I had some things on my mind this week pertaining to relationships and I felt like sharing them on my blog today. Be forewarned, it is a long blog! Sometimes I see my woman friends struggling so much in the area of love that I wish I could do something to help them. I used to struggle not understanding men in the slightest. So today I thought I would make a list of some of the best pieces of information that I have learned to help single women or men for that matter.
A number of years ago I went all in getting relationship coaching because I realized that although I was learning a lot of “what not to do” in the church realm I didn’t learn much practical advice on men in general. And sometimes I think things get over spiritualized to the point where you feel like your own femininity is stripped. I started in 2009 and I was determined to transform myself and I think I have successfully done so. So here is some of the best advice I have learned.
1. High value men are emotionally available. Growing up I was really close to my dad but he was not that close to me, and I thought this was normal. He had a tough childhood and for that reason really hasn’t been present in that way in my life. He is a super great support when I want to achieve things, but at a young age drew the conclusion that men were emotionally not present. This led to really poor relationship decisions until I understood what is healthy. Always look for the man who invests in your life on an emotional level and that you connect with emotionally. Make sure he is present, he hears you and remembers what you have said.
2. High value men support you in your dreams and are not threatened by them. Too many times in my life I had taken the back seat when a man would come into my life because they were threatened by what I could do, what I knew or just the pure fact I am a go getter. But what I realized is that a high value man already has a life that he is proud of, he has his own achievements and he will not try to compete with me because he doesn’t need to. He is valuable, amazing and a rock star and he knows it and there is not a chance in the world that something I accomplish will threaten him. Now this said, it is extremely important as a woman to support the man in your life, believe in him and appreciate what he does. But if you are doing this, there is no reason you cannot have success in your own life. In fact, a true man would support you in any way he can to see you succeed and actually try to help you even if it was to give you a pep talk.
3. Men love by providing, protecting, and professing their love. I used to not understand the differences in how men and women love. As women we tend to be more nurturing and we connect through communication in a big way. I think if I had known this when I was younger, it would have kept me from breaking a few hearts...just because I had no idea that if a man was doing something for me there was a reason. I literally just thought that was just being a nice person, because I am that way. I will bend over backwards for a stranger. But men are different and if a man does these things in any way shape or form than he loves you. That said it is also important to allow a man to do things for you. I used to be afraid that I would not be caring my weight and let a man do too much, but fact is he is not going to try if he thinks your not carrying your weight. A man will also protect you when he loves you and you can be sure he will make you feel safe. Finally, if a man really loves you he will tell you so. If any one of these things are not present in a relationship that has been going on for awhile, run for the hills.
4. Being nice means you are interested. To men if you are friendly it means you must be interested. Boy this took me years to figure out. I am probably the friendliest person on the planet. I remember when I lived in Italy in my 20s they told me “don’t smile as you walk down the street or the men think you like them”. What they should have told me is that is true for all men in the world. But it isn’t enough just to smile often times you have to break the ice and ask questions. I have gotten pretty good at that now. I also try not to be "as nice" all of the time so I don't send the wrong signal. The other thing is that I think when you are too nice it is easy to be afraid of how to set your standards. I am not afraid to do so anymore and when someone is inappropriate or makes me feel uncomfortable I let them know the kind of behavior I do not stand for...where in the past I wouldn't really know how to communicate that.
5. You are compatible with 1 out of 100 men. Truth be told it is probably less than that. But through some pure math I figured this to be a pretty close figure. I also realized that most women do not take the time to meet a lot of men, they just wait for whomever they happen to meet. I decided to change that and I started to meet on average 100 new men every 30 days. Some might get all spiritual on me here but even if you are spiritual I say you gotta give God something to work with. On average I have met three new men every day and like the math one out of about 100 I have been compatible with. I figured if I met 100 men every 30 days then by the end of 12 months that's about 12 men that I could have a good chance of making an amazing future with. Know what? Totally has worked and way better than just hoping that some day some man would walk into my life or worrying about the one guy who I thought was great.
6. Communicate your standards instead of keeping a silent checklist. I used to have a list of standards in my head and I would not communicate it at all. I would just silently watch a man’s conduct and if he didn’t meet my standards I was out of there. I figured if they don’t do it up front then I didn’t want them to be dishonest and do it just to win me over. But now I realize that there are men that will actually rise up to the standards you have if you give them a chance and they are actually authentic about it. If they weren’t authentic they would leave.
7. Identify if someone has walls within 5 minutes. You can tell if someone has walls up and is not ready for a relationship right away. If someone downplays what they want, if they aren’t honest about wanting something authentic and real, if they are not honest about being interested, if they talk about their guy friend to get your reaction, if they judge you off the bat and assume you would not be loyal...these are all things that scream walls. This happens when someone has been hurt, they put their guard up to protect themselves but they have built an iron castle around their heart. There is no way to break into that castle and they need to heal. So listen for men who are authentic and are willing to say things like, “If I met the right woman I would love to get married one day,” that sort of comment is authenticity and healthy vulnerability. Likewise as a woman always be honest with what you want in a relationship. It is perfectly fine to share what you would like to happen with the right man, that does not mean the man in front of you is "the one" it just means you know what you want in life.
8. Never waste your time trying to get a man’s attention past your initial contact with him. Since I was younger I often would bake cookies, brownies etc and bring them to the guy I was interested in. Even if it was in a group setting, it was harmless and a great way to get to talk to him. Sometimes you have to get creative in meeting people and making it comfortable and not weird to talk to you. It is much easier to do this sort of thing in person, and quite awkward if you met someone online I think. But past that initial conversation I have learned over the years to then go on with my life. If a man is interested in me he will do something about it right away. Now, I don’t even wait 24 hours. If a man has my phone number and doesn’t call me right away, I toss him back into the sea. When you are a woman of worth, there is no point in wasting your time waiting for someone who doesn’t realize it or has his focus elsewhere. Especially when you are meeting 100 men every 30 days, who has the time? And I do nothing to try to connect with a man now if he doesn’t do so himself, where I used to think well maybe I need to give him another chance. Not anymore, you snooze ya loose. If you lost my number and a week went buy oh well, it was not meant to be.
9. A high value man brings joy to your life seven days a week but has respect for your time. When it comes to a healthy relationship you don’t want someone who is only going to give you one day a week, but you also want someone who doesn’t demand every second of your free time. There are two extremes, on the one hand where someone has to contact you nonstop, know where you are and eat every meal with you. You have no life outside of them and it is like you are attached at the hip. In fact, they insist all of your friends must be the same because “you are a couple”. This is not just smothering and controlling it is codependent and unhealthy. The other extreme is the guy you hear from only once a week or less. He has a plethora of excuses, from having kids to having a job. The fact is, no matter how busy you are there is always time to reach out for 5 minutes if someone is important to you. In fact, if a man really cares about you, even if he is away on business he is still going to find time to call you.
10. God is not going to bring you a spouse, you need to choose one. I think that a lot of people like to spiritualize things they are afraid of taking responsibility for. The fact is if you know your requirements for a spouse your not going to go meet someone and marry someone that doesn’t possess those qualities. So many people get married because they think its is God but then are miserable in their marriages, all the while thinking God did it. No, you made a bad decision and now it is time to learn from it. If we can over spiritualize this then we don’t have to change ourselves, we don’t need to meet people and we certainly don’t need to make an effort. But I believe that we get to choose and that we get to make wise decisions. This also means that if you meet someone and they don't meet your standards you can boldly leave that relationship without guilt of making the wrong decision because this is your "soul mate". I believe now, true love is built and it is not magically found in a chance meeting. True love is when you stand by someone through thick and thin and give them what no one else has.
11. Courting is for the birds. Years ago this guy came out with this book called, “I kissed dating goodbye”. It was all about how he stopped using women, playing games and just trying them out for size, asked to court the woman he met and got married to her. Everyone suddenly decided this is how relationships should be done. However, I personally found it just attracted men that wanted a good challenge but then when you were being “courted” it felt like some sort of contract for marriage. Much like an arranged marriage. It is in my opinion a process that robs a woman of being won over and a process that robs a man of the ability to understand and see your worth. I say this because typically you do “group things” until one day bam you have a conversation where you are told “you are everything I want in a wife” and you are now in this formal “courting relationship”. I personally will never enter another relationship where a man asks to “court me” or tells me after only knowing me in a “group setting” that “I am everything he wants in a wife”. Look if your intention is to meet someone to spend the rest of your life with, you should be able to discuss that up front and not have to label it. There is no need to state you are “courting”. And as a woman I expect to be pursued and won over not locked into something that I am not sure I even want to be locked in to. That takes time, investment and lots of "dates".
12. Going on a date doesn’t mean you are getting married. This one goes along with the last point. Too many times in my life when I have met well meaning men, who didn’t want to use anyone, just find the right woman to commit too have rushed things. I remember one really sweet guy I went out with, he took me to a movie and while I was trying to decided what candy I was going to get he was trying to decide if he wanted to marry me. I was literally the first woman he had ever went out with. The fact is that really freaks me out. I have literally had men propose to me on the first date or within a week more times than I can count. And it is not because they are not well meaning, it is because they have generally been religious and super afraid to do anything “ungodly” and therefore if you are dating you have to either court or get married. The other weird thing that arises is because dating is so frowned on and group things are supposed to be so wonderful, you got men trying to check you out in a group setting and making you feel like you are a bug under a microscope. It’s like shoot, if your curious why not just spend time with the person your interested in and ask them meaningful important questions rather than try to decode them from afar. Anyone even slightly thinking about marrying me and letting me know in the first week we spend time together gives me anxiety and would instantly make me run for the hills. All a woman needs to hear is that your intentions are to find the right woman to commit to and then discover together if you are the right match or not. I think slow relationships are the best kind.
13. Religious men stink. Now before you get all mad at me for saying that let me explain what I mean. Men who get all caught up in this group things only, courting nonsense just to try to be respectful because they are so afraid that they can’t be respectful to a woman by taking her out is pure nonsense. We all have standards and should strive to live up to those standards, but making getting to know someone so formal that it makes you feel like you are being sold into slavery is for the birds. I prefer the type of man who is self controlled, respects himself and the woman he is spending time with and knows that he can be respectful because he is a high quality man. If a man takes me out I feel honored and respected and I would do everything in my power to make him feel the same way. If a man actually takes me out to dinner and pays for it I feel extremely loved, honored, extremely appreciated and valued and hope that I could make him fell the same way through my conduct and effort. It had been years since that happened, why? Because I have been stuck in group dating hell (religious people don't get mad, that word is in the Bible)...much like being in a harem. No longer though...I broke out of that because I refuse to date religious men. Spiritual men yes, religious no. If a man wants a group to date he can count me out.
14. Finding a man who shares your principles is the best thing you can do. If you share the same principles as someone else chances are your relationship is going to last. When it comes down to making the hard decisions in life you will be in synch. When it comes to decisions in general and the rubber meeting the road you will be on the same page. Principles are those things we choose to live by that are unchanging. I used to think “Oh I just need to find someone that shares my faith” but what I realized is that so many people can label themselves but not share the same principles. Even if you say you are the same faith, your principles and values could be on extreme opposite ends. So defining what your principles are truly will tell you how someone lives their life and if you could share one with them.
15. Men are easy to please and they only need three things to be happy. I think that because men and women are so different, we love different and we have different needs it can be easy to want to please men the way women want to be pleased. However, what I have learned is that there are really just a few things you need to do to make any man happy.
- Support him. Show you respect him and believe in him. If you can’t respect him or believe in him you have chosen the wrong man. This should be effortless if you choose a high value man. Part of this is telling him when you believe in him and why you respect him. It also includes showing appreciation. This should be a daily thing, and if a man is doing something for you, providing for you in any way shape or form to let him know he is appreciated and you appreciate what he does. If he works hard, appreciate him for it. Let him know he is special, wanted, needed and appreciated. If he wears something you like tell him, praise him for what he does right.
- Second, is loyalty. No matter what you are by his side. That means if he loses his job tomorrow you are there. If he fails, you got his back. If another man comes by that is “all that” you remain loyal to your man. Provide real loyalty that is impeachable no matter what life brings.
- I don’t think I need to even say the last thing. We all know it. Sex. Men cannot survive without it, it shouldn’t be treated like a “chore” and you should make effort into your appearance and into giving into this aspect of the relationship. Now this doesn’t mean you don’t have standards when it comes to sex, especially if you are not married. But I will put it like this. I believe you are breaking your marriage vows if you do not freely give to your husband in this way and actively work to stay attractive. I mean why even get married if you don’t? You could just be friends. I think this is a taboo subject in a lot of circles to talk about...especially those I have been in. Most just want to tell single people to stay away from sex, but the truth of the matter is you don't create purity by making a good thing evil. Instead, a better way I believe is to just create good character. Because if those single people even wait to have sex until they are married they are going to need character to give in that way to their spouse.
- Every man depending on his age will have a different fourth need. If he is in his 20s usually he is focused on his career and won’t commit until he has that worked out. If he is in his 30s generally he will soon look to get married and have kids if that is something he wants and having kids is usually the only reason a man would get married. If he has kids and is in his upper 30s or 40s he likes his schedule, what he does every day and he just wants to find someone who can be part of it and share the same likes. So if he is into basketball at 3am be prepared to love it. Haha Of course there are always exceptions depending on the person, but this is generally true.
16. Being unhappy single means you will be unhappy in a relationship. So many people think that a relationship is a cure for being alone. But I have come to know very well that a fulfilling life built with my own two hands, happiness created with my own heart and joy discovered on my own has brought me into a place in my life where I walk around full with the ability to give; and not walk into a relationship looking for what I don’t have. I think that when you live life from a full place it is much easier to approach relationships from the perspective of looking for an opportunity to give to someone else and making their life better...rather than looking to fill an empty heart. As a single person I have always lived with a full heart and never felt I have lacked anything. I think that for that reason I have never settled for the wrong man. Be happy before you try to make someone else happy.
So this is my wisdom and what I have learned over the last number of years trying to understand men and trying to become the best woman in a man’s life I know how to be and trying to make the right decision pertaining to my own future. I wish I knew a lot of this when I was younger, but some of us have to do the work to understand. I have heard it said, “Be who you wish you had in your life” and I wish I had an older woman giving me this type of advice years ago. Especially because there has been religious nonsense I had to work through that I was taught that wasn't even in the Bible. I think a lot of people suffer from that honestly, wanting to do the right thing and being taught all these crazy rules that are man made. There is so much more I could add to this blog today. But let’s face it, we could probably write a book and there are many out there on this topic. But I also know that not everyone reads books....so hopefully you read blogs.
I know this one was long, but I felt it would be beneficial for some and for me it has been a nice review of all I have learned. I feel that I have graduated in my area of growth to understanding men and have graduated to working to try to understand only one. Who that one may be, I know that I get to choose. And there is great freedom in that.