Is Your Checklist Getting Too Long?

It’s a fact that most of us have checklists describing the qualities of our ideal mate.

I’m not going to say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m just going to acknowledge that it’s real. When you’ve been on the planet for close to 40 years, you probably have a pretty good idea about what you’re looking for in a man.

I don’t blame you for a second, and I’m not going to tell you which things you should give up in order to find the man of your dreams.

What I will do today is illustrate to you how even your simplest list of non-negotiable dealbreakers is the very thing that is keeping you from finding love.

Take it from a guy who has a pretty high sense of self-esteem and wanted a woman who was his equal and more: holding onto the idea of a person prevents you from seeing the real person inside.

Even though I’m not a big advocate of lists, I think an ideal mate checklist can be a useful exercise and teaching tool. But because I don’t want you to work too hard, I’m going to make your list for you. Please forgive me if I get a few things wrong. I’m a guy, after all. :-)

Even when you’re getting 17 out of 18 of your needs met, you’ll pick the ONE that makes you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

You want a man who is:

Attractive
Honest
Intelligent
Kind
Funny
Financially Stable

This is entirely normal. Then again, you probably ALSO want a man who is:

Loyal
Family-oriented
Sexy
Generous
Interesting
Confident

Solid list, huh? Except the list gets longer when you really think about it…

Fit
Chivalrous
Charming
Ambitious
Tall
Creative

You like the fictional person that we’re putting together? I sure do.

I want to be him for Halloween.

In case you’re wondering, there is nothing wrong with this list.

Except that it can keep going and going and going. For each quality you add, there’s another justifiable reason that a man is not suited for you.

Maybe he’s got 17 out of 18 qualities, except he’s…

Not close with family. That’s a big one. After all, you’re tight with yours and you think it’s strange that he doesn’t enjoy spending time with his brothers every Thanksgiving.

Not funny. The ability to laugh is paramount, isn’t it? And even though this guy is perfect in every other way, that’s not something you can live without.

Not confident. He’s an amazing guy, but he just tries so damn hard to please that you can’t even respect him. If he just grew a pair, he’d be perfect!

Not tall. You can’t go out with a guy you can literally see eye-to-eye with. No matter how amazing he is. It just doesn’t make you feel feminine or turned-on.

Not sexy. You know what it’s like to feel lust and you just don’t feel it with him. You can’t go the rest of your life without that chemical rush.

We can continue, of course, but I think you see the point. It’s not that any of these desires are unimportant. It’s that, no matter what, you’re ALWAYS going to find a deal breaker.

Even when you’re getting 17 out of 18 of your needs met, you’ll pick the ONE that makes you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

End of relationship. Back to the drawing board.

Does this resonate with you? Do you always find fault in the men you’re dating and dream that somewhere out there is a man who gives you everything on your ever-expanding list?

If so, join the crowd.

My 60-year-old, twice divorced client, Katherine, did the same thing for many years.

She’d most recently had her heart broken by a charming, but commitment-phobic man from Match.com, and she turned to me for guidance through the dating process.

I quickly wrote her a new profile and started getting her more responses.

Next thing she knew, she had a bunch of options from quality men.

Do you always find fault in the men you’re dating and dream that somewhere out there is a man who gives you everything on your ever-expanding list?

One guy even reminded her of the heartbreaker.

They went out once. He said he’d call her again.

He didn’t.

But this other man did.

He wasn’t the most compelling candidate in the bunch, but he just kept asking her out.

Every time my client would go on a date with him, she would have fun. And then she’d complain on the phone that he wasn’t what she was looking for.

A sample of our conversation:

“He’s 5’7”. I’m 5’7”. And I like to wear boots so that doesn’t work for me.”

Okay, I told her. What else doesn’t work for you?

“He’s not exactly the rugged type. That’s what I’m attracted to. Men who can work with their hands. Fix things around the house. Saddle up a horse. You know, manly men.”

Got it. Apart from those two things, how is he? Is he cute? Is he thoughtful? Does he make an effort to see you? Does he have the same values as you? Can he keep up with your upscale lifestyle?

“Yes. Yes, to all of those things. He’s actually pretty great. It’s just – he’s not what I’m looking for. He’s not my type.”

Which guys are your types?

“My two ex-husbands. And the Match.com guy who broke my heart.”

Do you see a pattern there?

“Maybe. So what do you think I should do? I can’t help what I’m attracted to.”

No, but you can help the choices you make. Instead of investing your energy in another charismatic Marlboro man with a lot of money and a wandering eye, keep seeing this new guy and getting to know him. Maybe you’ll find that being tall and handy isn’t as important as you think it is.

One month later, Katherine had made her decision.

Her new boyfriend would meet her children and they’d all take a trip to Portugal together.

This is one of my favorite success stories because the solution was so simple.

Drop the checklist. Give this amazing guy a chance.

You can do the same.

You’re so close to having that relationship you truly desire. Time to make it happen.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Steve

    I have a friend in her early 60s who has been a shrink for 30 years. About 3 years ago she decided she wanted a boyfriend. She signed up for the online dating sites. To my shock, she talked to EVERYBODY. She explained that her life experience taught what she wanted and that her professional experience taught her that what matters is how personalities fit together. She ended up dating a guy who is the exact opposite of all of her politics. They’ve had a few heated arguments when alcohol was involved, but have been inseparable for about 3 years.
    I’ve got another friend in a similar situation. Her boyfriend is a great guy. She confessed to me one day, going through “her list” how he met none of those requirements. 5 years later she couldn’t be more in love. Their personalities fit together.

    I’ve also had a few experiences where I met women who met everything on my list, were perfect on paper and had I carried a watch I would have been looking at all through my date.

    I am a big believer in having things in common and making choices on objective criteria. However, I’ve learned through experience that dating rules are an art….not a science.

  2. 2
    Gem

    Very timely and valuable article! I just broke up with my long term on-again off-again man because I met someone new and want to give him a chance.

    My break-up man has many of the qualities on my list, and the chemistry is amazing but what he lacked, and I could never accept, is his workaholism. He’s physically not around very often, and I don’t feel like a priority. When we’re together it’s wonderful. But we’re not together often. My desire is to share my life with someone, not share a small part.

    This IS a deal-breaker for me but I have given him a few chances to meet me in the middle at least which is why we have been on and off for 2 years. I’ve dated other men in between but no one has held a candle to connection I felt for my guy. Maybe I never allowed it?

    Done! No more! I’m moving on!

    Insert new guy. He also has many of the qualities on my list but a different combination and I’m not sure of him yet. Can I love him? Will I feel the same spark? I don’t know yet but I am going to continue to focus on the wonderful qualites he has and not focus on the ones that are different or missing from what I thought I had to have because I just may find I don’t need them afterall.

    He is successful, handsome, a gentleman, manly, polite, genuine, and even a little edgy which I always like in a man. Most of all, HE WANTS a relationship where he can spend quality time with his partner. He’s attentive and expressive. I’d be a fool not to pursue this because he looks a little different than my other man or my imagined man on paper!

  3. 3
    Mia Wheeler

    Hey Evan, great post. I have to say, I’m all about making a list. Not sticking to it necessarily, but making it, putting the energy out there, and then sticking it away and seeing what comes back. That’s what I did and I met the guy I married. He’s not everything on the list, but he’s many things on it. So he’s not my “type”, what’s so great about having a type?  My type was having an accent, preferably English, Irish, etc., dark hair, slight build – any variation of Eric Bana really. So who did I meet?  A big, burly Southerner. All American. Didn’t go to college, but is smarter than a lot of people who did. Not a crazy sense of humor, but makes me laugh. Not great with his parents, but love mine. And knew he wanted to marry me after our 3rd date.  So you compromise.  And sure, things come up and I think about our differences, but we’re going on 9 years married this month, and we are a great fit. All that matters at the end of the day is how you feel when you are with this person.  All the “Irish” guys I met drank too much, were broke, and/or broken.  While I would have liked having a married passport and excuse  to visit abroad, it’s all worked out the way it was meant to. Being open to it is imperative because literally, he/she may be right in front of you.  : )
     

  4. 4
    nathan

    I have been rejected for not making enough money, not being tall enough (apparently 5’11 wasn’t enough for one far shorter than that woman), and other such things.
     
    My favorite, though, was the woman who, upon finding out I was 30 years old (this was several years ago), wrote back to me “You sound like a great match for me. We have so much in common. But I’m looking for a man who is my age, exactly. So I can’t go out with you.” She was 28 years old. I kid you not. I thought maybe I missed something, so I wrote back and asked if I read her right. And she responded by saying that I basically sounded like everything she was looking for, but that she had to have a man who 28, and that’s that.
     
    It’s amazing what some people choose to place major importance on.

  5. 5
    helene

    The thing that frustrates me is that although I have a list of criteria I am looking for in a man, I don’t feel I’m looking for anything I ‘m not offering – its not like I’m 4ft2, 60lb overweight and unemployed and am looking to meet Brad Pitt! I’m intelligent – I’d like to meet a man who is intelligent. I’m financially stable, and generous with money – I’d like to meet a man who is the same. I’m physically attractive, funny, well travelled, and have “feminine ” qualities and abilities – I’d like to meet a man who is attractive. funny, well travelled and has “manly ” abilities. But WHERE ARE THEY?? Honestly. sometimes I think we single women have priced ourselves out of the market. When a woman finds herself single, she will very often launch into self improvement to be more attractice to a new mate. She keeps in shape, buys new clothes, develops her social network, takes evening courses, travels, learns new skills, reads, takes up tango and exotic cookery classes… but what do single men do? Play nintendo DS with their mates… or immerse themselves in mind numbing amounts of sport.
    I recently tried dating a man who was “good on paper” even though I wasn’t madly attracted to him and he wasn’t the confident alpha male type. On the positive side, he was 46, like me, had no kids, which for me is a huge plus, was solvent and liked theatre, the arts etc.. rather than sports, which suits me very well.He was also crazy about me.  On the negative side he  was 20lb overweight, lacked confidence and was simply not “manly” enough for me – always fussing over his cat like an elderly lady, cried at the drop of a hat, always wanted to put a towel on the bed before we had sex, and other overly domesticated things of that sort. Because he seemed suitable in some respects, I stuck with it for 3 months. Although we didn’t have hugely strong chemistry he was physically attractive ENOUGH for me to be able to have sex with him, so that was OK, but what I found, as time went on, was that I simply wasn’t falling in love with him. He was all starry eyed about me and I just wasn’t able to reciprocate emotionally. I need a man I can ADMIRE in order to really fall for him, and I just couldn’t admire this man, with his tupperware and his towels. Its all very well to say give these guys a chance, but really, what’s the point if you are not able to fall for them? The sex doesn’t HAVE to be red hot, but surely the emotional, love connection has to be strong and reciprocal for a relationship to work? Sorry, but I’m going back to my list – no more wimpy Beta males for me! I feel like all I did was waste 3 months of my life on someone who was never of the right calible in the first place.

    1. 5.1
      Christina

      I hear you! I always self-reflect whether what I want on my list is also what I can offer and it is. But then I realised that men and women place different level of importance on the same qualities. What I value on my list as a single woman isn’t what men value. An alpha male usually has a big ego, many options and is personally wealthy. He does need a wealthy woman per say, he already has it but he wants a fun one instead. He doesn’t need an intelligent women per say but a sexy one. These are just examples. You get my drift. 

  6. 6
    BeenThereDoneThat

    Here is my list:

    Same or similar values as me: honesty and have integrity for example.  (Not to be confused as same interests or politics)
    Have financial stability
    be easy going
    Have a sense of humor
    I would like someone with 6 or 7 years as myself. 
    Weight – i wouldn’t be interested in someone obese.  But a few extra pounds is fine. 
    Height –  practically everyone is taller than me so this isn’t ever an issue

    That is pretty much it.   Except for the weight and age thing; area’s I’m already flexible (I have dated 12 years younger to 12 years older). 

  7. 7
    Nia

    @Helene #5 – I nearly cried with laughter at the towel on the bed thing!! Seriously, up till then, I was thinking c’mon, give the guy a chance – but talk about a passion killer?! I know, I know – maybe you should/could have talked about it… But I don’t know – sigh – some days it does feel a bit dishertening when we try to put aside our lists and follow your advice Evan, but still keep getting into the same scenarios… I *really* do get the ‘drop the list’ thing, honestly – I’ve read (on your recommendation) th paradox of choice, and so, in order to not be a maximiser, have given people that I otherwise would not have, a chance… on my negative days I could call it lowering mystandards; on the positive, seeing the bigger picture/good stuff in people.
    So my last long term relationship fitted the ideal (or my ideal) list, he was:
    Tall,
    Handsome,
    Succesful,
    Intelligent,
    Financially very stable,
    Charming,
    Confident,
    Definitely a man’s man/Alpha male
    … you get the picture… he also said he wanted to commit to me for three and a half years, then one day woke up and said he actually didn’t ever want to get married or have children or commit to me in any other way.
    SO I DROPPED THE LIST!!
    And, after much reading of your blog, I went for some of the more ‘beta’ type males… and yes, they can be wonderfully attentive and lovely and sweet…
    BUT (and yes, it did call for a big but!) – the last 4 (yes, that does read FOUR) guys I’ve dated, each of which have been for about three months each, have ALL had problems being men – and I do mean literally… all *4* have either not been able to ‘get it up’ whatsoever, or can get it up but not keep it up, or can keep it up but can’t ‘finish what they’ve started’… And whilst my self esteem has had to be pretty steely to not think I’ve somehow turned into some hideous creature that doesn’t know what she’s doing in the sack, up till I started moving away from my Alpha type males and towards the Beta ones, this was *never* a problem… So whilst I’m with you on the lists, I am starting to really worry that, whilst I can be more ‘relaxed’ about the fact that he may be a zillion times more sensitive than me, or more domesticated than me – I am really starting to worry that dropping the list means dropping the idea of actually dating a man… :-/

  8. 8
    Erinlee

    I think a checklist of wanted qualities can be a useful guideline, as long as there is room for change.  Everyone compromises in some way so it would be foolish to think that you are the one unique enough that YOU won’t have to compromise.  I’ve never really had a type, all the guys I’ve dated have been quite different from one another.  As I grow with age, what I want changes as well.  This last winter I did a lot of dating.  I even went on dates with men that I knew I would not be interested in for a LTR.  I did this because it helped hone my dating skills and it’s fun to date!  Dating a lot also helped me recognize exactly what is was that I was looking for.  I realized that some of the things I thought I wanted in a man, probably would not have been qualities that would lead to a successful long term relationship.  Since I was having so much fun dating I told myself I would spend all summer meeting men and date date date!  Enter J, I met him when out with friends through a mutual friend.  We know a lot of the same people and even figured out we had been at some of the same functions and it’s quite amazing we had not met before this.  Went out to eat with J, went on a couple awesome hikes and I was thinking we could be really good friends, but wasn’t ready to commit.  I told him upfront that at that time I was only interested in dating around, and was not ready for a relationship, and that I would possibly be moving out of state at the end of the summer.  He replied with, “ok, so I have all summer to win your heart”.  I think that comment alone probably flipped the switch in my brain.  His subtle confidence and persistence won me over.  One month later, I committed myself to him and my summer of dating went out the window.  He was one I would not have thought I would want to be in a relationship with, but I dated him anyway.  It paid off, he’s absolutely wonderful and I’m extremely satisfied with him and excited about our future.  I never would have found him if I hadn’t opened myself up to dating outside my ‘guideline checklist’.  Step outside the box once in awhile, you’ll never know if you don’t try, and trying never hurt anyone. 

  9. 9
    NN

    I have a list of important qualities:

    sexy
    ethical backbone
    sexy
    free
    sexy
    imaginative
    sexy
    interested in me
    and did already say: hot and sexy?

    What do I need a man for, unless I want to have hot sex with him?

    Without sexual attraction so that I am turned on, I will feel bored or worse even turned off when I think of sex with him, so there is no relationship potential to be built.

    I have tried it like #5 and #7.. I will not rape myself to get a relationship or company of opposite sex. I know that non-attraction won’t change, it just turns into suffocating yaiks feeling. The man in question will be another unnecessarily hurt man because I had to turn him down.
    It is better to stay away from those who are no-gos from the word go than expect non-attraction to change.

    No sane woman starts a relationship with a man in order to change him.. why would you date a man if you need to change yourself to find him attractive?

    1. 9.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      NN – I can only imagine the millions of elderly couples who managed to build happy lives together over 40 years, having this conversation with their curious thirtysomething children…

      “Mom, what’s the secret to your relationship to Dad? How did you make it work for so long?”

      “Well, Ashley, your Dad is the hottest, sexiest man ever. He has an incredibly high libido, he goes down on me like a champ and he has the endurance of a stallion.”

      This conversation has never taken place. And not just because it’s inappropriate.

  10. 10
    Carrie

    Wow..great comments everyone.  Yes Evan we must be careful of the lists.  I had a great list…it included Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman and others….that didn’t work out so well! ahahhahhahahhahhah   I have been engaged 3 three times, married twice and divorced twice.  So talking about changing “the list”? That happened after each firey accident. I have been and fell in love with the ones I least expected too and with the “one” that actually was the most impressive and wanted me as well. That was a shocker but as usual anything to good to be true usually is.   Unfortunately I am in the most uncomfortable of situations.  I am not late 20’s to early 30’s and want kids…..nor…am I a super hot cougar with alot of money.  Men my age want the younger women and the younger men want older women with some cashhhh!
    So I decided no more lists….just live my life without one.  It’s wierd what is attracted to me now…is the complete polar opposite of who I think would be attracted to me.  As opposite as if Brad Pitt wanted to date ex first lady Barbara Bush…..we’re talking that opposite.  It’s frightening.  E-Harmony set me up with some man who looked like the next unibomber.  It actually looked like a mugshot.  Mountain man looking like he was dirty and smelly self professed slob when I put on my profile neat freak.  Hahahhahhahah…I laughed so hard then cried.  I have tried many avenues…over the last 3 years.  I decided to focus on myself….and if someone comes along in the interim great..if not I am just going to live my life happily enjoying my family, friends, and pursuing a new career.  Sometimes it’s best just to let go and grow in confidence and become secure by ones self.  This is just me…..my plan only!  Wishing the best to all with a the list!
     

  11. 11
    Michael

    Maybe the problem with the term “dealbreaker” is that this is not a deal being negotiated at all in a dating situation. You don’t say, “if you’ll make yourself taller, and I make a little less money, we have a deal.” The man is going to remain the same height and presumably the woman won’t make less money to make someone happy. It isn’t even like buying a car. There you may like the basic car, but you can choose colors and options, etc. With people, you better like what you see because it won’t likely morph into something else. So, what to do? Find a better paradigm or be continually unsuccessful. LOL.

  12. 12
    helene

    Nia #7 – can’t believe I did this but amazingly, I forgot to mention that on top of everything else the towel guy  couldn’t get it up either the first 4 times we tried to have sex! He then in desperation got some viagra and that certainly did the trick, but I agree, this seems to be a B male phenomenon – alpha males don’t really have performance anxiety, they’re so convinced their performance will be so utterly magnificent that its never a problem.
    “Dropping the list means dropping the idea of actually dating a man” …. sadly, I wonder if this is true. At the end of the day, the point of having criteria is to end up with someone you like and who suits you – if you drop your criteria, you might as well say you could just date and marry ANYONE. I know I could have married towel guy if I’d wanted to …. I reckon if I’d stayed with him we could have been engaged by christmas. The irony is I actually  WANTED to fall for him, given the no kids/financially stable etc..etc… stuff… but I just DIDN’T.  How do you admire someone you just…don’t admire??!

  13. 13
    Lisa

    Evan, thanks for the laugh!  My parents have been married for 42 years (they are hardly elderly, though, at 62 and 61).  My mom said my dad had integrity and she knew he would be a loyal husband and father.  And he is- we couldn’t ask for better.
    Is it any surprise that the marriage rate is steadily declining?

     

  14. 14
    helene

    With the greatest of respect to our host, I have to say, Evan: “Spoken by someone who has a good sex life.” I’ve heard it said that if the sex is good, its forms 10% of the relationship. If its bad, its 90%. I can testify  to this. Bad sex takes over. A poor sexual connection blights the entire relationship. If sex is functioning well, couples in those relationhips barely give it a second thought, and do not attribute the success of their relationship to sex. They cite many other factors as being what they love about each other and what keeps them together, and in many senses this is true, but take away the good sex and replace it with a fraught, miserable dysfunctional sex life, and all that other stuff becomes irrelevant. Through good times, and even more importantly through bad times, a couple who can climb into each others arms for comfort and pleasure at the end of the day, whatever else may be crashing around them in daily life, can sustain their love and their bond – replace this with a stressful, distant, frustrating scenario every night and its just not feesable to keep going. Whilst sexual attraction and connection  is not sufficient to sustain a relationship, it is still a very necessary first step. Throw away what you want from your list but don’t throw away that!

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Helene – I never said sex didn’t matter. I said that if you’re going to make it the most important aspect of your relationship, you’re probably going to have a tempestuous, frustrating, incompatible relationship. The person with whom you share the greatest sex and the greatest attraction is not necessarily the greatest long-term partner. To this, I can testify!

  15. 15
    BeenThruTheWars

    Here are some qualities from my list that seemed CRITICAL back when I was dating:
     
    He can’t be a smoker or party too much (I’m a straight arrow), and needs to be fit and in shape (even though I’m not!)
    He has to like to read, be intellectually curious, keep up with current events and popular culture.
    He should be ambitious, competitive, politically liberal, compassionate toward the less fortunate and want to make a difference in the world.
     
    Guess what?  I didn’t get ANY of those things in my husband of 5.5 years.  And with the exception of the smoking/partying thing, we don’t have issues over any of it.  I got enough other things on my list (intelligent, loves cats, doesn’t want kids, non-religious, faithful/trustworthy, sentimental, romantic, gorgeous, tall, fabulous companion, from a good family, loves live theater, fun to hang out with, won’t make me a sports widow, creative/musical, etc. etc.) all in one man that I was ecstatic!   And more than happy to “settle” in the areas where he wasn’t precisely what I was looking for.  (He had to do some “settling” with me, as well; I’m overweight, much shorter than he is, 11 years older, not spontaneous, don’t party, etc. etc.)  But we clicked like crazy and still do. 
     
    I read somewhere that if the other person is 80% of what you’re looking for, consider yourself lucky and go for it.  (I’ve also read to go for it with only 51%, but that sounded like a recipe for misery.)  When you meet the “right” person, if you are both mature and sufficiently motivated to be together to be able to accept each other’s flaws, that, to me at least, is the recipe for long-term happiness.

  16. 16
    RH

     
    @ Helen-Just wondering if any of the beta males tried Viagra or such?If not did they get physicals? if they refused to do either then yes, It’s time to move on. Everyone has “down times” but if the guy is not willing to try and  improve the situation then forget it!
    @ EMK-I absolutely agree.

  17. 17
    Karl R

    helene said: (#5)
    “The thing that frustrates me is that although I have a list of criteria I am looking for in a man, I don’t feel I’m looking for anything I ‘m not offering”

    While it’s human to feel that way, it’s a completely impractical way to date.

    I’m an intelligent man, and I like intelligent women. It would only seem fair that my partner should be close to my intellectual equal.

    In doing so, I could rule out 98% (or more) of all potential partners.

    I’m also a good dancer, so I find it extremely convenient if my potential partner shares my passion for this hobby. And since I’ll end up dancing more often with her than other women, I’d like her to be good enough so I actually enjoy dancing with her (instead of just tolerating those dances). I put a lot of time into my dancing. It seems fair that a woman should be able to keep up with me on the dance floor.

    If you click the link in my name (it’s a YouTube video), you’ll get an idea of my dancing ability.

    A small percentage of women are my intellectual equals. A smaller number match my skill on the dance floor. If you take the number of women who are my equal in both areas … it’s a really tiny number.

    Why should I have to accept less than I’m bringing to the table?

    helene said: (#5)
    “Honestly. sometimes I think we single women have priced ourselves out of the market.”

    I could try to date women who are my equals, both intellectually and on the dance floor. I’ve managed to meet a few (in a city with a population of millions). One is married. Two live in other cities. One is a single mother. Another thinks I’m too short (she’s 6’2″).

    If I cling to those standards, than I have priced myself out of the market.

    helene, do you meet my standards? If not, is it your fault for being unable to measure up? Or is it my fault for setting unrealistic standards?

    helene said: (#5)
    “When a woman finds herself single, she will very often launch into self improvement to be more attractice to a new mate. She keeps in shape, buys new clothes, develops her social network, takes evening courses, travels, learns new skills, reads, takes up tango and exotic cookery classes…”

    Of the 9 things you mentioned, only three seem relevant to me (largely because I’m a dancer who enjoys ethnic food). To most men, 8 of the 9 things are your list don’t qualify as improvements.

    If I want to discuss books, I’ll spend an afternoon with my buddies who have read many of the same books. It’s much easier than insisting that my fiancée share my taste in literature.

    If you’re taking evening classes, it makes you less available on weekday evenings. The classes enhance your career potential, but men date women, not résumés.

    I don’t care what clothes my fiancée wears. I’m more interested in seeing her without them on.

    How does travel qualify as self-improvement? I see it as entertainment (just like playing sports or Nintendo). And unless you’re an exceptional storyteller, I’ll be just as bored listening to you talk about France as I will be listening to a guy talk about softball or Guitar Hero.

    It’s easy to see how you’re overpricing yourself. You’re taking a number of traits that have little or no value to men, and you’re placing a very high value on them.

    You know what a lot of men hear when you talk about being well-traveled? We hear that you like to t$r$a$v$e$l. You’re not increasing your apparent value if a man believes you’ll be draining his bank account with your hobbies.

    My fiancée is smart, but she’s not my intellectual equal. She’s become a much better dancer since we started dating, but she’s not my equal yet. But I am perfectly happy with her because I don’t measure her value based upon how she compares to two of my strongest traits.

    You can complain that it’s unfair that men don’t measure up to you, or you can accept that it’s ineffective to insist that they do.

  18. 18
    hunter

    The few 40-50 year marriages that I know, forgave each other many, many times, throughout the marriage……….

  19. 19
    Laura

    Great sex comes from a great emotional connection and starts way before you hit the bedroom.  If you don’t have great sex, look elsewhere in the relationship for the problem!

    My “Will Not Tolerate” list is way longer than my “Must Be” list.  The Will Not Tolerate allows me to pass on men quickly, usually upon first meeting or first date!

    The Must List:

    Product of intact two-parent family

    Strong ties in the community

    Has property and lives in the country

    Friendly toward horses and cattle because I have them
     and I won’t get rid of them for a man again.

    I have an awesome man, we’ve been in WOW with each other since the first time we met 7 months ago.  He is a man of integrity, known for his honesty,  fine craftmanship and good business practices.   We saw each other for 2 months before he kissed me.  We make out a lot!  We won’t be having sex until his house is built.   We’ve had misunderstandings and we’ve resolve them, learning how each other behaves with stress and insecurity.    We love the same things.  

    He is an alpha male, running crews on two farms, a construction company and building his own house.   When there is a problem between us, or I have a problem, he DEALS and it’s resolved quickly.   He hasn’t said the L word, but he shows me all the time.  I know he has a sensitive heart, I’ve seen tears in his eyes although he looked away so I wouldn’t see.  Above all, he’s a gentleman.

    Yet I never would’ve looked at this adorable man had I used the list held over from my younger years.   I counted him as a possibility before meeting him because I knew his dad through business, so I knew he qualified for my short list of “Must Be.”   I

    I have far “hotter,” more sophisticated, younger men hitting on me all the time.  They’re all rejects.

    I’m glad I deconstructed the small box built by that endless list, it brought nothing but heartache.

  20. 20
    Teresa

    I’d rather live with another dealbreaker than sex.  the last 4 years of my marriage were sexless. It is easy to say sex is not that important of course until you actually live it.

  21. 21
    Jennifer

    Laura, I’m curious about why you won’t have sex until his house is built. Do you mean until you move in with him there?

  22. 22
    Laura

    He doesn’t want to move forward with sex until his house is finished.   He is staying at his mom’s house since his house burned down last winter.   I have my house which was my marital home, my teen daughter lives with me.   My house has never been home to me, I bonded with the land, not the house.   I understand this man not wanting to make love to me in my ex’s bedroom, that’s the kind of man he is.

    Meanwhile, we make out for hours.  First it was in the hay barn listening to the rain on the tin roof.  We kept getting interrupted by hired hands, hay customers and even his mother.  (teenage flashback!) Then his greenhouse, but his cat got jealous and obnoxious.   There are walls and a roof on his house, we make out in the kitchen, the bedroom or the living room.  WE GET INTERRUPTED THERE!

    It isn’t all making out, either.  We walk across the meadow to the river, talk to the cows, inspect the experimental trees, watch the ducks, eagles, elk, raccoons and enjoy the peace.   He is most content in his house with his arms around me looking out the window openings seeing another calf be born.  We talk and we laugh and I tell him how scared I am sometimes.

    He has said things that lead me to believe he will be asking me to live at his farm in his house.  When I ask, “Huh?”  He says, “Nothing.”   He hasn’t asked me yet and I don’t know how I will answer.  I don’t know if it will be a marriage proposal or a shack up offer.  It’s his in his time.   The only thing concrete he has said is there is more when the house is finished.

    All I know is the most romantic time in my life is with him.  His smile lights up my world and he just glows.   He does it for me, he can make me beg for it and no other men are willing to do that.  I love him loving on me and I trust him enough to let him love me.  I trust him to be the man in this relationship.  He wants to wait for the house.  We’ll wait for the house.

  23. 23
    J.A.

    @Nia and Helene:

    No offense but your posts reek of arrogance.  I don’t know how old these guys were that couldn’t get/stay hard or finish but that sort of thing is fairly normal, and I don’t think it’s a alpha male/beta male issue.  I’m sure Evan would agree with me here…it’s funny how all this pressure is on us men to perform and get and keep it up and the women have no pressure at all and can just lay there and be critics.  Sex is a 2-way street.  It’s not a performer/judge situation.  Maybe that’s why a lot of guys have trouble getting it up the first couple oftimes with a new girl because the girl is judging his performance rather than just having a good time.  I’ll admit it- when I first started having sex with my current gf, the first couple times I had ‘performance’ issues, but they stopped because she’s a nice girl and non-judgemental and didn’t make me feel bad about it.  Now we have a great sex life and neither of us have any complaints;)  I bet if given the chance I can do more things in bed than any of these ‘alpha males’ you love.  Most ‘alpha males’ when you break them down are actually insecure and not ‘manly.’

  24. 24
    RH

    @J.A.- Amen Brother!!!!

  25. 25
    Annie

    @25

    I tend to agree with your alpha male comment. They actually do come across as insecure to me…at least the ones that seem overtly “alpha”. It’s the quiet confident ones, that show their vulnerabilities…those are the real lions underneath :)

    And yes, a little less harsh judgement on the erection concerns. What if you couldn’t relax enough to have an orgasm the first couple of times for some reason? What if a man said “Oh she isn’t sexual because she can’t orgasm on demand…NEXT”…

    I hear of men making similar comments. If a woman won’t put out, or go off like a freight train straight away, she must have sexual issues. It’s like there are all these damaged people, judging the next encounter even more ferociously than the last…damn defense mechanisms :(

  26. 26
    Jennifer

    Laura #24
    Thank you for coming back to clarify

  27. 27
    hunter

    J.A., You are right, most women don’t know how to keep us up…..and longer in bed…..

  28. 28
    Laura

    We all want sex, but jumping into sex before any trust and intimacy is established is going to cause performance anxiety for the man.   I believe men need trust and intimacy too, unless they’re ass clowns performing only for themselves.

    Maybe I’m wrong.

  29. 29
    Gem

    Helene has a good point in #5:

    I need a man I can ADMIRE in order to really fall for him, and I just couldn’t admire this man, with his tupperware and his towels.

    I think many if not most women want to feel this way about their man.

    So whatever the personal qualities are, of any given man, which allows a woman to fall for him doesn’t matter, so long as compatible people find each other.

    But I’m with Helene, I just couldn’t fall for said man either. His difficulty with his erections is just one small piece. The towels on the bed, the crying at the drop of a hat, the coddling of the cat. Just not enough masculine energy for me (not even close). And plenty of masculine energy isn’t something I’m ever crossing off my list.

    But hey, there’s a lid for every pot and he’ll find a woman perfect for him just the way he is.

  30. 30
    J.A.

    Thank you Laura…I agree.

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