By Lindy Earl
You know what you want in a match. Maybe you made a list with your friends. Maybe you just have some ideas in your mind. Maybe you listed ideas in an online profile. It’s not uncommon to see a question posed about what traits and characteristics you desire in a mate, and immediately have answers pop into your head.
Responses might focus on the physical – light hair, dark eyes, tall, petite, muscular . . .
Or maybe more emotional characteristics – thoughtful, compassionate, kind . . . Or maybe even focus on accomplishments such as education or success. I have one friend who wants to marry into a ready-made family, spouse and kids combined.
There are some traits that aren’t wanted by anyone, such as lazy, controlling, obese, or addicted to anything.
So, just as you have a list, so does everyone else. While you are seeking athletic and funny, they are seeking pretty and thoughtful. As you want to find demographic and geographic similarities (I do not want a long-distance relationship), they may be searching for geographic and spiritual compatibility. At least you’re halfway there!
So the question I want to pose is, are you doing anything to become the person that others want to date? I’m not talking about major changes, like plastic surgery because you want a different body. That should come from diet and exercise anyway. I mean, if you’ve heard the same comments from people you’ve dated, have you looked at yourself and considered working on some of your characteristics?
I heard, many year ago, that high school friends were temporary but college friends were forever. I quickly learned that that depended on whether or not you went to college, and even then, it wasn’t always true.
I do know that when I went to college, I kind of assumed I would marry a college graduate. Being into sports, I assumed I would marry someone who enjoyed sports. I got one out of two. I’ve been told that I was wasted as wife being married to a guy who didn’t enjoy football. Oh well. What we thought as we were growing up, and what we’re finding today, may not be the same thing.
So, while you know what’s on your list, have you considered what’s on others’ lists? It’s easy to learn. You can search what people are seeking. I just did it and found multiple lists. I then refined my list to men over 50 and found even more lists. I’d like to say that I’m already offering everything on one list (attention, respect, freedom, trust, authenticity), but I’m unsure if men I’ve dated would agree. And even if I am offering these characteristics, I believe I also offer wariness and nobody has that on their list.
If you knew what others want, and now you have a short list, would you change yourself to fit on someone’s list? Part of me wants to say no. I am who I am, right? Take me as I am, right?
But, a year ago when a guy mentioned something negative about a conversation we had had, I found myself wanting to change – not for him, but for me. I realized that I was more than a little uptight. Uptight is not on anyone’s list of desirable characteristics. I also found myself expecting the negative traits that I had lived with with my ex-husband. It wasn’t intentional, but I finally acknowledged it when one guy asked me to not lay other men’s mistakes on him. He was right. It was a fair request.
So I’m trying to be the woman who is on guys’ lists. In fact, I’m changing a list that I have in my head about what I want from myself. For instance, I exercise for me, but isn’t it nice that this is often something that men desire? And I stay up on current events because I enjoy them, but it’s nice that some men like a woman who can carry on a conversation. I watch sports because I like sports, but it’s fun to carry on a lively discussion about whether Matt Ryan is worth his $30 million contract. I don’t think he is – convince me otherwise.
But now, I’m trying to improve myself to be a better person in other ways, ways that I learned through dating. Actually, through dating failures. I’m careful to not judge or even sound like I’m judging. I recently asked the first guy I dated after my divorce if I’ve changed. He assured me I have. I’m less of an alpha. I’m softer. I’m easier to be around.
I don’t think I’m changing the real me, but I do believe I’m taking off some rough edges that I really don’t want to have anyway. I think this makes me more attractive and might get me on the list of some men I’d like to date. It’s a good thing to be the person others are seeking, even as you maintain your own identity.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com or find her on Face Book.