Where do I even start with this one?
For the past eight years there were only a few things I looked for in a potential boyfriend. He needed to be:
I am saying this because now I realize how embarrassingly superficial and vain this was. Sure, I dated some attractive, tall, fun men… but they didn’t give me love or [the right kind of] attention.
Now, at the ripe age of 26, my qualifications have changed drastically. This is partially because I am finally realizing I don’t want to date without a purpose and, also hugely due to this book:
“Settle?! How dare you! I’m better than that!”
“Mr. Good Enough?! No way sista, I deserve Mr. Dreamboat!”
Trust me, I shouted the same things when I saw this title; I thought they were going to kick me out of the bookstore. But the nerve of the title prompted me into reading the intro, then the first chapter, then the entire book within one week.
In a nutshell, this book is saying that you, yes YOU, could end up a single spinster. Not that this is everyone’s worst nightmare, but many of us do want to get married to our “Prince Charming.” Now, therein lies the problem.
I know I’ve had this Fairytale Complex my whole life. No man I dated was ever good enough. If there was one thing wrong with him I kicked him to the curb (never mind the fact that I come with a boat load of issues that I never took into account, he had to be perfect). From a young age women are told they “deserve the best” and that a man has to “earn his right to be with you.” Therefore I thought I was God’s gift to men and that they had to basically walk on water to win my hand. Needless to say, they all failed. I’ve also been single for about three years, with a spattering of non-noteworthy romances thrown in.
My epiphany came to me when I read in Gottlieb’s book that a woman will have to accept her man’s flaws just as he will have to accept hers. The simplicity of this struck me. I have problems too. He has to compromise to be with me.
Her idea of settling isn’t: find a decent guy who kinda’ likes you and then let him slap a ring on your finger. She is saying that no man is going to live up to everything you’re looking for, but if he meets all your needs–and you have fun with him and there’s a mutual love– then stop always looking over your shoulder for something better. She perfectly displayed this with a shopping analogy, loosely paraphrased here:
Two girls are going shopping for a sweater. They both know exactly what they’re looking for: cashmere, under $40 and green. Girl #1 goes into the first store she sees and finds a sweater that meets all three criteria (“perfect!” she thinks) and happily buys it without the need to go anywhere else. Girl #2 goes into the first store and also finds exactly what she needs, but is curious if maybe there is a better deal or a better green at a different store. So she hides that sweater on the back of the rack and proceeds into 3 or 4 or 15 more stores, unable to find anything better than the first sweater she saw. She goes back into the first store only to find there are none left!
This can be easily translated into dating life. I, for so long, had what I wanted right in front of me, yet was always looking around to see if I could find someone better. So when I did “man swap” for what I thought was an upgrade, I found that even when I was with the new guy I was still looking to make a switch. I always only had one foot in. This state of mind will leave a person constantly wanting more instead of being content with what they have. There’s nothing wrong with the person I’m dating, there’s something wrong with me (It’s not you, it’s me?).
This leads me to the point of this blog. For the past six months, I’ve had what I wanted in front of me all along and I’m just now realizing it. He has told me he liked me, I said “lets just be friends.” He’s still shown his affection by fixing my car or praising my achievements. He’s cute and kind and respectful. I know you’re asking yourself: “Well then darn it lady, why didn’t you go for him!?”
Because he wasn’t this Prince Charming picture I had subconsciously created in my head for years. Perhaps he doesn’t meet all my “wants” but he sure meets a lot of them. The important thing is that he definitely meets all my “needs.”
So how do I tell the man who’s laid his heart on the line twice for me that now, after all this time, I think I finally feel the same?
Also, can I let go of my past? (See: Crush[ed])
More importantly, do I know how to be happy and content with a wonderful man without looking for something “better”?