Do I make the cut?

In the world of dating and dating advice, more often then not, you will find countless lists of what a woman wants in a man. Certain requirements that she desires in a perfect mate. I myself have made many of these lists. I actually wrote one that had 100 (you read that correct) 100 things I was looking for in my “Dream Man.” I also wrote that list my freshmen year of college. Over the years, the list has changed and thankfully, got shorter. It focuses on characteristics that I want in a partner with whom I want to build a future with. But it recently occurred to me, that maybe men have a similar list. And if so, would I make it on my partner’s list?

One of the first things to consider when making a list in hopes to find said qualities in a partner, is to ask yourself if those are qualities that you possess. In other words, if you want him to be someone who is close with their family, are you in fact, close with your family? And if you had to do a deep dive into your own soul, what are the ten things that you bring to a relationship? Or better yet, what are the ten things you need to do better in a relationship?

Another point to consider is why a particular item on your list is important? Is a man who is financially stable important to you, because you need to be better with handling money? And if that is the case, wouldn’t that be a point that your partner would address on his own list? “I like a woman who has poor credit and a minor addiction to shoes.” Ok, maybe not as dramatic, but you get the picture. If an item on your list is an important quality you are looking for, is it something that you can match or are an equal to?

At the end of the day, we want to look at our lists and think that we are asking for our truest desires. But take a moment and think about your own self with an honest and critical eye. Do you have all of the things that your partner dreams of? If not, maybe re-examine your list again. At the very least, narrow it down from 100 to maybe 30 things. There’s no way he can be kind, loving, between 6’0 and 6’4 and speak French. That’s just asking for too much.

Can you have friends of the opposite sex?

Let me just jump right into this. Yes, but with conditions. Steve Harvey recently made news with his comments on the topic of having friends of the opposite sex. His thoughts, which are very valid come from the idea that a man has a woman as a friend when he puts her in the category of knowing he will never sleep with her. Meaning, we ain’t gonna bump uglies, then we can be cool. But if I have the chance, I’m taking the opportunity. And for this, some men find it hard to have a woman who is genuinely a friend.

Women however see a different point. We can see a guy as an actual friend and it has nothing to do with attraction or sexual chemistry. Yes, we can put you in the Friend Zone and yes, we can go from doing the nasty to being buds. It’s a transition that comes easy for us because we see that friendship connection more important than sex. This can confuse your male partner and in many cases, make them feel threatened. I’m here to argue that it shouldn’t.

So I, like many women, who over the years, always had more guy friends than girlfriends. Now at the moment, I am closer to my girls, but I have a handful of guys that if I needed to call in an emergency, have my back. Some of those I have had zero physical or romantic connection to. Some, we have had a past of intimacy. But years have passed, I’m engaged, or they are happily married with kids, there is no bond more than an actual friendship. Here’s how I have always seen this dynamic. It’s one thing to have those friends to hang out with over drinks or bond at a sporting event, but what about the person you call when you have a death in the family or you’re going through something like a divorce? In moments like that, a genuine friendship is so important, and one that should be bigger than what may have happened years prior in or out of the bedroom.

This is where the “conditions” come in. I think in order to have a strong relationship to the opposite sex, while you are in fact in a relationship, it’s important to be honest with your partner about the history of the friendship. Do I think they need to know all of the dirty details? No. But should they know in all honesty that there was some sort of physical past? Yes. But why? If it ever comes out that this little fact was never mentioned, your partner will inevitably feel as if it was hidden on purpose, when you may not see it that way. This is the tricky part of having friends of the opposite sex. What do you divulge to your partner?

At the end of the day, you have a friendship that may have been years in existence before your time with your significant other. If it is a real solid friendship, like the one you can call on if your mom passes or your baby is born, then I think those healthy friendships are indeed safe and valuable. Remember, if it ever feels like you’re hiding information or details, or if you have to proceed with caution, that’s never good. Treat both your friendship and relationship with open respect, and both should be able to live in harmony.

Dear future relationship me…

First, take a moment and breathe. You have so much constantly on your heart and in your mind that you forget to find peace in the here and now.

Right…now that we got that hippy crap out of the way. Let’s get down to it. Your past is in the past. Every now and then, the memories of old loves, lost pain and regret will rear their head in your current relationship. But it is how you address them, which will make you and your partner stronger.

Because a previous relationship didn’t work, does not mean you are a failure. (Feel free to read that part over again…and often) What the past gives us is a wonderful gift. It’s called “perspective”. Learn from the mistakes, repeat the things that work and honor how far you have come. You are now in a better place.

Dear Me…listen to your partner. You can not preach how he does not listen to you, if you are failing at doing the one thing you shame him for. Listening means more than hearing what he says. It also means listening to what he doesn’t say. In the moments of deep silence and concern, listen to his needs. He may need that silence. He may need your support. He may also just need to fart. There is a lot to learn in the silence, and there is nothing wrong with listening to it.

Finally, Dear Me…be honest…with yourself. If you feel anxious, express it. If you demand more, require it. If you need space, ask for it. If you desire intimacy, nurture it. You are already leaps and bounds ahead from where you came from. You have the scars and love to prove it. But never forget that the work in a healthy relationship first starts with you. So be honest and true to your own needs and emotions. Never doubt them, silence them or ignore them.

And in the future, if you could be a little kinder to yourself, that would be great too.

Love,

Desiree