The Secret to Love: Mr. Imperfect is Actually Mr. Right

We interrupt our regular programming for this gem of a letter from a reader. Jeanne embodies the spirit of Advice From a Single Dating Expert and I’m thrilled to give her the floor today.

Like many of you, Jeanne’s a self-described “catch” who was really struggling in love. Seems there were no quality guys for her and she felt woefully unappreciated by the emotionally unavailable men she was meeting. She articulately confessed her frustration, and I wrote her a reply with my typical, “look in the mirror”, “take responsibility”, “see the male side of things” response. I would encourage you to read it before you move forward, because it sets the table for what comes next.

And boy, do I love what comes next:

Dear Evan,

I was reading your response to 3/24/08 Paula and I realize that I have been remiss! Evan, you and I had a special “anniversary” last week.:-)

A year ago, I wrote you in desperation with my dating life. And it seems that I quickly graduated to “Where are all the emotionally available mentally healthy men?” Little did I realize what staying power my issue had :-).

So I would like to give you and your readers an update on my situation – especially since I think it is very, very relevant to Paula.

You were quite harsh with me in your response on 3/21/07 – ouch!!!!:-)

But desperate times require desperate measures, so I held up the mirror and painstakingly went through your commentary for applicability:

1)  Men think women over 40 are “hard”. That was an easy one. You will find no one on the planet more laid back and fun loving than me – and I have a zillion people to verify that :-).

2)  Do I have an over-inflated sense of self and exaggerate in my online dating profile? My pictures were 4 months old. And while I talked about my work “saving the world” so to speak, I also noted that I rode my bicycle into my neighbor’s car because I am a hopeless spaz. :-)  So I was honest in my profile.

3)  Your conclusion? If I was who I said I was, then some single dad would find me irresistible someday.

You were right.  I met him 2 days later.

It took 5 months to make me realize that there was this extraordinary man who was in love with me and who would wait as long as it took for me to get my $h!t together.

Did I know that I had met him? Like Paula, I had an image of what would be the “right” man for me.  Did the gentleman I meet on that date fit? He soooooooooooooooo didn’t – he was bald, gray and wore glasses!

It took 5 months – and a whole lot of dates with other men, and a really bad experience with a man whom I felt explosive ‘chemistry’ with – to make me realize that there was this extraordinary man who was in love with me and who would wait as long as it took for me to get my $h!t together. …

He is brilliant and incredibly witty. And he wants to leave the world in a little better shape than when he joined it and has devoted his entire adult life to that cause. He is a gentleman in the true meaning of the word.  He does his best to be the best man he can be. And when he fails, he grieves terribly. He loves my daughters madly and can’t get enough of being with them. He rarely loses his cool and has great communication skills, even in the most difficult of conversations. And I took a second look at him and thought “hmmm….he kind of has that ‘hot professor’ look going on” – not to mention what he is like as a lover :-).

Its not always been easy – we’ve had a couple of really big issues that were “Evan blog-worthy” and I thought for sure would be dealbreakers. But we dealt with them. And fell more in love.

And we celebrated our one year anniversary this past weekend.

So “Happy Anniversary,” Evan  :-)

Congratulations to Jeanne. You deserve all the credit in the world for focusing on what was really important in a relationship. And this was the SECOND letter today I received from someone who had the SAME EXACT experience as you.

The other person is my private client. She’s in her early sixties, lives in Virginia, and is, by all accounts, a catch. Attractive, successful, opinionated, young for her age. Yet she was really struggling with dating – especially after having her heart crushed by a Match.com guy last year. Together, Katherine and I worked together to give her a new lease on love – with new online photos and essays, of course, but most importantly, with a whole new outlook on dating.

After a month, she was seeing a man who she described as a good guy – but not quite what she was looking for. Turns out he was a little short for her tastes – she can see eye-to-eye with him without heels. And he wasn’t as rugged and manly as her ideal guy. She likes men who can saddle up horses and fix things around the house. The new Match guy didn’t quite qualify, which is why she was on the fence about him.

I asked her to tell me – regardless of this guy – what was most important in a relationship; what she really NEEDED. The list came back as you might expect: a man who treats me well, a man who makes me laugh, a man who loves family, a man who respects women, a man who is cute, a man who is financially stable. “Got it,” I said. “So, how many of those things apply to this Match guy?” She took a moment to think about it. “All of them,” she said, laughing. “I guess I’ll give him another shot.” Here’s what Katherine wrote to me this morning:

One of the best tips you gave me was that the right guy is not necessarily “Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome.

Dear Evan,

I just want to thank you for your great advice and understanding, as we worked together toward finding the perfect man for me. I really enjoyed our telephone conferences and always looked forward to the next one. Your insight really kept me on track. And although it took literally hours and hours of searching through profiles on various websites, all the hard work paid off. I’m very happy with the new man in my life, and I wouldn’t have found him without your help. One of the best tips you gave me was that the right guy is not necessarily “Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome.”

Many thanks,

Katherine

What Katherine didn’t say is that she’s taken her Match profile down, introduced the guy to her kids, and is traveling with him in Europe for ten days in April.

If you’re not inspired by this, please check your pulse. 42-year-old single moms finding love? 61-year-old double divorcees finding love? All I can say is this:

I LOVE http://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/. Thank you all for trusting me to assist you.

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Comments:

  1. 61
    JerseyGirl

    DeathSlayer, your post is mean spirited because you boardline are tearing women down and basically carrying the message that women are “less” then men.

    You go on to blame women for less marriages, more single women, more single mothers, issues with divorce. Relationships take two people. Women are by far not perfect, but they aren’t “failing” at these things alone. We are where we are today because of women and men. Good or bad. You fail to mention anything about all the men out there that cheat and leave their marriages, or men who don’t want to commit at all, or men who leave behind their own children in other pursuits.

    Your message is clear. Young women = better. Older women= crap. Older women with personality= might get a few stray bones thrown her way and should be thankful. Men = Great No matter What.

    As for your question regaurding how many women keep themselves in shape; I see just as many paunchy over weight men as I do women. Being unfit isn’t just a lifestyle choice made only by women.

    But hey, I actually can understand why an older woman might let herself go. Especially if men just consider women unattractive and useless after a certain age, while he can carry on the rest of his days knowing that no one looks down on him for the years he has gained. There is no point in keeping up appearnces if men already think the worst of women. So heck, at this point a cheesecake holds more comfort and warmth then that mentality.

    —————————————————————————-
    DeathSlayer: I’d say that more and more people are realizing this and despite what the media tells women, the media CANNOT control what men like in women.
    —————————————————————————-

    Actually, to some extent the media does control what men like in women. But that is a different topic. It’s ironic that you make excuses for men’s shallow likes, but condemn women for theres.

    —————————————————————————–
    DeathSlayer: She no longer feels the need to EARN that feeling. Ask any woman in a relationship did the man EVER do anything for her and she’ll either say NO or say he used to do it until he got comfortable with me and he didn’t do anything FOR ME. Now, ask the woman did she show him the same support, love, affection and PERSONALITY and she’ll come up with an excuse.
    —————————————————————————–
    It’s a two way street. I am willing to admit that. I don’t get the impression that you are. She probably doesn’t do all the things she should either. But again, relationships don’t just fail because of one party most of the time. It takes two people, a man and a woman. Both with faults. They have both probably indirectly stopped telling each other that they love each other in the ways the other needs. … Or perhaps he was too busy checking out her younger counterparts to notice what she was doing for him. After all, you made it very clear several times how that is what men want and value in women. Maybe she got tired of being made to feel “less”.

    —————————————————————————-
    This leads to an interesting question: What IS the value of a woman’s libido?

    Is there any difference between this and prostitution?
    —————————————————————————–

    These questions have absolutely nothing to do with what I posted. I was pointing out that men often stop doing the things that make their SO feel special. It appears that you seem to think women should have no desire to want to be treated special. Especially by a man that is suppose to love them. And you want to call women prositutes because they need gestures that reassure their place in their man’s life? Your high opinion of women comes shining through once again.

    —————————————————————————-
    DeathSlayer: Notice I ALSO said that a woman with a PERSONALITY and something to offer a man BESIDES sex is one that has a better shot at KEEPING a man?
    —————————————————————————–

    Personality is always important but every woman on the world from 5-90 wants their partner to think they are beautiful and attractive physically. Why? Because for one thing it is an inherent part of being a woman. And secondly, we understand how important looks are to men. If a man can’t or doesn’t think of his partner that way, then she is better off not “keeping” him.

    If you want to compare women to Farraris and dented up fords; then lets compare men to diamonds and cubic zirconia. Some men are diamonds, expensive and polish and very vaulable. And some are just cubics zirconia, bright on the outside but not much going on inside, and empty replacement for the real thing. Can you guess which one women want more? The real deal.

  2. 62
    Deathslayer

    Actually, to some extent the media does control what men like in women. But that is a different topic. It’s ironic that you make excuses for men’s shallow likes, but condemn women for theres.
    *
    Then why do more and more men not date single moms, despite the rise of full figured or plus sized women men still want a slim and thin woman with nice natural cures without lots of cellulite? BTW, men are watching less TV…especially the younger men with disposable income.

    It’s a two way street. I am willing to admit that. I don’t get the impression that you are.
    *
    Then that’s when a man should ask himself…what’s in this for ME? Men are usually taught to think about everyone else before himself. THAT needs to change if a man is gonna survive today.

    She probably doesn’t do all the things she should either.
    *
    Cool. Both are guilty.

    But again, relationships don’t just fail because of one party most of the time. It takes two people, a man and a woman. Both with faults. They have both probably indirectly stopped telling each other that they love each other in the ways the other needs. Or perhaps he was too busy checking out her younger counterparts to notice what she was doing for him. After all, you made it very clear several times how that is what men want and value in women. Maybe she got tired of being made to feel less.
    *
    Amount of nice things you do for a girl=something she will instantly forget in favor for pointing out a fault.

    This is why marriage is pointless. This is why it’s just better to do what YOU love, and if someone wants to come along for the ride, well than that’s just great but enjoy it for the temporary thing that it is!

    These questions have absolutely nothing to do with what I posted.
    *
    Yes they do…if she wants it, then she has to EARN them.

    I was pointing out that men often stop doing the things that make their SO feel special.
    *
    The mere fact of possessing female plumbing is insufficient to garner either privilege or treatment.

    You want chivalry, romance, and all that? Two words: Earn it.

    It appears that you seem to think women should have no desire to want to be treated special.
    *
    So, what are women doing to treat the men as special. As you said, it takes two, so if one is doing 100% and the other is only doing 2%, what does the balance equal?

    Especially by a man that is suppose to love them. And you want to call women prositutes because they need gestures that reassure their place in their man’s life?
    *
    Tell you what…let’s let men start treating women in relationships like women treat men…

    Exactly when did women start feeling like all they had to do was sit, stand or just be somewhere — a bar, a coffee shop, school, a supermarket — and men would voluntarily throw themselves at their feet begging for scraps. I don’t know about where you live, but women in this city feel that all they have to do is be there and
    men will come, like maggots to a rotting corpse.

    If your self-esteem is so low that you buy into the fact that you’re paying for dinner for the pleasure of their company or that the woman even mentions that you should pay for the pleasure of her company, then you need help.

    What about the pleasure of YOUR company?
    Isn’t that worth something?
    And if a woman feels that her company is worth something and yours isn’t, then that’s all you need to know before dumping her.

    What man would want to be with a woman who thinks so little of him?

    99% of the time, having romance means spending inordinate amounts of money to validate her worth.

    Women define a man’s value in terms of how well he serves her needs and not often by any other measure.

    Your high opinion of women comes shining through once again.
    *
    Sarcasm. Not bad, but ineffective.

    If you want to compare women to Farraris and dented up fords; then lets compare men to diamonds and cubic zirconia. Some men are diamonds, expensive and polish and very vaulable. And some are just cubics zirconia, bright on the outside but not much going on inside, and empty replacement for the real thing. Can you guess which one women want more? The real deal.
    *
    ALL women want the real deal. Few women actually work to earn it.

    Women view sex as a commodity, and some even view affection as a commodity. Don’t ever give them anything in exchange for it because she’ll just try to leverage it for even more.

    Under a logical view of equality, sex is something that should be equally shared and equally enjoyed by both parties, canceling out any need for further compensation for the act for either party.

    Forget it if you think women would actually buy into this line of thinking though! They see their sexuality as costly and male sexuality as cheap (why else do they feel that on a date all they have to do is show up and you do the paying?)

    Marriage for a man = Less money, less sex, more emotional abuse, more unnecessary responsibilities, no appreciation, no acknowledgement or respect for his contributions, constantly dealing with spouse who is never satisfied – nothing he does is ever enough, constant bitching about things she’s not getting despite all she’s getting, nagging, constantly being tested on how much he loves her, being told he doesn’t love her whenever he doesn’t do things the way she believes he should do them (emotionally bullying him into doing things the way she wants them done), destruction of his life’s dreams for her needs, etc. Nice deal, eh?

    Women are extremely lazy in relationships. They expect you to initiate the meeting, they expect you to initiate the conversation, they expect you to initiate sex, they expect you to read their minds, they expect you to protect and take care of them as they just sit back and take in the benefits, they expect you to be their emotional tampon, all the while feeling perfectly justified in doing so since they’re the female and all they have to do is show up while you do the work.

    Do you really think that marriage will be any different?

    So, why should I prove myself to be a diamond when all she’ll see me is as a piece of coal for her to burn up?

    Deathslayer

  3. 63
    vino

    Aren’t we a bit off-topic?

  4. 64
    Jennifer

    LOL @ emotional tampon!
    But seriously, Deathslayer has a point about the way some women view and behave in relationships and the attitude that some men have adopted because of this. Since this behavior clearly doesn’t represent all women, it would be a shame for men to beleive it does and treat every woman accordingly. All of this just points to finding out where someone’s head is (man or woman) before getting too deeply involved. But if we all did that, we wouldn’t be reading dating advice columns :-)

  5. 65
    Michael Ejercito

    How many men who have never been married and never had kids would want to date a single mom?

  6. 66
    Shari

    To Michael Ejercito – I found a man who has never been married and never had kids who wants me – a single mom. So there’s at least one in the world.

  7. 67
    starthrower68

    Thank you for proving my point, Shari! And congrats to you! I hope you continue to be blessed in that relationship and that it prospers!

  8. 68
    Selena

    Michael Ejercito–

    I found myself a single mom at age 24. I dated a number of never-married, childless men in my 20′s and 30′s, including one relationship that lasted several years. It wasn’t until I was 38 I got involved with a man who had children of his own. I never picked men on this kind of status basis, it just happened to work out that way.

    Over the decades, I’ve known many, many single mom’s who never had problems finding men willing to date them. Actually, it’s common, but you certainly wouldn’t know it from reading this particular blog. Perhaps it has something to do with on-line dating, vs. the old-fashioned way of meeting someone in person and then dating them?

  9. 69
    JB

    Once men hit a certain age they date single moms because they have to not because they want to. Let’s face it, what percentage of single women between the ages of 35-55 do you think have no children ? Do a search on any dating site and you’ll see it’s around 5%. So unless we get real lucky and hit it off with a woman in that 5% we deal with kids and know we will never be #1 in those women’s lives or we don’t date.

    I’d go out on a limb and say there’s a lot of variables in that single moms might find plenty of men to date them “short term” etc.. but maybe less for serious relationships and marriage. Of course it depends on their ages,looks, how many kids and ages etc…..

  10. 70
    vikki

    JB: In other words, men – like women – sometimes have to compromise. I won’t get into the ‘compromise versus settling’ debate! But we all have to adjust our expectations somewhere along the line. This is one of the rewards of not dying young!

    vino: You noticed that too! For a moment I thought I must have wandered onto the wrong blog. But I like it, that this place is so relaxed, that not even deathslayer can start a flame war. Congrats to Evan!

  11. 71
    hunter

    to andrea,

    Most pick-up artists know, that, most women take time to warm up, so, they stick around.

  12. 72
    vino

    vikki: I just noticed we were getting a bit off-topic. I happen to agree with ds pretty much categorically.

    Jennifer wrote: “Deathslayer has a point about the way some women view and behave in relationships and the attitude that some men have adopted because of this. Since this behavior clearly doesn’t represent all women, it would be a shame for men to beleive it does and treat every woman accordingly.”

    While I don’t disagree with you, I think if you asked the guys here and in general, ‘this behavior’ represents a depressing supermajority. It’s just not worth the time, expense, hassle and other things mentioned by ds (very well). I’d rather go hiking with my dog, running, studying, wine tasting or other activities with my friends that I enjoy and give me pleasure. I run across more & more men who feel the same way also.

  13. 73
    JoeK

    @ jennifer
    re: Deathslayer/”some women”

    Thanks for replying to DS – about 1/4 way through his first post I tuned out and just ignored the rest of them – assuming another troll just looking to vent their frustrations. Because of your comment I went back and read a couple of them.

    He makes some good points that would be more useful and instructive IF…he were to say “many”, “some” or even “most” women, rather than the blanket “women”, which infers all women.

    DS – I hear what you’re saying, but the tone of your posts makes them less likely to be “heard”. That and the sheer volume of points to be made provides much opportunity for digression and misrepresentation. May I suggest the approach Karl R takes – he focuses on a single point from a topic/comment, then clarifies the logical flaws or inaccuracies in it, while presenting a different perspective based on observation, facts and what’s most likely. Perhaps focusing on the most significant error(s) in a comment will reduce this digression. He also notes that he avoids using absolutes and attempts to provide leeway for the outliers in any group, using words like “often”, “frequently”, “many”, “most”, etc.

    However harshly it’s being said, (sadly) many men do recognize what DS is saying – this is a very real, very valid frustration among men (whether it’s an accurate perspective of many/most women is of secondary importance – most men have first hand experience, so to them it’s a very real and accurate perspective). This perhaps helps explain some of what men express here, and some of the dating experiences that are heard about here.

    As DS points out – the SMART man knows himself, recognizes the risks in dating, and makes a choice to either play along and look for a truly good woman to keep, or chooses to play along for *only* his own benefit. Both are valid approaches for those men, and it seems (I have no data off hand to support this) that many younger men (<30) are choosing to "opt out" of "playing along". They're certainly choosing to postpone marriage.

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