We all have our “lists” of characteristics we want in a potential mate. These might include, but are also not limited to, things like, “must be willing to move around”, “must have chocolate brown eyes”, “must have obtained a college degree”, “must have a foreign accent”, “must be a good cook”. The beauty of the 6 billion plus people in the world is we all have different lists. I am a highly agreeable person, so I tend to get along with a variety of personalities, which sometimes makes creating a list difficult. Instead of focusing on a list of these certain kinds of traits, I have tried to compile a list of non-negotiables.
1. Must be respectful of women: Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that women should be respected. We sacrifice our last name’s, sacrifice our bodies to have children, sacrifice our jobs for our husband’s. I love it when a guy calls me ‘ma’am’, knows how to swing dance or waltz. Although I can certainly do it on my own, I love it when a guy holds the door open for me, carries my bags, pulls out my chair. I need my boundaries respected, my needs met, my intellect challenged. In a previous life, I was probably a Scarlet O’Hara. And, if you show me that respect, I will in turn take care of you and show you the same level of respect that a woman should show a man.
2. Must be willing to solve problems: Learning how to argue and solve problems together is crucial in a relationship.Whenever I got into an argument with one of my boyfriends, it would always end in us screaming at each other, me hysterically crying, him blaming me for everything that happened. Feelings were hurt and we never got anywhere. I can say I did and said somethings that were completely out of my character and I am ashamed of to this day. I am not really into that kind of “passionate” relationship anymore; it is too much work, too frustrating, too energy draining. Life is messy, unexpected things come up. You are bound to disagree with your significant other and make each other mad. HOW you solve those problems, however, is more important than the actual disagreement itself. I am a problem solver and need someone who is willing to problem solve with me. If his first instinct at a crossroads is to turn around and run, then I am not really interested.
3. Must have a sister:…or close girl cousin, or mom who was a teacher…I have found that the most respectful gentlemen had some kind of significant female presence in his life. My poor brother grew up with four women in the house (he is the youngest). We used to paint his fingernails, make him walk around the house in dresses and heels. His favorite color until he went to kindergarten (for the second time) was pink. But, now that he has a girlfriend, he treats her very well. He understands that women have mood swings, they can be irrational and emotional. He understands that it is his role to fix things, lift heavy things, light the barbecue grill. So, I need someone who understand women, because we all know that is a complicated and charged term.
4. Must be goal oriented: If you have read my blog post “The Power of Setting Goals”, you will know the value I see in goals. They keep us from becoming stagnant and plateauing in our lives. I think that, as 20somethings who are out of college, we tend to stop setting goals for ourselves, because we don’t see an immediate need any longer. We may not need to build our resumes to get a job, take challenging classes to get into grad school, save our money to pay rent, etc. I am constantly setting goals for myself, because I never want to stop learning, growing, and progressing., even if those goals are small, such as cook one new thing a week (this week, it was making frozen orange juice?) or create a new outfit to wear to work (mainly just to motivate me to wake up in the morning). To keep up with my crazy, busy, awesome life, I need someone who shares a similar drive.
5. Must have some life experience: I know that I have certainly been through some life experiences and, although I suffered during, I know that each one of those obstacles lead me to the person I am today–and I am very grateful for that. Some of the strongest relationships I have seen stem from people who have overcome something in their lives, whether it be a divorce, an injury, disease/cancer, a substance abuse issue, etc. I now know that life will never stop spurting out problems and obstacles, so I want to be sure I am with someone who is going to tackle those things head on with me and come out on top. The best indicator of future behavior IS past behavior and I want someone who has proven his strength, courage, and resiliency.
(My #6 non-negotiable right now is must not have recently defecated in a hot tub or other public arena, but I am still contemplating that one…)