeous. Do you think expectations have become so unrealistic because it’s now so much easier to filter for traits online? Your hubby sounded like he had all the essentials and you were wise to snatch him up.
Judy, I have been away from the dating scene for thirty years, so times have changed. I guess I would caution anyone using a dating sight as it is a polished up version of yourself at best and at worst one with embellishments. My first question would be how much of the faux you resembles the real you. If someone is too good to be true, theyprobably are. I will stay married if that is OK. BTG
Agree that dating sites must be used with caution. It’s the same with any connection site whether that’s for dating or for friendship or even business. I really feel for these women because in their search for perfection they could be missing out on something great.
Perfect is definitely the enemy of the good.
Hey great post! Hitched myself for over 25 years and it seems to me the easier we make it to bust up that M word the more demanding we are of perfection in the partner. I can tell you, I’m glad my wife has gal has no such delusions. I’d be up a creek. But her longsuffering seems to bring me around with time. Great post! I hope you are enjoying the challenge of A-Z. Keep up the good stuff.
Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. You are wise indeed to listen to her longsuffering 🙂
I kept meaning to get by here and never quite made it.
I’m happy Mary and I met well before the Information Age. (For that matter, I started college before calculators were affordable. I think I used a slide rule my first year.) I look at what people are looking for in a partner, and I just can’t believe it. If I was looking now, it’d never happen; I’d be a bachelor for the rest of my life.
Toi be fair, there were men and women that had shopping lists for the perfect mate back in the day. It’s just that we never had the tools to do an extensive background check like they do today. It was more fun then, and not anywhere near as creepy. Half the fun was getting to know the other person. It might be why there’s so much divorce today: people go into a relationship thinking “this person is the perfect one for me; I’ve done the due diligence,” only to find that choosing a partner isn’t like choosing a blender or a car.
That’s right, cars and blenders usually come with a warranty :). People probably did have lists but I think the Information Age has lead us to raise the standards way too high. The flipside is a whole bunch of guys thinking they are not good enough or that most women are elitist.
That’s exactly it. It’s an attitude of “I don’t have to settle for anything but perfection.”
I remember my mother having a fit because I was going to marry a girl that wasn’t Irish. Then she had a fit because my next younger brother was marrying a non-Catholic. The next brother down brought her everything she wanted: his fiancee was Irish, Catholic, from our neighborhood, went to the same high school as Mom, her mother was a teacher, etc. etc. And Mom and my sister-in-law HATED each other. It’s the same thing.
I believe that it’s important to have standards. But I also believe that standards should not be absolutes. Be prepared to lower them when necessary, but not too low that you lose self-respect. Standards should also be logical, not too high that no one can ever reach you. Besides, what makes us think we fit guys’ (or girls’, as the case maybe) standards as well? 😉
Yes, it’s a two way street and some standards should not be intractable. It’s a real shame all around because these women could really contribute to a partnership if they just lowered the draw bridge. Thanks for the follow and the comments 🙂