Once again, it’s been eons since I posted anything. Admittedly, that’s partly just down to laziness…I just haven’t felt like writing anything in eons.
But, it’s also been that I worry that in writing my thoughts here – on what is basically a public diary – I’m sharing too much, prescribing what I want and need in a partner and a relationship too much. Re-reading some of my previous posts, it comes across as “I need this very exact thing in a man.” And that's not what I need today, it hasn't been for a long time. Today, I understand myself better and I know that, for the most part, it's much more a case of "I need this thing, somewhere within this really broad spectrum."
I do think, looking back, that in my very early writings, back when I first realised that I definitely need this dynamic in a relationship, I was quite specific in my own head, about what I thought I wanted. It was “I’m this and so I need you to be that.” That said, I don’t think I really appreciated how prescriptive I was being, at the time.
But time, maturity and experience mean that, for all of us, what applied yesterday doesn’t necessarily apply today (and, of course, what applies today may not necessarily apply tomorrow). And for me, time, maturity and experience mean that I now understand that what I actually need in a man, and in a relationship, today, is somewhere on a broad spectrum of the things that I value, the things I need – but it’s no longer just “I’m this, so I need you to be that.” It’s more “I lean this way and I need you to lean that way, but I’m not sure where, on the broad spectrum between my “this” and your “that,” we need to meet.”
In other words, it’s not that I need x rather than y. It’s that, in most areas, I need something closer to x than y.
This isn’t yet another post of “I need this list of things, values and attitudes in a man” post…I think I’m done with those, in all honesty. It’s more to say that I don’t have a long list of uber-specific criteria…and I haven’t, for a long time.
I do still have a small handful of must-haves/dealbreakers and that’s okay. I’m not “up for anything” because I’m just not easily amused enough for that! For me, everything in life is about quality over quantity. I’d rather never meet “him” – painful as that is to digest – than settle for a man I don’t love or who doesn’t love me, just to have someone.
But as much as I’m not “up for anything,” I’m also not set on “exactly this one thing.” There’s a broad happy medium in there between the two, somewhere, and I’m looking for something and someone who is somewhere along that spectrum…hoping that *I* am somewhere along the spectrum that fits with his needs.
So, as I said, I do still have a handful of things I know that I need, but not 100…and that, for me, is the important difference.
It’s okay to need this, this and this and to say that you won’t date someone who isn’t those things. But it’s not okay to need “this” times 100, to have mapped out the exact person you need, with a list of 100 must-haves…because:
1) You’ll never find that exact person…you can’t design your very own human ;)
2) Dictating that you need those 100 exact things in a mate puts a heck of a lot of pressure on anyone reading it. They’ll see that they’re only x number of those things and will walk away, feeling that they don’t stand a chance, so why bother (they’ll also likely think you a bit of a nutter ;) )
3) If you state that you need a perfect mate, anyone meeting you will expect – rightfully so – that you’re perfect too (and I am very, very far from perfect). So you’re setting yourself up for rejection when this perfect mate meets the not-so-perfect you.
4) You may miss out on an amazing connection, because someone you could have fallen deeply in love with didn’t have all 100 criteria you thought you needed and so was never on the radar.
For example, in my profile here, and on the two “naughtier” websites, I’ve recently changed the language to suggest that I need a man who is quite assertive…maybe even somewhat aggressive, but I kept the old language I already had, that I need him to be a gentleman, and a romantic.
That new language, the broader description of personality traits, is a cosmic shift in what I used to say and think I needed. Where I’m now saying that I need a man who is somewhat primal and somewhat gentle – a man somewhere between those two ends of a long spectrum - I used to say that I needed a gentleman, full-stop, a man who would never be rough or aggressive…I was saying that I needed a man who sat exactly at the exact end of a huge spectrum of personalities.
Not only is asking for something so incredibly specific asking for the impossible…it turns out that I don’t even want that extremely exact personality in a man ;)
So there was me, shooting myself in the foot over and over…and frustrating several lovely uber-gentlemen who were expecting to meet the quiet girl who is the perfect complement to the gentle dominant – and instead met strong-minded and gregarious me, who really actually wanted a man who’s a bit gentlemanly, yes, but also a bit of a primal aggressor.
I didn’t really appreciate, at the time, that in asking for this uberly gentlemanly sort, I was silently suggesting that I’m the meek and quiet sort of submissive woman – because the yin to the yang of the gentle dominant is the quiet girl.
And I’m extremely submissive, when I sense dominance in the man I’m with…sometimes his dominance does bring out the quiet girl inside me…but my submission is not often the quiet and meek sort. I’m not submissive in general, quite the contrary. I’m quite gregarious, cheery, silly, irreverent and sometimes, I’ll cringingly admit, annoyingly opinionated.
And within a relationship, within a romantic connection, some of the excitement for me, some of the appeal is the exact opposite of gentle. Sometimes I do give my submission freely and meekly and I love the feelings and the meanings for both of us that go with that. But sometimes, if the chemistry is there, I want him to take my submission. Sometimes, when I’m spouting off and being opinionated and I suddenly realise that not only is he coming right back at me, he’s winning…I feel myself start to swoon, lol. Because in that instance – I haven’t actively decided to give my submission…he’s taking it, because something in him is bringing something out in me. Chemistry is flying between us and we both know it, but it’s still something that he’s taking rather than something I’m giving. And that? Is really, really, REALLY well, um, *blush*…hot.
*Ahem*, carrying on...sometimes I’m the quiet girl who wants the sweet and gentlemanly romantic guy…but sometimes, I’m the feisty girl who wants the predatorily aggressive guy. And since I’m the monogamous sort, I need one man who is some as yet unknown combination of gentleman and aggressor…because I’m one woman, who is a combination of quiet and feisty.
In order for me to be who he needs and for him to be who I need…he'll be the sort of man who sometimes wants to be given a girl’s submission, but sometimes enjoys actively taking her submission.
He'll be somewhere along that very broad spectrum between gentle and aggressive. Not 100% gentle, not 100% aggressive. But somewhere between the two.
But the part I love is that I have no idea yet and no pre-conceived notions of where on the spectrum he “should” be.
Why do I love that?
Because it means I’m not pre-judging every man I meet, to see if he fits into that uber-specific and pre-defined slot I already designed.
Because it means that I get to experience the thrill and excitement of feeling a chemistry building between us, when we meet, as I digest what his dominance is doing to my submission and vice versa.
Because it probably means that I’m not about to meet a man who expects me to fit into his uber-specific and pre-defined slot that he already designed.
And the thing is, I feel this way about most things, in terms of relationships. I know I need “sort of” this…but I won’t know what the magic, exact, “this” is until it lands right in front of me. I won’t know what, exactly, works for me until I find the man who just feels right for me, until I meet the man who I can sense sees me as the one who feels right for him.
And he will have a list too – and I’m only going to fall somewhere on all of his spectrums, not at any exact point that he already dictated.
No one is perfect (least of all me!!) and no situation is ever perfect…and I can genuinely say that I’ve always known that, I’ve never wanted or expected perfection in a man or a relationship. But I do think that, once upon a time, I had a very long list of must-haves and dealbreakers. I thought I needed very exact and very specific things in a man and a relationship.
The thing is, everything I’ve just said is more a clarification of the way that I’ve long since looked at relationships, rather than a brand new way of thinking for me.
I’m still the girl who prefers skirts over trousers. I’m still the girl who loves pink. And I’m still the girl who wants a relationship that encompasses traditional gender roles. I still have needs in a relationship and a man that I’ll see as Mr. Right.
It’s just that I only have a very rough sketch of who my Mr. Right might be, rather than a completely filled in drawing of him.
I still want the “fairytale,” I still want the magic that is love and contentedly ever after…it’s just that I’m not going to know the plot of my fairytale until/if I’m living it :)