Over the years I’ve had a lot of conversations with girlfriends about the qualities they want in a man. While answers vary, I’ve heard a lot of “standard” answers that I think all women can agree that they want. What is interesting is that I have personally witnessed friends find a partner with some of these “standards”, but their relationships end up failing anyway.
So in this post I’d like to share three “standard” qualities a lot of us say we want in a man, and my theories on why these relationships may still be destined to fail.
“I want a man with Swag.” (a.k.a. Confidence)
Girlfriends, I get it. There is something irrationally attractive about a man who carries himself with a quiet assurance in his own awesomeness. A man with confidence is holding the secret of that awesomeness inside of him, and our attraction is really just a compulsion to being let in on the secret, and a desire to explore the substance of his swagger.
Therefore our expectations are somewhat skewed when entering a relationship with a confident man. Our hope is that the substance of his swagger, the traits that are deserving of confidence, will translate into the qualities of a perfect partner. But once we discover his secrets and/or become exposed to his failures, it disappoints us to learn that this confident man is not perfect after all. So our relationships fail because we blame him for not being the man we “thought” he was. But the fault really lies within the preconceived fantasy of the partner we expected him to be.
“I want a man who can make me laugh.”
I think we are attracted to men who make us laugh because laughing just feels good; it is a perfect escape from the stressors of every day life. So the attraction to a man who makes us laugh has nothing to do with who he is as a person, and everything to do with the joy his humor brings us. And being in the company of someone who can say and do just the right things to generate that joy can be addicting.
Unfortunately, in life there is a time to laugh and a time to cry. And sometimes a man with an amazing sense of humor may not be able to stop himself from turning everything into a joke. In times of distress, we find ourselves reaching to our lovers for emotional support, asking them to empathize with us and hold us up until we find the strength to stand again. But a man who can find the humor in anything may not understand that sometimes humor is inappropriate. There are things we take seriously, and we need a partner who can discern when it’s time to be serious. Because if he lacks discernment, then he won’t know how to hold us up when it is time to cry. This can cause us to not fully invest our hearts in him, and any relationship in which you cannot fully invest your heart is doomed to fail.
“I want a man who will love me the way I am.”
I doubt most of us understand what we really mean by this. What we really want is a man who believes in, sees, and acknowledges our value. Who agrees that, as is, we are worthy of love. But to say that you want a man who will love you the way you are is to say that you are already good enough; that you do not require growth and evolution. Maintaining a successful relationship requires both people to evolve. If we are incapable of self-reflecting and acknowledging that we can improve, then we will never be capable of truly loving our partners. Because when you really love someone, your focus should be on challenging yourself to keep growing as a person, to keep evolving into the very best lover you can possibly be. And the person you love deserves the best.
As a bonus I’d like to share my theory on why some of us develop irrational, groupie-esque attractions to musicians. The creation of music requires vulnerability and the willingness to bear one’s soul. Writing lyrics, creating melodies, using instruments to successfully bridge them together, and finding the conviction necessary to translate the essence of this creation to the listener is art. Listening to a musician express his art is like laying on his chest to hear his heart beat. And when we watch a musician express his art (via singing, playing instruments, etc.), we are watching the physical expression of his passion. How often do men willingly expose their hearts to us in this way?
And that’s the thing. When we fall for musicians, we are falling for the fantasy that the passion they have for their music will be the same passion they have for us. That the way their hearts bleed for their music will be the same way their hearts bleed for us. But as a woman who grew up with music, developed close relationships with musicians, and eventually married a musician, I am here to tell you that even if he makes you his woman, music will always be his mistress. She will fill in the spaces of your lives during the good times, and offer him refuge and solace during the bad. So if you fall for a musician, don’t be surprised if you end up playing second fiddle ( 🙂 ) to his true love ’til death do you part.
My next post of “Buyer Beware” will be for the fellas. I hope to share a few simple questions you should ask any woman when getting to know her, as the answers will give you valuable insight into the future of your relationship. Until then…
~Love and Happiness from Your Best Girlfriend~