When I was of what my dad considered an appropriate age, he began talking to me about what to look for in men. He gave me a lot of advice: Look at his nails and hands, pay attention to his oral hygiene, make sure I don’t have to depend on him for anything. He also advised me that when I was ready to make a commitment to a man to make sure that I liked him. He warned me that “love” or the feeling of love at least can come and go, but liking the person would ensure that I’d be more likely to work on the relationship as people tend to be more kind to those they like.
Well, The Fizzle isn’t actually of dating age just yet. She’s only 10. However, she is of age where she is able to bear witness to relationships and she has already formed the foundations of what she’ll carry with her when she forges down that road. Of course there are more things I will tell her about romantic relationships based on what I’ve learned over the years.
- I’ll add a caveat to her grandfather’s advice of making sure to like the person. I’d say pay attention to what liking someone means. Don’t settle for someone you find likeable because there is a distinct difference between finding one likeable vs. liking said person. A likeable person is one who you like well enough but not entirely. You have a list of a few traits you like about them but you have an equally long list, or longer, of all the things you don’t really like. But instead of being honest about the things you don’t like, you sweep them under the rug and tell yourself you can live with them. Well he makes me laugh. I like how he dresses. He’s really good with kids. Or some other such trait. Instead, ask yourself: Do I truly like this man as a person? If the answer is no, then Simon Cowell him.
- Choose someone whose values are in agreement with yours. So many people look for surface agreements. We love the same movies. We have the same taste in music. We both love pizza. Sure those things are wonderful, but they aren’t necessary. What you want is someone whose view of the world is in alignment with your own. You want someone whose values are compatible with yours and that takes more than having the same tastes in food or music.
- Instead of focusing on how much you agree, pay more attention to how well you disagree. So many place a high emphasis on how many things they can agree upon. While agreeing is great, differences are inevitable. You’re not going to ever live in the world by yourself. Choose someone with whom you can agreeably disagree with and who can do the same with you. That will be a better measure of how well you can get along than agreeing upon things.
- Ask yourself, if this person never changes can I accept him? If this person never changes can I accept him? And you have to ask yourself these questions because when you sign up for a relationship, you sign up to be with the person as they are. That means you can’t sign up based on the potential of who you think he may become. There may be things you want to change about him, but you have to be able to accept him as he is because he’s not going to change for you. He’s going to be exactly who he is. However, at the same time, we are constantly evolving as human beings. So you have to be prepared for the change you either wanted or didn’t want. Sometimes we ask for things and we find ourselves ill-prepared for them once we receive them. You may find that you wanted your mate to become someone only to find you don’t like what he’s become once he actualizes that. Or he may actualize into someone else that you weren’t expecting and you may find you don’t like it. Either way, you have to make space for him to be who he is and to become who he will become.
- When considering attraction, don’t make a snap decision. So many people base attraction solely on the first impression of physical looks. That’s such a tiny part of attraction. Attraction wanes or increases the more time you spend with someone. You can meet someone who you deem to be a 10 based on his looks, only to find that he’s a 5 or less in every other area. On the other hand, a modest looking gentleman can easily become a 10 if he has other qualities you find attractive. Also, don’t listen to your friends or others about his attractiveness. You are the only one who has to find him attractive.
- Don’t go for the “good” guy. So many pass themselves off as good because they get good grades, make good money, or dress nicely. Good is an arbitrary term. You have to get specific about what good means to you. Women settle constantly for the good guy without getting specific about what that means. Does it mean kind, compassionate, intelligent, hard-working, assertive, etc. Do you want someone good with kids? Good with explaining things you don’t understand? Do you see where I’m going with this? Also, understand that whatever it is you want him to possess, it needs to be compatible with you. You both must complement one another.
- This should be an add-on to number 6. Please, please, please don’t go for the nice guy! Whatever you do, avoid getting with a man simply because he’s nice. So many people place a high emphasis on being nice. But don’t confuse nice for kind. Nice isn’t actually admirable. It isn’t authentic. Nice is what people do so that others think well of them. Nice guys are the ones who are insecure and do things to seek approval from others. The nice guy is the guy who does things he really doesn’t want to do and later resents you for it. Instead, seek out the kind guy. The kind guy is the one who is confident in who he is and gives of himself because it’s simply in his nature. He respects himself and others and expects to be respected in return. He doesn’t need you to make him feel better about himself. Yeah, go for that guy. But make sure you’re that kind woman first so that you’re not the nice girl he fell for.
- Be clear about your expectations. And your wants. Don’t hold back. At all! Don’t be afraid to be clear about what you want from your mate or the relationship. That way, the person can tell you yay or nay on whether or not they can deliver or if they’re willing to. And you are then free to decide how you’d like to proceed from there.
- Don’t take it personal when a person can’t or is unwilling to give you what you want. Sometimes people love and give the best they have but their best isn’t good enough for us. You absolutely get to say what’s good enough for you. But you don’t get to assess the true nature of the person’s heart for you. There’s a lot of advice that says when someone loves you they’ll do whatever it takes to be what you want/need. That sounds wonderful, but it’s so untrue. We meet people at different stages of their lives and sometimes no matter how much someone loves you, they just may not be ready or capable to give you what you want/need. Doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have though. It also doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.
- No matter what happens in the relationship, don’t ever be ashamed or guilty for being yourself, for caring about the person or for showing how much you cared. Oftentimes, when a relationship ends, or when someone doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, or when someone is unable/unwilling to give us what we need/want, there is an emphasis of blame. People tend to tell the hurt person it was their fault for choosing that person or that the hurt person should not have done all the wonderful things they did in the relationship. That’s a tit-for-tat mentality that is a relationship killer. Please know that you never ever have to feel any shame for loving someone with all you have and showing them that. You’re only responsible for you. What they do with your love is on them.
And of course, I’ll tell her to look at his nails and his teeth too cause her grandfather was on to something with that. But again, she’s only 10. I’m sure there’s going to be more to come. Now that I look at this list, I think I need to remind myself of these things. What will you tell your children, or friends, or yourself for that matter about love?