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How To Choose An Ideal Boyfriend Essay

The following is excerpted from the book Everything You Need To Know If You Want Love That Lasts.

“Women cannot complain about men anymore until they start getting better taste in them.” ~ Bill Maher

All the relationship advice in the world won’t make any difference if you’re choosing the wrong guy. This is the step that often gets missed or overlooked. Women hammer away, trying to pound the proverbial square peg into a round hole, then wonder what they’re doing wrong, why they can’t seem to make it fit, why they can’t get the love they want. You can’t turn a losing stock into a winning stock. You can’t force someone to change and to want what you want. You can’t convince someone to feel a certain way about you.

I spent way too long chasing after guys who wouldn’t or couldn’t give me what I wanted, and then I wondered what was wrong with me when it didn’t get me lasting love! The problem was simple: I was choosing the wrong men. It sounds straightforward enough, but it’s a very tricky thing. We fall for these guys because it feels so right, because we’re swept up in the passion, the chemistry, and the intoxicating aura of unavailability; we get sucked into the space that exists when someone is just beyond our reach and it makes us yearn for him. We convince ourselves that this is it, that he’s the one and we just need to make him see it.

This is where the problems develop. This is where all the questions and tears and doubt and uncertainties and fears start to consume you. You mistake these feelings for true love because maybe you’ve never felt this way before, and you think it must be because this guy is different and this relationship is meant to last.

This is just a glimpse into the confusion that ensues when you choose the wrong guy. If you’re hung up on a man who can’t commit or won’t commit or who is mean to you or who is just a mean person in general, a guy with baggage, a guy with serious issues, a guy who you think would be perfect “if only” he changed such and such, then you’re setting yourself up to lose before you even begin, and you are blocking yourself from ever finding the love you want.

Where Healthy Relationships Begin

Before we talk about what to look for in a guy, it’s important to look at how relationships begin. The start of a relationship can oftentimes color our lenses and sometimes lead us down a bad path and into a toxic relationship.

Here’s a situation that may sound familiar to you (it was certainly a recurring theme for me in my single life!) You meet someone, something clicks, and suddenly it feels like a force outside of you has taken over.

After this encounter you can’t—for the life of you—get this guy out of your head. You try to think about other things but nothing works. You ruminate over every detail of your interaction with him—what he said, what you said, what his body language said. You think about the things you wish you had said.

You check your phone constantly to see if he called or texted. If he does, your stomach drops, your heart races, you want to leap off your seat and shout for joy. And then of course you need to figure out the exact right thing to say back to him, the perfect quip to show him that you’re perfect for each other.

The high continues as you venture into a relationship, and it becomes even more intense. You never quite know where you stand with him. The uncertainty keeps you on your toes, constantly on alert for something that looks like a bad sign or an ominous foreshadowing. This emotional rollercoaster is as thrilling as it is exhausting. You’re hooked. The worst possible thing that could happen is him leaving. It’s a fear you can’t quite shake no matter how promising the situation looks, a fear that drives everything you say and do.

Now another scenario.

You meet a guy, you think he’s nice and all, you have a good conversation, and he gets your number. While you’re pleased, you don’t go into a tizzy over it. You may check his Facebook profile, but only for a few minutes. You are happy to hear from him if he calls or texts, but you don’t notice the hours that pass in between your interactions. You go out a few times, not expecting much, but soon enough your interest and attraction begin to grow. Things feel calm, there’s no drama, no heart palpitations … and it feels really nice.

Which relationship do you think has a stronger chance of survival?

Instinctively, you would say the second one. In real life, you would fall for the first. That’s because the first scenario illustrates everything we’ve ever been told about love.

In movies and romance novels, love is this grand, all-consuming force that takes you over in the most dramatic of ways. There are huge obstacles to overcome, but it’s OK because love conquers all! I mean, would any of us have cared for “The Notebook” if Ali and Noah were of the same social status, went on a few lukewarm dates, then got to know each other and developed a deepening connection over time? Don’t think so.

Unhealthy Relationships Start With a Pull

Relationships that start from a place of pure, unadulterated passion can seldom survive unless they have some substance and depth of connection to stand on. Explosive chemistry isn’t what creates a lasting, healthy relationship. It can lead to great sex and feelings of euphoria, and you may come to understand why they say love is a drug, but no matter how intense and all consuming, that sort of thing is seldom sustainable long term.

When you feel a strong and sudden pull towards someone else, the kind that causes you to turn him from mere mortal to deity-like being, something sinister is usually at play. OK, maybe not sinister, but something that isn’t exactly what you would term romantic. There are a few good reasons why we might become inexplicably drawn to someone who isn’t good for us.

Imago Theory

This theory, developed by clinical pastoral counselor Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., posits that the pull we feel towards another person is guided by our unconscious desire to rectify some issue from our past. Imago is Latin for image, and the theory essentially states that we unconsciously seek partners who reflect the image of our primary caregivers so that we can try to heal lingering wounds inflicted by them by working through issues with someone in their image. These relationships present the opportunity to heal ourselves and become whole again, but they also pose the risk of continuing to pour salt into open wounds.

How it pans out is something like this: if your parents always made you feel like you weren’t good enough, you may seek out guys who make you feel like you’re not good enough, then try to win them over in an attempt to rectify those painful feelings from your past.

If your father was very critical, you may find yourself drawn to a man who is very critical, trying to win his love and approval in order to heal from the hurt of your father’s rejection. These decisions aren’t conscious, they happen very deep beneath the surface in areas we can’t easily access. When we meet someone, we immediately sense everything about him, especially the way he makes us feel (again, this happens unconsciously).

On a conscious level, you may assess the things he says, but on an unconscious level, you’re looking at his body language, his tone, the way he phrases things, how much eye contact he makes, his whole demeanor. If your unconscious finds something familiar in that person, something that reminds you of an unresolved hurt from the past, it will light up and push you towards that person.

You may also unconsciously seek out partners who have some quality that is underdeveloped in you. For example, if you’re a Type A workaholic and always wished you could ease up, you may be drawn to a laid-back partner who isn’t so driven.

Maybe this sounds a little too New Agey to you, or maybe it doesn’t describe your situation at all, but it’s a powerful concept and it has gained a

lot of praise and recognition in the field of psychology so it’s worth considering. I know I’ve seen some of this at play in my own dating life.

Infatuation

Being infatuated sounds like a grand, romantic thing, but it can actually be quite dangerous. The problem with infatuation is it isn’t based on anything real. Infatuation causes you to fall in love with an image rather than an actual person. It causes you to put someone on a pedestal and overlook his flaws. Since he’s so “perfect,” you become afraid to be yourself—I mean, how could your true self ever compete with perfection?
You don’t want to say the wrong thing and scare him off, so you aren’t genuine in your interactions. You rely on his approval so desperately that you also become a bit needy. You may not act needy, but it’s something that lurks beneath the surface and he will pick up on it … men always do. You lose your sense of worth because it becomes so wrapped up in how he feels about you.

Healthy Relationships Build Slowly

Healthy relationships usually begin with mutual interest and attraction that grows over time. This is the complete opposite of unhealthy relationships, which usually start out with a grand light show that quickly simmers into ash. If you can internalize this, it will change the way you date forever.

The most important trait to develop is objectivity. No one really talks about that because it’s not so sexy, but if you want to find lasting love and prevent yourself from getting hurt, you’ll need to learn how to use your head a little more than your heart, at least in the beginning. Your heart can lead you into all kinds of bad places. Your heart is the one that tells you it’s a great idea to go for the bad boy who’s just so dreamy, even when he’s out on parole and struggling with addictions, or has told you he won’t be in a committed relationship, ever. Your heart convinces you that the heart wants what the heart wants and who are you to deny your heart? Your heart doesn’t operate according to reason or rational. It makes you do things that you later look back on and wonder, what was I thinking? But you weren’t thinking, that’s not what the heart does. OK, I know I’m being mean to the heart. It does have its benefits, but that comes later. In the beginning of a relationship, it’s best to remain as objective as possible and try to keep your emotions mostly contained.

The best way to do this is to try to go slowly. Ease into the relationship instead of diving in head first. This will create an environment for you to allow your level of interest and attraction to grow steadily over time, rather than flooding you all at once in a big emotional tsunami.

If you spend all your time with him, you risk overlooking critical information about who he really is and if the relationship is built to last. Just because two people feel strongly for each other it doesn’t always mean they can be together.

It is imperative to have a foundation of compatibility, shared goals and interests, and common values. Some things simply can’t be negotiated. Before you emotionally invest, it is wise to determine if you are fundamentally compatible. And the best way to do this is to go slowly. I don’t necessarily mean physically, I mean emotionally.

When you first meet someone, you want to spend every minute of every day with him. You talk for hours and hours on the phone, text all day, you can’t get enough. The obvious reason this is problematic is because you may end up relying too heavily on the relationship for your happiness, but also, you don’t get a break from the emotional excitement and stimulation of it all. Then, if you realize this guy may not be right for you, you’ll be in too deep to get yourself out of the situation. You’ll instead rely on some cliché like “love conquers all” to justify staying with him.

I am not saying to stay away from guys you feel a strong immediate attraction to and only date guys you’re only “meh” about. I think you should date both kinds of guy—the infatuation guy could turn out to be a loser and the “meh” guy could turn out to be the love of your life. (I’ve seen it happen countless times!)

Either way you have to date smart. This will come more naturally with “meh” than it will with the object of your infatuation.

If you just met or just started seeing someone, I strongly advise that you try to limit how much time you spend with him early on. Try to not go on more than two dates a week or engage in marathon texting sessions that go all day. When you do this, you never get a break from the emotional high and you don’t get a chance to come back down and recalibrate.

So many girls make the mistake of getting caught up in how the guy feels about them rather than focusing on how they feel about him.

You can avoid falling into this trap by doing regular reality checks. Make sure you see him and the situation clearly. The best way to do this is to make sure you can recognize his flaws. The way you know you’re infatuated is if you see no flaws. Everyone has flaws.

Why It Matters

When you get in over your head, you may convince yourself that something like him wanting to live only in the country and you wanting to live only in the city is not such a big deal. Someone who maintains a more objective perspective would acknowledge that she would be miserable living in the country, and since this guy wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else, she would get out of the situation.

I’ve seen (and personally experienced) many situations where a couple breaks up after a long period of time because of some issue that was apparent right from the beginning—they’re different religions, want to live in different states, one person doesn’t want kids. In every one of these situations, the couple believed that things would magically just work out. Imagine how much time and effort they would have saved and heartbreak they would have avoided had they been dating with their heads instead of
their hearts from the beginning.

Qualities That Make Him a Keeper

A lot of women write to me begging to understand why their relationships always fail … why guys treat them badly…why they always get hurt … why they can’t get a guy to commit. The common thread in most of these cases is that these women are choosing men who clearly are not husband—or even relationship—material and hoping that by some chance the men will suddenly transform into the knights in shining armor they want. This type of situation doesn’t exist anywhere aside from cheesy romantic comedies. If you choose to pursue a relationship with a guy who clearly isn’t relationship material, then you’re setting yourself up to fail before you even begin.

Trust me, I know all too well how enticing those damage cases can be. Sure, he has emotional issues, he’s jaded, he’s struggling at work, he has no direction, he still acts like a frat boy even though his acting-like-a-drunk-idiot-and-getting-away-with-it days expired years ago, but there’s a really great guy underneath all that and as soon as we deal with all this other stuff, then we’ll have an amazing relationship. I’m sorry, but no.

The problem with these damage cases is that they often have a lot of the qualities we want, but not the ones we actually need. There is a big difference between wants and needs when it comes to relationships, but it’s not always easy to make the distinction. You might want a guy who is tall and strapping and charismatic and a CEO of a major company, but a guy with those credentials might have a host of other qualities that aren’t good for you and don’t fulfill your fundamental emotional needs. My husband is the opposite of the “ideal man” I had envisioned for myself, but even though he doesn’t have certain qualities I used to consider requirements, he is exactly what I need. That was clear to me and everyone around me very early into our relationship.

When I hit that stage in life where I realized I was done dating for the sake of dating and wanted to settle down and find “the one,” I realized that the kinds of guys I liked to date weren’t necessarily husband material, and I had to really examine my list of wants and needs and figure out the differences between the two. Doing so made all the difference. Suddenly the damage cases who were once oh so appealing did nothing for me.

Whether you’re single, dating, or in a serious relationship, these are the most essential qualities you need to look for in a man, the ones that tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s the one and this is it.

    • He loves your good qualities and accepts and embraces the bad without making you feel guilty for having flaws. You don’t need to hide your true self from him and put on a front in order to be what you think he wants. You can share your true self and be vulnerable and feel safe doing so, knowing that if anything it will
      make him feel even closer to you.
    • He is there for you when you need him, even if it’s inconvenient for him.

 

If you are searching for the ideal man, here is a list of 5 essential qualities that he must possess in order to assume that position. If you are a candidate seeking to become an ideal man, work on the following traits:

1. Character – This is the main attribute in making another person happy. If a man’s character lacks truth, honesty and sincerity, then he lacks everything a relationship requires in order to survive. Beware!

2. Maturity – Immature men like showing off: they are afraid of commitment, they are insecure about their future and they are naive. There’s nothing worse for a woman then having to submit to an insecure man. A woman needs a strong and mature man by her side, one that knows where he’s going in life, that is brave enough to solve problems with his own hands and that will be able to care for her like any good husband should.

3. Intelligence – intelligent men think before acting or saying anything. This makes them capable of thinking about the consequences- giving women that extra admiration, respect and assurance for them. With so many women throwing themselves at married men out there, this is by far, a crucial quality to ensure faithfulness.

4. Compatibility – This is the quality that allows a man and women to fit well with each other like puzzle pieces .

5. Fear of God – The man that fears God will never betray his wife, especially when she’s not around.

Of course, this list does not apply to all women because unfortunately, not all have the above qualities. To have the ideal man, you have to first be the ideal woman.

 

 

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