Single, Divorced, or Other

  One of the mistakes people make with their online dating profile is they do not properly classify themselves. You may ask what the big deal is if you are not attached and honestly looking for someone.  Again, I must revisit the honesty aspect of dating.  You need to be totally honest if you are to find someone who is right for you.  If a prospective date feels you are not being totally honest, you will either lose their interest or their respect.  If someone is looking to have a long term relationship, this is one area that you cannot compromise in your search.  While all of this should go without saying, we have all seen our share is information on profiles that is either not true, embellished, or downright fabricated.

SINGLE

You are only single if you have NEVER been married.  Period.  There is no discussion or “but if’s” that should be taking place here.  Single is single.  There are many reasons this may be important to others who view your profile.  One reason is that some people, for religious reasons, are not comfortable dating someone who has been divorced.  This may be hugely important to them!  Another reason this may be important to someone is if someone has children, they will more than likely be looking for someone who fits into their children’s life also.  They will consider maturity level and lifestyle, and never being married does come into play many times.  One last reason I want to address here for a single status being of importance is that if you are over a certain age (for example 40, just for my example’s purpose) and you have never been married, there are certain things that a potential date will be considering:  1) What is wrong with this person? 2) Does this person have a commitment problem?  3) Is he a womanizer? or 4) What other issues are going on with this person that prevent them from having been married by this age?  While some of this thought process may not seem fair, there are very valid reasons to think about each of these questions.

Do not mistake me here, there are many, many wonderful people out there who are single and have never been married for a multitude of reason, including they just haven’t found the right one yet.  However, I am suggesting that for some, there is a lot more to it than that.  So if you find someone who has never been married and is over 40, dig deep to find out everything you can.  This does NOT suggest there is anything wrong with them – they may just not have found YOU yet!  I am only saying to tread with caution!

DIVORCED

Again, divorced is divorced!!  PERIOD.  This also should be a no-brainer, but for some it is a whole discussion.  Divorced means you have gone through the whole time period of a legal separation, as required by your state, and been granted a divorce by the state.  Divorced never, ever means you are separated.  IF YOU ARE SEPARATED, YOU ARE NOT DIVORCED – no question about it!  On almost every dating site, there is a category for separated – use it!  While some may think this is no big deal because they WILL BE divorced, it is a HUGE deal to others who are looking and sincerely want to find that right one and get married.  Separated means you are not available to get married, maybe not for a very long time.  You should not be misleading someone who really wants that in their life.  It is just not right to lead someone into a relationship that cannot be what they are looking for.  Some may argue that if the two parties have a great relationship then there is nothing wrong with it.  I disagree.  While you may have a great relationship with each other, you are still preventing that person from living out their life hopes and dreams of marriage, or you are asking them to wait until you are available.  If you are willing to be this unfair to someone now, how do you expect them to think this would ever change?  There is just nothing right about lying about your real availability when dating.  It hurt others and breaks hearts, and there is no acceptable excuse for it.

OTHER

Another kind of man (or women) we find is the one who is already in a relationship, but not married.  Yes, unfortunately, they are out there trolling the dating sites.  They will act in a similar manner to the married men.  They will be secretive about where they live, come to your neighborhood for a date (of course, they will say if is for your convenience), they may avoid phone calls while on the date, but they will always be charming.  They are trying to woo you into being their side thing.  If you are seeing any red flags, or even question marks along the way, get their last name and google them.  Check out Facebook tagged pictures (many are public).  There are so many things you can find out online without paying for a background check.  Property searches are public records – I once found out a man was married by the property search (the document included his wife’s name).  Be diligent if you are serious about marriage in your future.  There are many fabrications on dating profiles.  Unfortunately, it is a buyer beware marketplace.

There are great people to meet online, but you need to be smart about it!  Do not give up hope if you run into these characters, for you surely will.  Just know that for each of these characters, there are also well-meaning wonderful men online.  Enjoy those you meet and appreciate the experience.  As we get older, the gems are harder to find, but keep looking – he is out there.  He may find you if you keep the right attitude about your search and enjoy the moments instead of being discouraged.  Seriously, have fun with it!  Life is an adventure – enjoy the ride!

Online Dating Hazards

  For anyone who has done any online dating, I do not need to tell you some of the obvious hazards of trying to to find love online.  However, I will address some of these issues one by one and offer some potential solutions to avoid all the aggravation they bring.

The Picture

If someone has a picture in which they look unusually good for their posted age, the picture may be a lot older than they would like you to know.  If you are communicating with someone like this, ask them how old the picture is!   They may or may not tell you if you ask directly, so here are some things you can do to find out without asking directly.  If they have a picture of them doing something, or at a specific place, show interest in that place and ask when they were there.  People naturally like talking about themselves, and they are more likely to let slip the “when” if you ask them to talk about the event.

If they have a series of pictures, ask them in what order they were taken.  Pictures do not necessarily appear in chronological order on profiles.  Some people do actually look better now than they did when they were younger.  The idea here is to get a realistic idea of who the person is today and the progression of the series.  While looks alone should never be the only determining factor, they do and will play a part in your decision-making.

The Fake Profile (Married, Committed, or Otherwise Not Available)

Since many of the sites, especially the free sites, do little to screen people on their sites, we must be vigilant in doing our own leg work to investigate potential dates.   There are many, many men (and I am sure some women, too) on dating sites who are either married or in committed relationships.  So how do we know who they are?  Well, sometimes, we don’t!

However, there are a few things you can do to help you determine if the possibility is there.   One thing I have done, although it can be time consuming, is to search other dating sites with the well-defined search information (so the # of hits is limited to a manageable number).   I did this with one man and found out he had different categories listed on different sites (single, separated, and divorced).  This should have been a red flag, but this was actually where I learned this lesson!  I did date this man, who told me he was actually divorced.

As it turned out, he was not divorced.  He was actually legally separated, still living in the same house as his wife.  He told me they had filed for divorce, but since they were both looking for work neither could afford to get their own place.   Since he lied initially, I did not believe they were separated and getting divorced and broke off the relationship.

However, as it turned out, this man was telling me the truth and has since been divorced, and both have moved on.  This is why I say to people to ALWAYS be honest.  Had he been honest from the beginning, I may still not have believed him, but I would have certainly been a lot more forgiving than to someone who thinks it is okay to lie about who he really is.  Lies always kick you in the butt in the end.  The truth always comes out in the end, so why risk a potential relationship by filling it with lies?  If something in a profile does not add up, or there are pictures with a woman who always seems to be cut out of the picture – stay away!  Dating profiles should never contain picture with others cut out of them.  Everyone knows someone who can snap a few pictures of them for their profile. This should always raise red flags, so beware.

The Scam Artist 

We’ve all seen them.  You know those dating profiles you run across where they immediately send you their phone number typed out digit by digit spelled out in words instead of numbers or their email address typed out by syllable.  Men, if you are guilty of this – STOP IMMEDIATELY!  Ladies, stay away from these men.   Here’s why.  There are a lot of scams out there in which people either try to get your phone number to hijack it to make calls to other countries or want your email address to SPAM you, send you computer viruses, or sell either of these pieces of information to those who will do these things.

KEEP ALL COMMUNICATION ON THE DATING SITES!  These sites store data and can retrieve it if there is ever a serious issue.  Be safe when you communicate with strangers online.  If someone asks for your personal information right away, there is usually a reason – and not a good one.  Sure, they will tell you their membership is up, or better yet, that they are on the site for a free weekend, or any number of other excuses, but do not buy into these stories.  If it is a paid site and someone wants to meet you , then they need to pay for at least one month to communicate with you.  If they are too cheap to pay for one month of service, do you really want someone like that?  You should never be rushed into giving your personal information online!  If he has a true interest in you, then he will also respect your privacy.  If he doesn’t, then you do not want him.  After all, that is the whole reason to be on these sites – to keep your personal information private.  Be smart and date safely!  Your chances of finding your Mr. Maybe actually do increase if you weed out the ones you would not want anyway!

Always Be Your Authentic Self

 

When searching for your Mr. Maybe, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to always be your authentic self.  Never, ever pretend to be something you are not.  Be true to YOU.  This is why I always suggest to take time for yourself before your search to get to know your authentic self.  Some of us may need to dig deep to find ourselves, and some will be living their authentic selves already.  This will really depend on a lot of variable circumstances in our individual lives.

The important thing to remember is that you will find the right one for you only if you are your authentic self.   If you feel an emptiness, void or incompleteness, then you are not living your authentic self.  More than likely you are filling this void with living to the expectations of your friends and family instead of being who you really want to be.  This can be draining, and it will never give you the inner peace and happiness everyone craves.  Instead try focusing on what your true gifts and talents are, and live your life expressing these things and focusing on working them into your life instead of living your life as others expect.

When you discover your authentic self, you will draw to you someone who is attracted to the core essence of who you are, and not who you think you are supposed to be.  You will attract the right men and the right friendships into your life, and they will lead to a very fulfilling life.  Now, all of this may not be instantaneous!  You may need to work on yourself and spend time with yourself.  If you have been bogged down by family obligations or children or your job, you may need time to disconnect your fictitious self from your authentic self.

As we live our lives, most of us fall into some form of our fictitious selves due to obligations we feel are placed onto us by our circumstances and loved ones.   Many will live out these expectations without giving thought as to what it is that we want or need – because those we love need us, and we want to be there for them!  This is okay, of course, because we all want to make sure our loved ones are happy and taken care of, and we want to provide them with the love and attention they need.  However, if we step back a little and think about who our core self is, we will discover that there may be many ways to provide this to them without losing who we are in the process.  Sometimes stepping back allows us to move forward in a way that is far better for us than living to those perceived expectations places on us by others.

Dating is much the same.  We all want to attract the right person into our lives and we all want to be happy.  But how can we be truly happy unless we are living our authentic selves?  We can’t!  This is why it is so important to really take the time with yourself and discover who you really are.  Mr. Maybe will fall in love with your authentic self and not the fictitious one!  Your chances of finding the right one are much better if you live your core you instead of the one others expect you to be!  Take time between dates to reflect.  Take time between relationships and think about if you were true to your authentic self or living someone else’s expectations of you.  You may discover that things did not work out because you were not authentic, which will always create unhappiness and incompleteness.  Be authentic.  Be YOU!  The right people will come into your life!  You will be well on your way to your Mr. Maybe!

 

You Do Not Need a Man to Be Happy

  Most, but not all of us, want someone to share our lives with.  In this quest, we sometimes lose sight of some of the gifts we have in our lives already.  While we may want to find that special someone, the road to finding him can be long and treacherous.  Along the way, many of us have our ups and downs, we need shoulders to cry on and sounding boards to listen to us and reason with us.  We usually do this with our girlfriends!

As I have pointed out in the beginning of this blog, you need to start with you.  True happiness comes from within and no other person on earth can make you happy if you have not searched your heart and decided that is who you are.  Sure, there are situations that make you happy or unhappy, but true happiness is a state of being and not determined by a specific situation.

Think of all the riches you have in your life already!  You probably have a full life, as many do today!  You have your family, your girlfriends, maybe a pet, and many other things that make your life rich and fulfilled.  Sometimes when we are too focused on that one thing we are lacking, we forget about all the other things that bring us joy.

If you truly do want to find your Mr. Maybe, or maybe want to get married, keep searching!  But do NOT give up living a full life in the meantime!  Go out with your friends, have fun, make dinner dates with your friends, meet your mom or sister for coffee – make the effort!  Your chances of finding the right man for you are much better if you are living the life you want to live without him!  When you meet him, he will easily fit into your life because your life will be what you want it already (with him being the only missing piece)!

A man will always find you more attractive if you are having fun and enjoying your life. He will want to get to know you!  On the other hand, if you mope around and play “poor me”, then you will only attract someone like that, and you do not want that!  Remember, you want a man who fits your non-negotiables.  If you are living your life as you want your life, you are more likely to meet someone who falls in line with what you are looking for!  Keep an open mind when you are out enjoying your life.  Keep your eyes open, but never look desperate – men will run from that.  Be your authentic self and you will attract a man who is drawn to the real you!  Live your life and be happy!

There is No Such Thing as an “Old Maid”

During the last Presidential election, things got pretty heated here in the USA.  On social media, things got downright ugly at times.  Not only did people hold vastly different views and argue with each other nonstop, but many took it to a personal level and verbally attacked each other based on their differing views.  This happened to me.  When a guy from my hometown had no comeback, he decided it was okay to attack me personally.  As if personal attacks and name calling are ever an adult and respectable way to resolve differences!

What did he say?  Well, he called me an “Old Maid“.  Now this got me to thinking, where did this term come from?  Who would even use such an archaic term in 2012?  My other thought was this guy needs to get out more and live in the world of today and not centuries ago! This attitude does tend to prevail among some in the small rural community where I grew up.

So where did the term “Old Maid” come from?  It is actually a term used in the 18th Century.  While the term originate in England, the card game we all played as children actually originated in Asia, where playing cards originated.  During Victorian times, people were concerned about etiquette and rules of adornment(they also played a lot of cards), so this term was used to reinforce the negative image of a spinster or unmarried woman.  The card game became popular in the United States in the 19th century and many latched onto the term to refer negatively to an unmarried woman.

Today, we rarely hear this term.  Societal norms have changed our ideas about many things.  Centuries ago,  people did not spend years in college or wait so long to get married – they married very young.  Today, many wait until their thirties or later to marry for the first time.

Since “Old Maid” is defined as a woman who remains single beyond the conventional age for marrying, does this term really apply to anything today?  Unless you live under a rock and are not immersed into our society today, there is little room for this term to be applied to anyone.  Is there a conventional age for marrying today?  While many people do marry in their 20’s and 30’s, many others choose their careers and live happy and full lives.  Some people have no desire to marry at all and choose not to.  There does not seem to be much of a norm.  Besides, is it really anyone else’s business what you choose?  Why does it even matter?

While this term mildly annoyed me, I can now sit back and reflect on just how far women have come.  Today women are a strong and influential part of our society.  We have our own lives and our own careers.  So the next time someone tries (keyword is TRIES) to put you down or make you feel bad because you are single or still looking for your Mr. Maybe, stand tall and be proud that you are a strong woman who will not settle for less than she deserves.  You are a force to be reckoned with and you should be proud of that!  Remember, people try to put others down based on their own insecurities.  They have the problem, not you.  Do not allow them to make you question yourself or the wonderful woman you are.  The only “Old Maid” that exists today is a card game with Victorian roots.   

Time to Move on

You have taken my advice and given him a chance.  You have taken the time to actually get to know him better than the surface knowledge gained on the first few dates.  He is a great guy with a lot going for him.  However, you are still not feeling it.  You enjoy hanging out and have a good time, but you are just not looking forward to those times the way you feel you should be.  It happens!  Sometimes we meet great people along the way that are just not the right ones for us, for whatever reason.  That is a good case scenario.

On the other hand, we also do meet those who riddle us with one disappointment after another, leaving us wondering whether there really are any good men out there,  Trust that there are!  You do not want to become bitter and negative in your search because that will attract the wrong men to you.  Stay positive and know that Mr. Maybe is out there – you just have not met him yet!

As we go through the process of finding our Mr. Maybe, there will more than likely be many disappointments along the way.  Do not allow that to deter you.  However, do take time after each one to reflect on what initially attracted you to him, what it was that made you question it, if you missed anything earlier on, and what you can do to improve the situation next time.   Seriously, take time for you – especially if things started out really well and turned into heartbreak and disappointment.  You need time to heal your heart and your mind in order to attract the right one.  You also need to understand what happened and know how to do things better next time.  In our quest for love, so few of us take the time to reflect when we need.  Time seems short, and it is.  But if you jump back in and make the same mistakes again and again, you are wasting more time than it would have taken to reflect on the situation – and you cause yourself more heartache and aggravation.

If you find there are some things that need to improve and you really like the person, you may want to have a discussion and work through those things.  However, if the problem is larger than that and you do not see the situation improving, or if there is something that has been recurring, then you will probably be best served by moving on.   Many women stay with men and think things will improve.  If a man leaves you disappointed again and again, and it is a recurring theme – he will surely continue acting in that manner and you will be left feeling alone and empty.  The point is to find the right man, not the one who is okay for now.  Be good to yourself, demand to be treated as you should be treated, and do not settle for less than that.  Stick to your guns.  If you compromise what you deserve, it may end up being a lifetime commitment to that compromise.  You deserve better than that!

Love is Like a Butterfly

The Metamorphosis of Love

I found this little guy earlier this morning eating all my parsley and got to thinking about the metamorphosis the caterpillar will go through to be the beautiful butterfly.  The simple little caterpillar is gorgeous by its own right.  Nature has adorned it with a beautiful pattern and beautiful colors, and also camouflage.

In many ways this reminded me of love and relationships,  When we first meet someone, there is a certain beauty there that fascinates us and we want to learn more.  Just as this little guy totally intrigued me and made me want to take multiple photos of it.    It is the initial beauty that attracts us – and not necessarily physical beauty, either.

As with the caterpillar here, there is also a lot of camouflage that exists when we meet someone new.  We can see the physical and we interpret the other things, many times in ways that benefit our own wants and desires.  If we want to get to know that person, we may gloss over the red flags, or maybe not even see them at all at first.  On the other hand, if we are not interested in them, we may blow things that they do or say out of proportion to suit our own line of thinking.

While we all want to believe we are open-minded, are we really?  Do we make snap decisions about others before we have all of the information?  Let’s face it, we have all done this at one time or another.  While there needs to be at least a certain level of attraction, the ideal partner for you may not be that “hot” man or woman you have fantasies about.  This is the real world.  People do not walk around looking like that.  The other side of this is when we see someone we think is attractive, but we base our decision on that, not knowing they are camouflaging potentially very negative things about their lives.  Are you missing really wonderful men (or women) who could be perfect for you because you have prejudged?  Are you going only for the ones who look good physically?  I think this happens more often than we would like to think it does.  We may be missing the one we could have a wonderful and happy life with.

Chrysalis, or pupa, stage of a butterfly. This is where the real change takes place!

Once the caterpillar matures to a certain level, it turns into a chrysalis of brown or green, and not usually very attractive.  This is what happens in new relationships, also.  Everything starts out pretty, then as we get to know each other better, we find there are things that are maybe not as pretty as we thought they were.  And sometimes things can turn ugly as we try to work through them.  And here is where it ends for many and what I believe is a societal problem today.  Ending relationships, even marriages, is much too easy on our society.   Many people are not willing to go through the metamorphosis, that every relationship will have at some point, to get to the real beauty that awaits on the other side.

I have a really good friend who went through so much in her marriage, but yet she also has one of the strongest, happiest marriages I know of.   She has told me many time it is because of what they went through that made them strong.  This, and her faith in God, has brought her to this point of having such a wonderfully happy life.  Life is full of ups and downs, but when it comes to relationships, most people seem to want to give up when the going gets tough.  Her family is living proof that everyone has hardships, but when the couple works together and communicates with each other, the future is much better than anything we could dream of when we are going through it.  The beauty in her marriage is something we can all hope to aspire to.

This can also be applied to relationships that are not yet marriage.  Do we give up too soon?  As soon as there are red flags, do we just give up?  Maybe some of us are really missing that diamond in the rough because he/she is still rough and we have not get polished the stone to find the gem that lies within.  So many people in their 40’s and beyond date, and date, and date, and never seem to find that right one.  Are we giving up on people too soon?  Did the relationship have the time to metamorphosize into all that it can be?  Or are we ending at the pupa stage?  Are we giving people the time to be that beautiful butterfly they were meant to be?

One of the reasons I question this is because there are so many times I would love to get to know men I date better, but never hear from them again.  I was willing to give them a chance, but they were unwilling to give me one.  I am a firm believer that unless you are absolutely repulsed by the person, and have not a thing in common, everyone deserves a few dates in order to really understand who they are.  While there are some things you can conclude on a first date, most things need to develop in relationships.  True love is not about how much you want to sleep with someone, but it has everything to do with connecting in your minds.  Real love connects people in the head and heart, not the groin.  When you are connected in the mind, the person is automatically attractive to you, because you are connected on a deep and real level, and that needs time to develop.  You will not know that on a first date.

My suggestion here is merely to think about how you date and if you really give yourself a chance to get to know the person you are on a date with.  From what I have seen, few do.  Since we are all looking for the same thing, and so few are actually finding it, don’t we owe it to ourselves to at least consider this?  I think we do.  We all want to be happy, and if we need to re-evaluate ourselves along the way, so be it.  The next time you find yourself on a date and you do find yourself not wanting to see the person again, ask yourself why.  Rethink it right there.  Are you even giving them a chance?  You may be pleasantly surprised if you do!  They may be that butterfly you have been looking for in the garden of life!

Show Some Respect

 Listen closely to your date.  Trying to decode what a man is looking for in a woman could be like decoding a foreign language.  Are you missing subtle signs?  Did you shut out certain information because you did not want to hear it?  I question myself on this very thing.

On a date this past week, I was pleasantly surprised when I met my date.  I do not find many men my age and older to be very attractive.  It is like they gave up and let themselves go, and yet they tend to think they have the right to demand a women look a certain way.  I prefer teeth, hair, some intelligence, and well-groomed (not necessarily dressed up, but decently presentable).

This man pulled up to the restaurant and got out of his car and to my surprise, was actually more handsome than his online profile picture.  Finally, a man I could find attractive AND intelligent!  It is so rare that I find a guy my age or older attractive.  I must also note here that he is seven years older than me and I usually do not date more than 2 years older than myself for this very reason.

We went into the restaurant and had a nice dinner and what I thought was a great conversation.  We seemed to hit it off and had a lot to talk about.  The conversation was very pleasant as we exchanged information about our lives.  This man pretty much fit everything I was looking for in a guy.  However, we were talking about things we wanted in a partner and I did mention finding someone who believes in God is important to me.  He seemed a little taken aback by my church denomination when he asked me.  This actually surprised me.  As he could clearly see, I am a fun-loving female, just as any other.  As my friends can attest to, I am just as “normal” – well, really what is normal, anyway – as any other person out there.  In most previous relationships, I have been told I am really fun to hang out with.  Simply put, I enjoy life!

Dinner ended and, at his suggestion, we went to a different restaurant for dessert.  The conversation was easy and continued through dessert.  In my mind, we hit if off well.  In my line of thinking, if he did not like me he would never have asked me to dessert at a different restaurant.  After dessert, he was the perfect gentleman and walked me to my car, which was about a block farther than his from where we were.  Over the course of the evening, we had somehow exchanged business cards (I know, business cards!).  As we parted, everything seemed like it was on great terms.  In parting, I never ask a man if he will call me or if we will see each other because many tend to lie about that, anyway.  I drove home pleasantly surprised by this wonderful man I had just met.

This broken heart is an over-dramatization to make my point.

When I got home, I was super busy for a few days and did not have time to get back to him.  However, by the second evening, my life calmed down and I had the chance to log back onto the dating site.  I wanted to make sure to thank him again for the wonderful evening and make sure he knew I was interested in knowing him better.  As I went online into the email feature to send him an email, I was not given the option to do that.  Now my computer does weird things from time to time, so I played around with the site for a little while, to no avail.  I found his profile in my list of people I am not interested in, and I never put it there.  How could that happen?  I was definitely interested.  I also could not remove it from that category, so was totally baffled at how he got into that category when I did not place him there.

As it turns out he must have placed me there on his profile, which automatically put him there on mine, and does not allow me to remove it or communicate with him anymore.  Wow.  Sheer disappointment flooded over me.  I have not met a man I was this interested in for years – yes, YEARS!  Now this.  So apparently there was something about me that did not coincide with what he was looking for.  While this is all fine, the way it was handled is not okay.  It is rude, inconsiderate, and carried out with a total lack of respect for me.

While a man not being interested is always a potential outcome, I expect the same respect I would give to him if I was not interested in him, and that is communication.  If I am not interested in a guy after a date, I will let him know that I do not think we are good for each other.  I may or may not give a reason, depending on whether or not he asks.  However, acknowledging the individual and communicating the fact that he/she is not interested is the very least decency one could offer in this situation.  While I realize some people are not comfortable with this, he could have at least sent me an email explaining this.  Instead, I actually had to find out by the help center at the dating web site.  It was rude and inconsiderate of me as a fellow human being.  It is like saying I was not a real human to him, with thoughts and feelings.  It is cold and disrespectful.

I realize we are in the age of online dating, but we all need to realize that these people are real people.  They deserve respect, just as you want respect.  My point here is that if you are not interested in someone you dated, let them know, either in person or in an email.  The very least they deserve is the respect of a follow-up on the date.  While I would rather hear this at the end of the date, I know many would be uncomfortable with that.  It is okay to communicate this via email, but the key is to actually communicate!

Being respected and respectful of those you meet is a basic human interaction that is so often lost on our society today.  I would love to hear how you handle these situations and what your reaction is to others in these situations.  Comments are welcome!

How to Find Out What He Wants in a Woman

So far I have focused on what you are looking for in a man, and how to get this information out of  him on your date.  While you are focused on evaluating him based on what you are looking for, you had better believe he is doing the same!  Even if he is everything you dream of finding in a man, if you are not what he is looking for, it is still not a good match.    You need to listen more than you speak and really read between the lines of what is being said to understand what he truly wants.

If a man says that something is important to him, you need to understand that this is not going to change and you need to assess how you feel about that particular issue.  By the time we get to our 40’s, there are few fundamental things about who we are that would ever change.  We have already lived, learned and established habits, likes and dislikes that are well-defined.  This is not to say that things do not change and people do not grow because we absolutely do and should!  However, fundamental values do not alter all that much.  If you find through conversation that there are questions about how he feels about a specific topic, ask for more details.  If it is something that is important to him, he will fill you in.  He knows you are evaluating him just like he is doing the same with you.

So what happens when you find the perfect guy for you based on your must-haves and non-negotiables, but you find there is something he is looking for that you feel you are not?  My suggestion will always be that the key is conversation!  It is better to address what could potentially be big issues right up front before either of you is emotionally invested in a relationship.  It is much easier to deal with these types of issues now than to have them cause problems in your relationship in the future and one or both of you ends up hurt and broken-hearted.  I realize this is not romantic or fun, but if you are in your 40’s or older and you really do want to find the right one to spend your life with, do you really have the time not to address them?

For instance, if he feels that finding a woman who is financially stable is important, and you have been through several jobs in the past few years, your finances are a mess, and you are barely able to make ends meet, you do not want to mislead him into thinking otherwise.  If this is important to him, it will definitely affect your relationship in an adverse way going forward.  Plus, he will feel you have not been honest with him, which is a whole other issue.  In these economic times, things are tough, and everyone does know that.  It is better to be honest and have an honest discussion than to leave him disillusioned about who you are.

But when is the right time to bring up something you feel you are not fitting into his non-negotiables and must-haves?  The answer will come as the relationship progresses.  I would not suggest on the first date because you want to allow for time to get to know each other a bit so the other can make a more informed decision.  I would, however, suggest these issues be addressed in a timely manner before you both have too much time and emotion invested and end up hurt and disillusioned by dating.  It is always better to be honest with someone you are seriously looking at potentially having a future with.  How they respond and work with you through whatever the situation is will say a lot about their character and who they are, so it will be a way you can really know for sure if this is the right person for you.  If he calmly listens in an understanding way, and wants to work through the issue with you, you have found a gem, so make every effort to work with him to get to where you need to be.  Let’s face it, relationships are hard, and in these times in Internet Dating and economic hardship, it is even harder.

As previously referenced in comments on a prior blog post, I have recently read a book written by a famous talk show host and celebrity on what men want.  He makes men seem so primal and simplistic, and many men can be.  However, I would like to at least be optimistic in thinking they are a little more complex than this author alludes to.  As with most things in life, the key is good open honest communication.  You want to learn about him and who he really is just as he wants the same in return.  Be respectful of each other, your time, your hearts, and most of all understand that being honest with each other will set the precedent for all future interaction (as well as dishonesty does).  You want the right man to be in your life just as he wants the right woman.  Do we not owe this to ourselves?

Non-Negotiables: Our Must-Haves

While we should have many things we will compromise on, there are also many things that we do not want to, or should not compromise on.  These things are the core of who we are as individuals.  These items are non-negotiable, we must have them in our Mr. Maybe.  These items range anywhere from core value items to lifestyle items.  While everyone will have a different set of items, it is important to understand exactly what yours are, which is why I say you must start with you before you bring another into the picture.

Today, our society is very diverse and we should accept everyone for who they are.  However, that doesn’t mean everyone is a good match as a significant other.  There are some very fundamental differences that could cause serious issues in relationships, and could cause a lot of pain and heartache if not properly thought out and looked at totally honestly.  We may think some things are not a problem if we meet someone who we really connect with, only to find out later this very thing is a major source of conflict in the relationship.

To give you an example, I will briefly touch on one that has come up several times in my own life: Religion.  While I am very open-minded, accept and respect all people for what they believe, my Mr. Maybe MUST believe in God, have a relationship with God and attend church.  Since I tend to love all people and accept others as they are, it took me many years to come to this realization.  I have dealt with a lot of heartache because I didn’t honestly look into myself, and tried to fit other people’s belief systems into my life without realizing just how important this was to me.  I spent 10 years of my life trying to make 2 separate relationships work, without realizing they could never work for me.  Had I spent time with myself, as I suggest here, I would have realized just how much this means to me.  While this is only one example of what a non-negotiable could be, it does demonstrate how much time could potentially be spent on a relationship that is going nowhere.  Those are 10 years of my life I will never get back!

Many people with children will have a different set of non-negotiables because there are other people they must think about – their children!  When children are present in a relationship, it is particularly important to consider core values, how you want your children raised and what environment you want them living in.  This is tough!  You not only have you, but you have precious young impressionable lives you need to consider, also.

Another area to consider is lifestyle.  Are you active?  How active are you?  Is it important for your Mr. Maybe to be active, too?  For instance, if you like to participate in activities such as hiking or other outdoor activities and you would like your partner to enjoy them with you, you would not want to consider someone who does not enjoy these activities.  While there are times you may want to do things with friends and apart from each other, if this is a big part of your life, it is also a big part of your life your Mr. Maybe would not be enjoying with you.  Only you can decide how important these things are to you.  Your friends may tell you to compromise if you are not finding the right partner.  However, only YOU can decide if compromising a non-negotiable will make you unhappy and unsatisfied with your relationship.  If it will, then follow what only you can decide for yourself.

The goal for most is to find the right person and to be happy.  This is not something to take lightly.  Your life and future are at stake.  Take the time to make it the one you dream of having, not the one someone else thinks you should have.  Most of all, enjoy the road you travel to find Mr. Maybe.  Just because he may not be for you does not mean he is not a very special person.  Always acknowledge that in the men you meet.  There really are a lot of good ones out there, they just may not be the right one for you.  Keep looking, he is sure to arrive on your doorstep when you least expect it!