Top 10 Things We Learned
About Dating in 2009
He seems perfect on the surface. So how come things end up so far from ideal?
I love the idea of you. That is a six-word memoir from the upcoming book Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak edited by Smith Magazine. We’ve certainly learned that, when guided by our girlish romantic optimism, it’s easy to love the idea of a guy and not see the actual guy. There is a seamless moment between the words, “Do you want to go on a date” and the dream of happily-ever-after. It can’t be helped. It just happens. Things that seem perfect on the surface often don't end up being anything close to ideal.
1. Don’t Date a Man Who Does All the Right Things
He called when he said he would. He sent flowers and ice cream. He planned romantic dinners. But he made me feel like number two.
It’s common to focus on the things a person says and does but the one question that we rarely ask ourselves is, How does this guy make me feel? When a man does all the right things but you still don’t feel safe and loved it can be very confusing. The best way to clear the confusion is to consider the way someone makes you feel as a criterion above anything else.
2. Don’t Date a Man Who is Trying to Better Himself
He goes to individual AND group therapy. He’s dealing with his unresolved issues. He journals every day and never misses a moment to meditate.
If he’s going to more therapy than you are it’s a problem. Self-help and self-betterment are great qualities in a mate but we’ve learned that the quantity can be problematic. Maybe all his self-care is just a socially acceptable excuse for being self-absorbed.
3. Don’t Date a Man With Too Many Cell Phone Minutes
He calls me all the time. He wants to linger on the phone for hours.
The phone is a great way to reach out and touch someone but we’ve found that the phone can give a false sense of intimacy. Have a conversation or two to determine if you want to meet but then cut to the chase and have a coffee. Really now, you have to see someone to know if you want to reach out and touch them.
4. Don’t Date a Man With a Job
He’s very excited about his company’s profit sharing. He has new business cards and a great looking suit.
Obviously, being responsible, employed, and self-supporting is a good thing. However, you need to know what kind of work you want the person you’re with to do because you’ll spend hours listening to all the details and details and details. This requires knowing if you’d prefer to be with a freelancer or someone who works 9-5. Just wanting someone with a job is not specific enough.
5. Don’t Date a Man Who Plays Great With Your Kids
He was a highly competitive dodge ball player. He’d play ping-pong for hours. He had the cutest Wii avatar.
Of course, we all dream of a man who is going to be good to our children. One who will want to kick around a soccer ball with them. Take them to see obscure Avant Garde Operas (okay, that’s only a small few of us, we won’t name names). And come to love them the way we do. But what we don’t want is another child. Don’t pick a man who is only capable of playing and not parenting.
6. Don’t Date a Man Who Wants to Share the Wealth
He paid for dinner. He bought me a gift. Then he asked to borrow $20,000 dollars to pay off his debt.
It’s important to share ideals about money. If you’re an old-fashioned girl, you’re not going to be happy dating a guy who wants to go dutch. On the flipside, if you’re just fine paying your own way, you don’t want to get stuck paying his way too. Know where you stand on money issues and be forthright about it. They say that marriages end on account of either sex, money, or in-laws. Get on the same page about finances and you’ll be one-third closer to success.
7. Don’t Date a Man Who Looks Great
He bought the best clothes. He always had product for his hair, eye cream for his wrinkles, and a personal trainer for his abs.
In a world in which metrosexual men are applauded for caring about their appearance it’s easy to mistake a narcissist for a modern man. You do want a man who is well-kempt, well-dressed, and attractive but you don’t want someone who spends so much time manscaping that he dotes more on his reflection than on you.
8. Don’t Date the Life of the Party
He’s got a bottle of every kind of single malt out there. He’s always on the ready with a joke.
There’s a fine line between fun and addicted. Another fine line between charismatic and overbearing. We’ve found that someone who drinks too much, talks too loudly, or wants to party all the time is not necessarily the best person to drink, talk, or party with.
9. Don’t Date a Man Who is Spontaneous
At the last minute he’s got a great idea about a show, a concert, or a hot new restaurant that you just have to go to.
Spontaneity is great but the operative word in that quote above is “at the last minute.” Date a guy that values your time and shows it by making plans with you in advance.
10. Don’t Date a Man Who Has a Way With Words
He sends me links to great sites. He writes me long emails. We have the best text.
In today’s world there are so many avenues for communication that you have to have a way with words. But words don’t take the place of actions. Even the loveliest poetry is not a substitute for connection. Limit the amount of letters you use and meet in person instead.
Every cloud can have a silver lining. But, on the flipside, silver linings easily tarnish. Some of the things that seem so alluring at first glance can be the hardest to deal with. That’s why it’s so important to take things slowly, keep your eyes wide open, and live in the land of reality instead of fantasy.