Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Do Men Want a Relationship?

So it's no big secret that I like craigslist. It's a great place to get just about anything you need or want (except maybe a significant other). Also? If you feel the need to just get something off your chest (and you don't have a blog to do it on), the rants and raves section is wonderful. It's also a good place to find some entertainment ('cause some of these people are nutjobs) and see how much worse things could be for you.

Anyway, this morning a major topic there was "Do Men Want A Relationship?" It really got the wheels turning for me, because there's definitely an answer, but it's complicated.

First off, there is a significant population of guys out there who want nothing more than a relationship. Any relationship. With any girl. This is the stereotypical "nice guy," the poor fool who serves up his testicles (and self-respect) on a silver platter the very moment a pretty (or not-so-much-so) girl smiles the right way in his direction. He's that needy, desperate bastard who doesn't give her any time to herself, is jealous of her friends or other dates, gives inappropriate gifts, and makes a girl feel so suffocated that he's out of the picture before he ever really got into it in the first place.

I'm assuming that's not what y'all are talking about.

On the other end of the spectrum, we've got the misogynistic, arrogant, woman-hating player who wants to sleep with anything he can, but has such a low opinion of the female species (usually resulting from past hurts when he was a "nice guy") that he doesn't see any value in a true emotional connection with one. He can be quite attractive at first, but he uses and abuses women, and if you fall for him, you'll never get your relationship and you'll definitely get hurt. It's his twisted, subconcious way of paying back the female species for the damage they've done to him. He's overcompensating by swinging too far in the other direction.

Again, I'm guessing this isn't what you want, either.

Then there's the third type. He's strong, self-assured, and confident. He's going places in life, but he likes to stop and smell the roses along the way. He has his own outside interests and social life that have nothing to do with dating, and he's probably fairly protective of them. This guy truly values women, enjoys their company, and wants to get to know what's unique about each one he interacts with. He's funny, flirty, and a blast to be with. He thinks that every single one of you is special in your own way, and he wants to learn about yours. He's thoughtful, but not pushy, would make an excellent boyfriend, and is probably pretty damn talented on a physical level, too.

Does this guy want a relationship? Well, the honest answer is "yes, but."

But...

...he wants one, he doesn't need it. He places a high value on good relationships, and is perfectly content to keep dating and getting to know different women until he finds that. It has to be with the right woman, and it has to be at the right time.

The right woman is also confident and self assured. And she, too, wants one. She's quite happy without it, but places the same value in the good relationships he does and knows how it will enhance her life to be in one. She's proud of who she is and knows she's a damn good catch, too. She may joke about her awesomeness cause that's fun, but she doesn't brag because she knows that if a guy's got any sense, he'll recognize it for himself and appreciate her that much more because he came to it on his own. She doesn't have any hangups with herself or the world around her. She may not be a supermodel, but is reasonably attractive -- she keeps herself in good shape and does the best she can with what she's been given. She's funny, witty, optimistic, and exceptionally smart. Honestly, she's a lot like him. This woman realizes how great he is and treats him accordingly, cause he'll be out the door if he's not appreciated. The closer she is to his ideal, the higher his tolerance is, especially in the early stages when things are uncertain, but either one of them will lose the other in a heartbeat if they start taking things for granted and stop treating their partner as a gift they're blessed to recieve.

The right time is the second vital ingredient. I'm not talking about timing in your life, because the smart ones understand good things come when you least expect them, life will never be perfectly settled, and you take action when you have opportunities. They don't miss these opportunities. I mean the timing between the two of them in this particular interaction. Because neither needs a relationship and is quite happy without one, they take their time to get into anything too serious. The right guy doesn't want to be rushed, and likes to really get to know someone before he jumps into a committed relationship. He'd rather wait until they're so addicted to each other that they can't stand not being in a relationship with each other than pull the trigger too early and start something that ends badly. He may get physically and emotionally involved, but he still keeps a bit of himself separate until the time is right. He doesn't push for commitment, and will run if the other person does. When he's ready, he'll bring it up casually and see how she responds, and if she's not ready yet, he'll wait for her to bring it up later when she is. His focus is on enjoying each other's company and the getting-to-know-you process over the end results. He stays in the moment and worries about the future when it comes around.

If you've been wondering if men really want relationships, it's pretty likely that you're not yet the right woman. She doesn't wonder -- she simply enjoys the company of the gentlemen she meets and trusts that she'll end up in a relationship with the right one when he comes along and they both know it's right. Until then, she dates people to see if they're right for her and to have fun. If you're not there yet, don't worry -- you can get there.

And if you really are the right woman? Well, you already know all this stuff.

20 comments:

inowpronounceyou said...

Right on the head, LMNtal.

dagny taggart said...

Fantastic reading - thank you! And I think you've described the ideal process and people accurately - I just hope that for someone, the "right woman" is allowed to have a *few* hangups about herself, if not the world around her.

suicide_blond said...

put a notch on your gun sugar baby...ya nailed it!
xoxo

Reddiekim said...

http://creativeclass.typepad.com/thecreativityexchange/2007/04/the_singles_map.html

heart said...

So people are actually going on dates? Because that sounds fabulous.
--frustrated student at college where no dating occurs (but she does have a lot of good guy friends who fit in every category!!...but dating them doesn't happen...hmm)

Vikram said...

I think there's a fourth category... or maybe its a variant (sub-species) of the third group. They're like the guys in the third category in every way, except that they've become exhausted with the search, and have more or less given up (for now).

Behaviorally, there are two real differences between the men in your third category, and these men. First, because they've become tired of the 'games,' they don't bother dating very often... Second, Because they've given up, they're likely to miss a good thing that may be staring them in the face.

I think I fall into this fourth category...

blah.

-vvk

lesser being of leisure said...

Coincidentally, there's a couple of articles about this very topic in USAToday (today). Apparently a Pew Research Study released last year showed that 55% of 3200 adults 18 and older surveyed in 2005 weren't looking for a relationship and for ages 18-29, 38% said they weren't looking for a partner."

Don't have the links, but you can probably look them up online pretty easily.

I also read (somewhere) that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) released a study that 62% of unmarried men want to be married as opposed to 50 something percent of women, which is also kind of interesting. (not exactly sure why the CDC is studying this and consider it a public health issue.

Redhead said...

I was talking to a friend last night and had an epiphany. I've simplified my dating criteria -- either a guy that can cook or a guy that kill someone in less than five seconds.

I believe those guys fall in groups 1 and 2, respectively, according to your nomenclature...

mm said...

Good post. Type 1 is probably the worst kind of person to date. Smothering, insecure, no backbone....icky icky.

Pink Is Neat said...

I think I'm dating that first guy you mentioned...

Redhead said...

Yes, a 3 would be perfect...but finding them is like finding a unicorn.

jess said...

I was the one who almost offended you at the happy hour... just read this and couldn't agree more. I'm in the third category, and a few months back had an experience with a not-the-right-time guy. It's heartening to know that for every 30 or so wrong people (me for them and them for me) that I'll find someone like him. Timing and maturity seem to be a key thing....

shadowsofourselves said...

Well put.

Anonymous said...

I'm seeing the 3rd guy you talked about. Yesterday he asked me what i expected of him. If i see him as more than a friend or as a confidant. I was really unhappy... all i wanted was to be his girlfriend... we started in Sep 2005... and it's been 3 years since we did this... i'm really hurt... i told him yesterday that we'd better stay as friends. and before losing all feelings for each other, we should cut off all contacts. he said he had to think about it.

he likes me, but he wouldn't want to be in a relationship... sigh.

Anonymous said...

Wow, poor me. I wish I would have read this before I drunk texted a guy I was dating about a relationsip. Lesson learned!!

Joyce said...

wow.. i didn't know that coming! i love the post, great tips. it makes me understand the other side of dating and choosing.

The Relationship Company said...

One of the most interesting and worth reading blog I read.

Anonymous said...

Best thing I've read up on in a long time. AWESOME!

jay said...

I disagree with this post. I think there are CERTAIN types of women who can do this. I think there are CERTAIN types of men who are happy to do this. I can be emotionally removed from anyone I date, but then--what's the point? Just because you get along doesn't mean you'll develop those fuzzy feelings we all like at the beginning of a relationship.

For many women (and men, I'm sure), it's very difficult to become interested in someone else if they are already interested in ONE person. It's also unfair to the people you are seeing. Why waste their time if you already have yourself set on someone else? Sure, it's dumb. Sure, you should really put out lots of lines to catch something. But if it's not what you want, then why settle?

No, you don't have to commit, but you'd be lying if you said you wouldn't be disappointed if your "primary" went elsewhere.

I think a lot of what is written here is good in theory, but doesn't occur in practice.

Anonymous said...

You people have nothing better to do with your lives, and it's sad!