A fellow blogger, SeekingGod2, wrote a post the other day asking about requirements in a future mate. I’m not going to regurgitate his entire post, or what his requirements are; you can go on over and read it if you want. I thought it was a really good question though. How many of us had requirements the first time? Did you stick with them, or did you let some of those requirements slide because you were madly in love? Do you think that not keeping to those requirements resulted in divorce/adultery/whatever situation you are in now? Do you have requirements the second time around?
SG2 admits he let some of those standards go, and now he’s wondering if the second time around he should take a hardline approach to those standards. That poor guy is probably ruing the day that he told me to speak up and not be shy. “I want to hear what you have to say!” Oh boy! I have told him most of this, but since I was commenting I didn’t want to turn his comments section into my own blog post. Here is what I think…
I think a lot of people have lists of what they want in an ideal mate. I think a lot of times those ideals are unrealistic and don’t really tell you jack about the person you’re with. I’ve heard of people whose list of requirements included must be tall, must be circumcised, must be smaller than her, must not be an addict in anyway even in recovery, must not have kids, must be uncircumcised, must have a college degree, must own their own home, must drink, must not be too hairy, must have a job and be self-sufficient. To be clear this is a sampling of at least 5 different lists. I also think that many times we meet someone, have this “instant chemistry” and then all common sense goes out the window. I know I always said I wanted someone with washboard abs, the face of an angel, a Harvard law degree, and who wanted 2 children, a dog, and summer home, but this guy is so dreamy and we have such chemistry. Who cares if he’s on Baby Mama #3 and doesn’t support any of his kids, or that he hasn’t had a job in three years and couch surfs because his parents finally kicked him out of their house after he moved back in once Baby Mama #2 kicked him out for cheating? We have chemistry and we’re in love!
I think it’s fine to have standards and to stick with them. I think it’s wise to not get caught up in the chemistry because those initial highs are going to wear off and then what are you left with? However, I also think you need to take a hard look at those standards. Do they tell you anything about your prospective mate?
If I look back on my meeting with CF and everything I know about him I would say that he had a very impressive resume´ for lack of better word. He was smart- class president, class valedictorian, probably president of the National Honor Society. He told me he took physics in college to keep his GPA up. He was athletic- captain of the football team, captain of the baseball team, wrestler. There were numerous write ups in the local paper about him, especially his prowess on the football field. He had been drafted by a professional baseball team. He was offered a full ride pre-med scholarship at a very good school. He went to a prestigious college. He was a military veteran. He had a good job with a lot of potential. He’s also a liar and a cheater.
His sister, Jezebel, is very physically attractive. We could argue about her intelligence. Some say she’s dumber than a stump and CF always liked to tell the story of how she was so excited to get a 6 on the ACT because it was higher than her best friend’s score of 4. I think she’s not nearly as dumb as she would like people to believe. She’s also a talented singer. Regardless of how pretty she is, how talented she is, or how intelligent she is or is not, she’s a liar and a cheater, too.
And Harley? Well, I don’t consider her to be stunningly beautiful; she does have a Masters degree though so she must not be too stupid. Bonus points- she makes good money! But again, she’s a liar and a cheater.
So this begs the question… did your marriage implode, or did you experience infidelity, because you didn’t stick to your standards? Or, perhaps it was because the person you believed in didn’t have very good character. I tend to believe an intelligent person can blow up a marriage just as easily as a stupid person. The intelligent person might even be able to lie, cheat, gaslight, and blame shift better and longer, thereby doing more damage in the long run. I think an ugly person can cheat just as easily as a pretty person. No, really! Affairs are about how the other person makes you feel. Not everyone who cheats is attractive. And not all of the APs are anything to look at either! I think a person with a good job and/or their own home can destroy your trust just as easily as a person who makes minimum wage and rents. In fact, I would argue that we’re more likely to trust the person with the good job. It’s easier to overlook some of those things that make us say, “Hmmm….” I was taken in by show towels, for crying out loud!
I don’t really believe dating is in my future but if I did dive back in I think I would focus more on character than anything else. Did this person cheat on his spouse? That’s an immediate deal breaker. Nope. Nada. No way. Don’t care what the excuse is. You cheated; you’re out! If he’s divorced how does he speak about his ex? Is this person a good dad? Has he abandoned his kids? That’s another automatic out. I’m not going to be with a guy who has walked away from his own kids and yet wants to portray himself as Father of the Year to mine. How does he treat people? Does he talk down to servers and sales people, or his subordinates? Is he kind? Does he have integrity? Is he honest? Does he like animals? Does he want to spend time with me, or will I be off doing everything on my own again? Will he go to festivals and movies and funerals and class reunions and weddings with me? Do we have things in common? If we have a lot of different interests would I be willing to learn about his interests and vice versa? Just because I haven’t done something doesn’t mean I’m not open to eventually doing it. How does he handle stress? Does he fly off the handle, curl up into a ball, or face the problems head on? Is he a drama queen? Does he fly into a rage when things aren’t going well? How well do we communicate? Does he avoid things or will he handle things head on? Do we have similar views on money and spending? Naturally, since I have 2 kids it would be important that he liked my kids and treated them well. I wouldn’t expect him to come in and play Daddy 2.0 but he can’t mistreat them, be jealous of them, or get irritated with the demands they place on my time. I will never be one of those people who puts a romantic partner before my kids, especially when they are still minors. What do we each want out of this relationship- casual dating, exclusivity, living together, eventual marriage? What kind of relationship does he have with his family? With his friends? What are his religious views and how do they compare to mine? Is he a homebody or a social butterfly? More specifically, is he going to refuse to interact with anyone outside of his very small circle?
Many times people think they know a person because they know all of these things about a person. Joe is 6’3 with brown hair and blue eyes. He’s a 5th degree black belt in karate, loves to go camping, and hates golf. His favorite color is red. His middle name is David. He’s got 3 sisters, a brother, and a Pug named Piglet. He works in sales and makes good money. His favorite holiday is Halloween and he loves the winter because he likes skiing and riding on his snow mobile. He graduated from UNLV but hates Vegas, and would love to one day move to New Mexico. Wow! That’s an impressive list about Joe, but it doesn’t tell us anything of substance.
I’m not saying people shouldn’t have standards or a list of requirements. By all means, have them! But figure out what’s really important to you.
I can’t believe I’m about to write this but in some ways we’re luckier the second time around. We can take our time and choose wisely. There is no pressure to settle down, get married, have kids, buy a house, act like a grown up. We’ve done all that. At least for me I have no pressure to get married. I have no desire to remarry, in fact. I don’t have a biological clock ticking because, let’s face it, I’m of “advanced maternal age” and it’s just not going to happen. More importantly, I already have two children. They’re fabulous! I don’t even feel compelled to couple up because almost all of my friends are. Seriously, how is it possible that the divorce rate is supposedly 50% but almost everyone I know is either married or has a significant other??? Just tossing that mystery out there. I don’t feel compelled to couple up. I am perfectly content to do things on my own. Truth be told I’m in no rush to do someone else’s laundry, pick up after them, make their appointments, or cook their dinner for them, especially when I don’t feel like cooking.
If I were to do it again, to date again, and find someone that I liked enough to date seriously (but not marry!) what would my own list look like now? Stay tuned and I’ll let you know tomorrow.