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!

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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!

The Online Dating Dilemma

  While I am on the subject of online dating, I want to address a few things.  First, maneuvering through these online sites, can be frustrating, disappointing, and cause one to lose your faith in the opposite sex.  Sometimes people place their own expectations on others and when others do not respond in the way they think they should, they make assumptions about them that could be very far from the truth.

For instance, I was recently contacted by a man I had been communicating with awhile back.  Apparently, both of our lives got busy and we stopped communicating.  He recently sent me a message asking how I have been, which I answered honestly saying that I have been extremely busy and have not been on the site much.   The response I got actually shocked me, since all I was doing was giving an honest answer to his question.  What I got back bordered on intimidation and verbal abuse – especially since this man doesn’t know me.  I was called a “broad” (who even uses that word these days?) and told that he thinks that is a problem and he is sure that is why I am single (and then he used some other derogatory language).   Pardon me for being honest!

What I have found on these sites is that men think you should be at their beck and call.  They are busy and try to “fit” you into their busy schedules.  After all, aren’t their jobs what defines them (please excuse the slight bit of sarcasm)?  However, the minute we, as women,  are busy and have to schedule dates for when we are available, it seems to be a problem.  Since I have an extremely busy life, there are many times I have to schedule dates weeks out.  It is not that I don’t want to meet them (I DO!), but I keep my calendar full.

Ladies, we all know men will not cancel plans they have to meet you – especially if they met you online and do not know what to expect when they do meet you.  Why on earth would we do that for them?  I don’t!  If I have plans, they will have to work with me on a time that works for BOTH of us.  You should not be canceling your plans to meet someone you do not know and may never hear from again – plain and simple.  They would not do it for you.  What I find extremely annoying is that in our hearts, we know this (and so do they).  However, in practice, there are many times when women will cancel their plans to meet a man.  How many times has this left you disappointed?  What did you miss out on that you had on your calendar with friends?  Your friends have been there for you and will be going forward.  This man you have never met has no track record with you yet.

So what if you really want to meet a man you have been chatting with online but are too busy to fit him in for a few weeks?  I say schedule him when you are free.  More than likely, he will try to pressure you into changing some plans to accommodate him and meet sooner – don’t!  Here is why- this sets the precedent for the whole relationship!  If he can bully you into catering to him now, he will definitely think it is okay to do it going forward.  Your time and your life is no less important than his – ever!!!  If he is a decent man, he will get this simple concept and work with you on meeting at a time that works for both of you.  If he balks at the fact that you are busy or asks you if you are always this busy, he may not be the one for you.  You want a man who respects your time as much as he does his own.

I was also recently communicating with another man who asked me since I am so busy, why I would be on a dating site.  My reply?  I am on a dating site BECAUSE I am busy AND if I wait until a time when I am not busy, I could be dead first!  It is true, if you think about it.  Today, our lives are so busy we barely have time to come up for air.  Who is not busy?  While it is absolutely necessary to make time in our lives to develop a relationship, we want to make sure we divvy out that time to the right man – not everyone who demands our attention.  Believe me, if I meet the right one, he will have my time and attention.  Until then, no man has the right to demand my time (or yours).  I get tired of the double standard that still exists where we are expected to cater to their time – what about our time?  There are many, many decent men out there who are wonderful, understanding and respectful – these are the ones we want!  Not the ones who think we are not as valuable as they think they are.  We owe it to ourselves to make sure we ask for the same respect they demand.  We want to make sure we find the gems and not the stones.  Keep your standards high, but realistic.

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?

Negotiables vs. Non-Negotiables

While I realize that not everyone wants to find a permanent union with another, I am writing from the perspective of wanting to find Mr. Maybe, the one you could potentially marry.  In our quest to find Mr. Maybe, we go through many ups and downs, we mask our disappointment, and bravely trudge on.  We guard our hearts with an iron shield against the craziness out in the world.  We keep our faith in man mainly because we do see happy couples every day and know that there is some possibility of us having this also.  We have friends who have found their Mr. Maybe, or even “the one.”  And yet, where is our Mr. maybe?

As I addressed before, we need to do a self-evaluation before we even consider dating.  This will allow us to date more appropriately.  In part of this self-evaluation, we should look at our negotiables and our non-negotiables.  Before I get into this, first we should have these terms defined.

Negotiable

A negotiable is something that can easily be negotiated or transferred.  It is something that can be easily agreed upon.  In other words, it is something that easily passes our list of things we look for in a significant other.  It could be something we have in common, or at least have very similar views on.

Non-Negotiable

A non-negotiable is something that cannot be changed.  It is rigid in form and could be considered an obstruction.  In relationship terms, this could be something that you are looking for in someone that you absolutely MUST have.  It could also be something that is the core of who a person is and cannot be changed.  Either way, you need to really think about this one.

Going forward, we will consider both negotiables and non-negotiables when evaluating our Mr. Maybe.  Everyone will have a different set of criteria to evaluate.  This is why looking into yourself is the key to really knowing what you want in your Mr. Maybe.  If you have not done this yet, take some time with yourself.  Make a date with yourself, go to a coffee shop, or find a nice quiet spot in your home to sit down and really evaluate who you are, where you are in your life right now and where you see yourself going.  Write down the characteristics you want in the ideal partner you want to travel this road with.  While you may want to see the end result of marriage as a final destination, living life is more about the journey.  Who do you want to take that journey with?  Be realistic and true to who you are, and not who you wish to be.  It is critical that you are honest with yourself in order to get the best results when evaluating all the potential Mr. Maybes who cross your path.  Life is in the journey, and you want to enjoy that journey with the right man!

 

Dinner Does NOT Equal Sex!

  So you have had a great dinner date and the night is winding down.  There is always that awkward time when you have to decide how to part ways and whether or not you want to see each other again.  Some men (not all, and definitely not the ones we want to keep) take this opportunity to see if they can get you into bed.  My take on this is one of two reasons:

1) They know they will not be seeing you again and they figure they will get what they can out of you (users and players)

2) They just paid for dinner and they think you owe them something.

I have a few things to say on this subject.  Ladies, by the time you reach your 40’s you should have learned this lesson well.  Never, ever give in to the man who wants sex when he first meets you.  This rarely leads to anything good!  You will probably never see him again, leaving you feeling used and upset with yourself.  While he may be a master at making you feel special, you had better believe he is using this same tactic on just about every woman he meets.  You are not special is he does this, but just one in a long list of women he has manipulated.  If you are truly special to a man, he will respect you and never put you in this situation.  He will wait until he knows you and knows he wants a future with you.

On my second point, a great dinner and a great date does not mean you need to take it further.  This is a first date!  Some men feel that if they treat women to dinner, then she owes them some kind of sexual favor in return.  This could not be further from the truth!  If a man takes you to dinner on a first date and pays for the date, it should be because he wants to have a nice evening spending time with you and getting to know you.  Dinner is a perfect opportunity to sit across from each other and have a real conversation that will help you better evaluate the person you are on the date with.  This is beneficial to both of you.

Since many men have provider instincts, they usually will pay – even if you offer to help (and if they do not, think twice about the type of man they are).  Ladies, you owe them nothing and should not ever think you do!  Men, if you think women owe you something for a date, keep reading (my blog) for what women really want when they first start dating someone.  You should both be on this date for one reason only – to find your Mr. or Ms. Maybe.  If your intentions align with your actions, then the date will be productive in meeting your reason for being there in the first place!  The whole idea is to have a fun date while getting to know each other, and nothing more.  There should not be any expectations other than this on a first date by either party.    Sit back and enjoy your time getting to know each other.  Savor the newness and the possibilities!