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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dating Advice

I was talking to one of my younger nieces the other day about her problems with meeting decent men. She is in her mid-twenties and living in a large city in the Lower 48. Should be easy to at least connect with one or two nice young men.

As we talked, I could hear her frustration, but then I remembered something about her (and about myself when I was around the same age): the types of men she was looking to date had nothing to do with the type she might actually be happy with. Going from there, I gave her advice that came from my own personal experience. (Too damn bad I had to learn all this after going through hell.) Anyway, my niece thought that my advice was good enough to share with others. I felt so good about that, I'm going to give it a shot...

First, try thinking of what you like about a guy- any guy, not just the ones you'd want to date. I have always had close male friends in my life. These are guys that I wouldn't dream of dating. They are just great friends. For whatever reason, we are only attracted to each other as friends.

Think of the men you know and really like. What is it that you like about them? For me, it's personality or sense of humor or smarts. Those are just the things I happen to find attractive about men. However, when I was younger and dating, I always looked for other things. I was all into whether they guy was "nice-looking" (and sometimes not even by my own standards). I was looking for the guy that I thought would make me look good or better just because I was with him. I was an idiot then. I'm a little wiser now.

So, my advice is this:

1- Look for what you like in a man. Is it a sense of humor, the way he smiles, a sweet personality or maybe just the way he makes you feel special? When you are out and about - shopping, at the movies or gym, in church or wherever you generally expect to meet a man - don't limit yourself. Out of any number of guys you might meet, only so many of them are going to be some kind of Adonis, but more of them are likely to have other qualities you want. Understand this: there is a reason some guys are called "bad boys" and others are called "nice guys."

2- Look for a friend who can end up being more. (I myself only used to believe in love at first sight. I have actually experienced deep liking at first sight.) It makes no sense to try being with someone you can't have a whole relationship with. A guy might be loaded with money, droolingly gorgeous or have a reputation as a great lover, but what happens outside of all that? Try to find someone you can talk to, listen to and just vibe with. Wouldn't it be better to look for someone you can count on to be there for you no matter what? If you get the right guy with the right qualities, money and physical attractiveness won't be the best thing in your relationship. I don't care how great a lover a man is supposed to be, for most women good sex comes from how we are made to feel before we get near a bedroom.

3- Don't worry about what other people think of a man  you choose to be with. He might not be what they call handsome or desirable or whatever, but if he makes you happy, then be happy.

And, probably most important

4- Look for the man that respects you, truly likes and cares for you and wants to be happy with you. You don't want a guy - no matter what he looks like or how much money he has - to beat you down, break you down or take you down.

I hope this helps. Like I said, it took me a long time to learn this. I've had heartache like you wouldn't believe. I've had the man who wanted to break me down - and he did, for a while. I don't want any of my friends or family to go through that kind of hurt.

I want to end by sharing a sweet little story with you.

 When I was traveling back home from Texas a few years ago, I overheard a couple sitting near me in the DFW terminal having a minor argument. The argument seemed to be over something petty and finally, the wife wouldn't even discuss  it. She folded her arms and turned her back on the her husband. Poor guy, he sat there for a minute looking like he was praying to understand the female mind. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when, after a few quiet moments, I heard him pitifully tell his wife, "All I want is for you to be happy."

Wow. That's the way I want a man to feel about me because that the way I want to feel about a man.