Love A Man For Who He Is, Instead of Focusing On What He Is Not

As you know, before I was a dating coach, I went on a LOT of dates.

And although I always considered myself confident, interesting, and thoughtful, I sometimes did things on dates that would make any woman question that claim.

I have no explanation for my actions. All I want to observe is that, despite my best intentions, I’m apparently a flawed, clueless and stupid man.

After all, I once…

Showed up on a date drunk after a day of mojitos on the beach.
Started crying when talking about my deceased father.
Forgot my wallet at home after having a $90 Asian fusion meal.
Followed up a date with phone call after phone call to a busy lawyer, to the point that I probably sounded like a stalker.
Got so wasted that I threw an ice cube into my date’s cleavage.

So how can you know when it’s more appropriate to forgive your guy…or when it’s best to give him the heave-ho?

Oh, I’m sure there are more, but that’s just a brief snippet of what your big-hearted, articulate, self-aware, sensitive dating coach occasionally pulled on his 300 date journey to marital bliss.

And if a guy like me has been known to throw all good sense to the wind, I’m sure there are a ton of decent men who have done the exact same thing…and worse.

This blog is to a) apologize to you on behalf of all mankind, and to b) ask for your forgiveness should we make similar mistakes in the future.

Seriously. There could be a pretty amazing guy lurking inside the crying drunk man in front of you. Here’s a perfect example:

Last week, I was working with Lori, a very cool 45-year-old never-married woman who has continued her coaching beyond the end of my 8 week Passion Course.

I’m a big Lori fan, but I’m also a tough enough dating coach to know that part of the reason that she’s never settled down is because she always finds something wrong with the men she’s dating.

I’m sympathetic.

As evidenced above, men – good, smart, successful, relationship-oriented men – do stupid things all the time. So how can you know when it’s more appropriate to forgive your guy…or when it’s best to give him the heave-ho?

Well, I think it’s important to consider the context of the date.

Consider, for example, my client, Amy, a marketing executive who always speaks her mind. So when she got comfortable talking to Scott about her four-year-ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, it didn’t even occur to her that she was rambling for about 30 minutes uninterrupted.

Or take Tina, who had an awesome 4-hour first date with Don, which ended up with a fifteen-minute makeout session. Needless to say, Tina was excited. Which is why she asked Don before he left the car, “So, when are you calling me again?”

Tina’s not wrong for wanting to see Don again. But in Don’s mind, a woman who asks him out at the end of Date 1 appears weak and needy. That’s not an attractive quality to most men and it’s often going to affect his opinion of you.

Finally, there’s Melissa, a 37-year-old with a strong, vivacious personality. So she didn’t think much of it, when, after 3 drinks, she told her date that she liked it “rough” in bed. Check, please.

The point is that sometimes we let down our guard and say or do something that is simply embarrassing.

It doesn’t necessarily sum up who we are, but in a 90-minute date, such a misstep can singlehandedly determine your future – or lack thereof.

So while I’m not suggesting that I’d expect you to forgive me for the ol’ ice cube in the cleavage trick (although, surprisingly, my date DID), I am stating that it’s extremely easy to find something in each guy that rubs you the wrong way.

It’s not always an egregious error. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste.

It’s how he combs his hair.
It’s the type of music he likes.
It’s his interest in something like sci-fi or model airplanes. It’s the sound of his voice or the pitch of his laugh.

“He’s got the most beautiful blue eyes. He always knows how to make me laugh. And he can drive at night. What else could I want in a man?”

The point is that if everything on a date can be a dealbreaker, you can’t be too surprised that every single deal is broken.

Your job, as a smart, strong, successful woman, is to “forgive the ignorance.”

Don’t look at each man as a gymnast where you’re taking of tenths of points for every misstep. Instead, look at each man for what he’s doing RIGHT.

Truth is, men are just overgrown 3rd grade boys. They’d pull your hair if they knew it would make you like them. Literally every single thing he says or does is designed to make you like him; whether it works or not is another story.

Just know that all the talking, and bragging, and awkwardness are different ways that your date is attempting to impress you.

Forgive him, for he knows not what he does.

Once you look at him through the lens of adorable pity instead of incredulous scorn, you’d be surprised at how well your dates go…

I know, I know. You don’t WANT to forgive the ignorance. You just want him to get it all perfect – to know exactly what pleases you – to be man enough to not make any of those missteps.

Here’s the flaw in that thinking:

Just because you think it’s a misstep doesn’t mean it is. I had one client dump a guy because he made fun of some modern art at the museum. She thought it was classless. Someone else might find the same thing funny. Either way, this stuff shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

If you judge a man for every first date “mistake”, you can pretty much always find something you don’t like. He could do 20 things right – be thoughtful, generous, interesting, funny, cute, warm, relationship-oriented…but then confess his animosity towards his awful ex, and blow the entire date. Sometimes it’s best to take an overall impression of the person, instead of breaking down every tiny word and gesture.

You are undoubtedly doing JUST as many things “wrong” as he is. Would you like him to dissect you for being 5 lbs overweight, a bit nervous or shy, or for talking about your organic garden for too long?

I sure hope not.

Before I let you go, I want to share a story that I got from my friend, Julie Ferman, a matchmaker here in LA. During one of Julie’s Learning Annex seminars, I recall her talking about her mother-in-law, Frieda, who was getting married at age 90.

Her husband was a few years younger, and while he was hunched over like a question mark, didn’t have his own teeth, and was far from a millionaire, Frieda loved him deeply.

If her affection towards him wasn’t obvious, Frieda was able to explain thusly:

“He’s got the most beautiful blue eyes. He always knows how to make me laugh. And he can drive at night. What else could I want in a man?”

I love that story because it distills the essence of love into something simple.
Love a man for who he is, instead of focusing on who he is not.

Not only will this enable you to find more worthy men in the dating process, but it will do a magical thing to your men – it will make them feel confident, safe, and masculine. Every man responds better to women who forgive us for our flaws and laud us for our strengths.

Try doing that with the man you’re seeing now and watch how well it works.

Readers in happy relationships, let me hear from you – do you find that you connect better with your partner when you’re critical or when you focus on his/her good qualities?

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Michael17

    Sayanta–
     
    Well, not NYC. The mid-Atlantic. I hear that dating in NYC is tough, especially for women, because (a) there are so many options due to so many people around that even if you have a great date, the BBD is around the corner, and (b) single women still far outnumber single men (even though there is a large number of both).
     
    That said, I still have never heard of a guy discounting a girl because of cat hair on her sweater or anything like that. I have heard of men discount women because (a) she didn’t seem that into him, (b) she became clingy very fast, (c) someone more physically appealing came along and showed us interest [yes we men are shallow]. BUT (a) and (b) are in your control, and (c) is actually somewhat rare. If you show us genuine interest without smothering us, chances are we will be willing to see you again.

  2. 32
    Sarah

    I have a hard time seeing what “Tina” and “Melissa” did wrong in the article–if you just had 4 hours of awesome + 15 minutes of makeout awesome, I don’t think you’re going to suddenly turn around and despise the person because they asked you when you’ll be calling back.  As for declaring you like rough sex…well, if your date’s vanilla, maybe they might get scared, but if they’re not, hey, wild night ahead.
     
    Good points overall though–I think in this age of meat market nightclubs and internet dating, a lot of us forget that a first date is not an audition.

    1. 32.1
      Tim

      If men told women on first dates they liked rough sex, 90% of the time women would find it offensive. I don’t think there is any need to be hypocritical.

  3. 33
    ofw dating

    cool blog. if you focus on things you wish your lover has and is, its not like you love him for who he is the day you met. sure there are a lot of flaws that should be improved, but you should adore the man you came to love when he hooked up with you.

  4. 34
    Heather

    I’d like to think I always try to focus on the good, and not the bad. But sometimes my past dates have given me nothing but bad. My boyfriend, soon to be fiance is wonderful. I love him for simple reasons. It’s so silly but when he does just a simple text poke it makes me giggle and I get all warm and flushed. 

    People at work will ask me questions about him, and it’s like the world has a different light about it. He’s smart, but totally addicted to video games and that’s okay because at one time I was as well, and that is ironically how we met. I’m actually moving to be with him after a two year LDR. I’m excited, nervous and scared. It’s a lot to think about. I love your articles and you are right. Sorry, just rambling. 

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