What do you really want in a man?
If you are planning to date — or already dating again – after a break-up, divorce, or change in life, you probably have a list of what you want in a relationship. And if you are like the rest of us, that list is usually at least partially developed from thinking about what went wrong in your last relationship.
I’ll use myself as an example. In my marriage of 24 years, which ended in divorce once my daughter went to college, I had fallen out of love. It was a gradual process which accelerated over time.
I’ve reflected on what caused the emotional disconnection. It came down to three things:
- Values – what was important to me wasn’t important to him, and the reverse.
- Ways of child-rearing – although I admired his commitment to family, the way we related to our daughter varied greatly.
- A lack of connection – the emotional bond wasn’t strong enough to sustain.
Until I left Texas where I had lived during my marriage and started dating in New York, I hadn’t given any thought to what I might be looking for in a new relationship. In fact, I didn’t even think I wanted any relationship.
What I wanted then was space and time. Now, six years later, I know a lot more about what I want in a man.
How have I come to this realization?
By dating a LOT. By meeting people from all walks of life. And by learning important lessons from my past.
Three tips for deciding what you are looking for in a relationship:
- Begin with what you DON’T want. Oh, sure, we all know we want someone we can trust and who will be there for us. But what are your dealbreakers? They might include things like geographic location, religious beliefs, family obligations, financial responsibilities, or behaviors you won’t accept.
- Think about qualities you admire. Each of us has our favorites. For me, I want to be with a person who is kind, is chivalrous and mannerly, has a generous spirit, is funny or at least has a sense of humor, and who is enjoyable to be with. It doesn’t hurt for him to be easy on the eyes, have a sense of style, and a confident personality.
- Decide what compatibility with you means. We must start with ourselves to determine what kind of person fits with us. Here are five core traits of mine that will require a complementary trait in a person I date:
- Perfectionism – I need a person who has the same desire to get it right.
- Adventurer – I want a man who wants to have fun!
- Creativity – I require a person who can find unique and perhaps even unusual ways to solve problems and get through life.
- Conversationalist – I must be with a man who enjoys talking about a wide range of topics.
- High energy planner – I want someone who relishes a busy schedule and enjoys having plans.
Do opposites attract?
We have always heard the phrase: “Opposites attract”. But what does that really mean? Is it true that we are drawn towards those who are different from us?
Taking physical attraction and chemistry out of the picture for a moment, what would cause us to be interested in someone who is unlike ourselves? There could be at least three reasons, especially when we are younger and less experienced with relationships.
- Experimentation with mystery or even danger. The “Heathcliff” archetype from Jane Austen’s Wuthering Heights may appeal as a character type never encountered before.
- An attitude of rebellion against what is expected of us. Relationships can sometimes be a protest of a predetermined script about “who we are supposed to be with”.
- A “devil may care attitude” about the future. If we don’t see the relationship as becoming permanent, we may not care if a person we date is vastly different from us.
Science tells us that there is an overlapping sweet spot where opposites may enjoy each other’s company. However, it only works if what overlaps is our needs, not just our wants. In other words, our interests don’t need to match. But our foundational needs do.
You can have opposite or dissimilar interests, but you also must find a way to create a strong enough mutual bond to stay connected. How do you develop that bond? Through shared values, expectations, and a commitment to constant communication.
Please share with me the expectations you have for your person and your relationship at Kate@KateSomerset.com.
Kate Somerset is a pen name for the author of “Mom…You Just Need to Get Laid: The Adventures of Dating After Divorce”. A relationship expert and coach, Kate was a well-established figure in Texas before her move to New York City three years ago. After her 24-year marriage ended, she picked up stakes and took a chance on a second chapter in Manhattan.
Embracing living in New York, Kate sees every opportunity as an adventure. She revels in the sights and sounds, life in a high-rise building, and the fun and madness of dating again after so many years. Although Kate misses her family, friends, and eating Texas salsa, New York has opened many new doors for growing, learning, laughter, and love.
Learn more about Kate at www.KateSomerset.com. Her print and eBooks are available on Amazon. And she welcomes hearing from readers!