14 February 2009

Another "Him" to Get Over

It's funny how we can be slaves to our expectations without even realizing it.  We set goals, have visions for our futures.  We are told this is a good thing.  We are told we should not compromise. Visualize what you want and it will manifest like magic!  Of course, they don't mention how long that magic might take.  We end up creating these limitations -- because that's what they can end up being -- under the guise of holding out for what we "deserve".

I'm all about going for the gold, setting high goals and working hard to achieve them.  I have high standards myself.  Compromise is still something I'm learning to appreciate...and "appreciate" is probably too strong of a word, but you know what I mean.  

While we are told this kind of uncompromising attitude is telling of a high self-regard and can lead to great success, it can totally bite us in the backside when it comes to love and relationships.  

Think about it.  

A few girlfriends and I have been talking about our relationships -- past, present and, perhaps, future.  We have gone down the list of the men we have loved and the ones we have pushed away.  And more than a few of us noted that the men who came in the most perfect packages were the ones who ended up being the most disappointing.

I looked to my own love life -- which I probably do much less than you might imagine -- and the men who came most beautifully wrapped (handsome, intelligent, great career, endless potential and good body to boot), ended up being quite controlling.  These "men", who could plan a perfect evening, call when they said they would and were endlessly chivalrous, could also turn cold and moody.  Looking back, I realized how many of the same unappealing traits they ended up sharing and found how truly not "perfect for me" they were.

Then there are the ones who were "flawed".  Not classically good-looking.  Still trying to start up the career.  Lots of potential, though not fully utilizing it.  Intelligent (because that is my biggest turn on).  Could probably stand to lose a few pounds.  I tended to stay away from anything serious with these "guys" because they weren't what I wanted, or worse, what I thought I "deserved".

I have often likened men to real estate, joking that when I was in my twenties, I thought it would be really romantic to get a "fixer-upper", turn "not much" into "really something" and make it truly "mine".  In my thirties, however, I only want something "move-in ready".  Then, a happily married friend of mine burst my bubble by sharing a little secret with me:  "There's no such thing as 'move-in ready'."

The idea I had for a perfect man was not simply superficial or material.  I mean, I wouldn't kick George Clooney out of bed for eating crackers, but I wasn't necessarily looking for a rich, handsome, chiseled-from-stone man (though, I can't say I'd kick him out of bed, either).  The ideal I had spoke more of my fears than my desires.  I wanted someone with a lot of security (a steady income and solid career), because my career is so not secure.  I like a man who eats well and works out because it shows me he takes care of himself -- and, thus, can take care of me.  I want to be taken care of, not because I want to be sitting on a sofa eating truffles and watching 'Oprah', but because I want to feel safe.  It sounds like a smart plan at first, but if this "ideal" is used to stringently, you can lose sight of a guy who could be perfect for you.

So, I suppose the one guy we really need to get over is our vision of the perfect "him".  "He" can stand in our way more than any other man.  I'm not saying lower your standards.  I'm suggesting that we should keep our eyes, our minds and our hearts open.  Love isn't perfect.  That we know.  So, looking for that perfect man may very well be futile.  Ask a friend who has found her perfect match and you may be surprised to hear her say, "I never thought I would fall in love with a man like him.  But, I'm so glad I did."

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends.  xo

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