When I first got out there as a single woman after a divorce, I was particular with my online filters. I decided he would be a tall, alpha Indian C-suite executive around my age. Back in the ice ages when I was dating, Match.com had a feature that allowed you to restrict your matches based on income. I used this filter often to only look at men making six figures. And I did this for a while.
It did not go well. There were a ton of starts and stops. I met guys that were great on paper. But when we met, they all had habits that didn’t gel with what I wanted in a mate. One executive mentioned that he got irate when someone was more than 15 minutes late meeting him and hadn’t messaged to let him know. Another guy seemed to alternate between working a ton and drinking a lot to the extent that he mentioned having a breathalyzer in his car. A different guy mentioned that if he were to meet me in my hometown, I would need to pay for his room or promise we would sleep together. Another guy had a downlow drug problem that I found out about after we broke up. I could go on and on and on with stories for days, but these few stand out the most.
I realized that what I was doing was not working. So I decided to change it up a bit.
This brings me to my first point:
If you are single and dating people with the same issues repeatedly, please consider this your wake up call.
You will need to try something different for the men you are meeting.
You can do this by analyzing patterns.
- When you look at past relationships, what were some of the good and bad points? What were some commonalities in your more difficult relationships? Some examples might be that you met the guy through x, had y in common with these guys, or they all showed a negative pattern of doing z. Focus on internal and behavioral qualities rather than external ones such as a certain height or weight or anything else outside of a behavioral pattern.
Get specific and go through everything with a fine-toothed comb.
What about the good points? Follow the same process for the better relationships.
Now you have your positives and negatives to start with for future relationships.
In my case, I realized that it was vital to me to find a man that was flexible and open to feedback. But also generous and fun-loving. I wasn’t having fun on any of my dates with the wealthy and driven men I met. None of them came across as flexible or generous in spirit.
So I next tried meeting men outside of my culture and in different salary ranges.
I was now meeting men that I had more in common with, which exemplified the qualities that I desired in a mate. I also realized that my guy had to be of Indian origin, but that I was much happier around men around the same level, job-wise.
- The next step is to analyze the positives and negatives from previous relationships. For both types of behaviors, evaluate how many of each are also true of you.
Do you possess a similar number of qualities on both lists? It is essential that you also exhibit the qualities you are looking for in a partner. Again, these should mostly be internal qualities, rather than external.
Use this information to guide you as you continue to seek out and respond to potential dates online.
In my case, I figured out what changes I needed to present about myself that as I wanted these guys to see in me. And I found quite a few “issues” that needed to be changed. For instance, I was grumpy on weekend dates when I was tired after work. I was also not cognizant of times when I was dominating conversations.
Let me recap: It took some hard lessons, time, and searching for me to admit what qualities were essential to me. Honestly, the work paid off, as I found the man who I ultimately married. My husband met the qualities that were, and still are, important to me at the core. And we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary a few months ago! My husband challenged every notion that I had about what I wanted in a man. And, although only three years have passed, I already know that we will grow together and learn from one another to ensure our relationship thrives over the years.
My recommendation to you is to spend some time looking inward. Find some changes that you can start making.
To sum this up:
- List out the positives and negatives in past relationships. List the qualities that you desire in a mate based on what has and will work best with your personality and lifestyle.
- Evaluate whether or not you possess the qualities that you desire in a mate. List out some small steps you can take to get closer to the ones you are missing.
This post was previously published on Medium.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Victoria Heath on Unsplash