Are you ready to pick a guy?

A former beau and I had an email conversation today. He saw my profile again listed on a few dating sites and asked what was happening. I explained about the meltdown and he suggested we should get back together.

I tried to reply pleasantly, but still let him know I’m not interested in him romantically. I said, “You have a lot to offer the right woman.” (When I shared this response with a male friend, he made a gagging expression. So how do you tell someone gently — and repeatedly — that you’re not attracted to him? He’s a good guy, not a toad. I’ve written about him before in “He wants romance; you want friendship.”)

We mused about dating life. I’ve been dating 2.5 years, he’s been at it three. He, like me, has had lots of first dates, and a few multi-month relationships. He’s 60 and getting tired of the hunt. He said:

“I know this is crazy but at this point in our lives, with the amount of time we have left, we either choose to stay single or better yet, contrive a great relationship and tolerate the best possible person we can find and don’t argue with them. I’m not saying be passive, but tolerant and forgiving of the other’s attitudes and preferences. Then all you have left is great fun, great sex, great traveling, and love.”

While I understand his point, I’m not quite ready to just choose someone and decide he’s The One. Although I have been interested in what happens in arranged marriages. I asked those whose marriages were arranged how they felt about marrying someone with whom they weren’t in love. The overwhelming response is, “You learn to love them.” As long as there isn’t abuse of any kind, and their mate is a decent, caring, sane person, they have found ways to learn to love him/her.

baby bathwaterIn an arranged marriage others make the decision; the families do the due diligence for you. In our world, we make the decision, sometimes not doing any due diligence. If someone has many of the characteristics you want, and a few that drive you crazy, can you still learn to love him? Are we too quick to throw the baby out with the bath water if we find someone with whom we’re generally compatible?

Or would that be settling? If you felt you settled, would you ever be happy? Or is the elusive soul mate just a myth? Real-life couples who seem to have fabulous relationships don’t share their setbacks, so it appears they are madly in love for years and years. And maybe they are.

What do you think? After dating a while and finding some “almost-perfect” guys, should you just choose to be with the next one who seems pretty darn good, even with some glaring warts? Or should you hold out for one for whom you can fall head over heels and he for you? Is there a point where you need to decide to wait no longer?

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10 responses to “Are you ready to pick a guy?”

  1. Cupertino Avatar

    “Should you hold out for one for whom you can fall head over heels and he for you?” It’s the endless question: should I “hold out” or should I “settle”? As if those were the only two options.

    A friend once told me that when she found herself feeling absolutely ga-ga over a guy, she would turn around and run, not walk, away, knowing that she was in a state of extremely impaired judgment. The two times I was completely “head over heels,” I wish I’d taken her advice. I ended up making some poor decisions. The relationships didn’t last, and I know I’m better off that they didn’t.

    “If someone has many of the characteristics you want, and a few that drive you crazy, can you still learn to love him?” You bet. Maybe I’ve become too much of a pragmatist and not enough of a romantic, but I don’t think any one person can fulfill all one’s needs and fantasies. So as in all of life, there are compromises and tradeoffs. I think there are many terrific long-term relationships where the “madly in love” state ended long ago, and the “love” state endures powerfully.

  2. Deborah Avatar

    “If someone has many of the characteristics you want, and a few that drive you crazy, can you still learn to love him?”

    Absolutely. Having watched many friends marry the guy they were “madly in love with,” only to have the marriage fall apart because one or both parties failed to understanding what a relationship is, and having observed many long-term marriages that were based primarily shared values and companionship, I strongly believe that insisting on the “Wow” factor can be a mistake. My difficulty is generally the reverse; I have several male friends that I love dearly, and could see myself in a relationship with any one of them, however they are waiting for the perfect woman (I’m GREAT, but not perfect!) or are not attracted to me “in that way” (not that we’ve really had this conversation, but I’ve picked that up.

    Bottom line, I think friendship is most important.

    Thanks for the blog!

  3. walt Avatar

    This is a good question that people don’t think enough about. It’s impossible to answer definitively, but a good guideline is to try to be willing to “settle” with respect to superficial characteristics that won’t be key to your long-term happiness, and more discriminating with respect to those things that will determine your happiness. For example, you might want to stick with the idea that you need someone who is honest, has a good sense of humor and is a lot of fun top be with. But perhaps you can relax a need for “very handsome/pretty” and be happy with “attractive”, and maybe “very successful” is not so important, and “good at what he does” will be fine in the long run.
    Generally, I think that people who defiantly state “I’ll never settle!”, will likely either stay single, or end up in one of those disastrous head-over-heels situations your other readers warned about.

  4. Bookyone Avatar

    “If someone has many of the characteristics you want, and a few that drive you crazy, can you still learn to love him?”

    Good question. I would say yes, as everyone has their little quirks and idiosyncracies and what drives one person crazy (not in a good way) can be a huge turn on for someone else.

    At this point I’m not looking anymore, as all my searching for Mr. Right thus far has been unsuccessful and has done nothing for my ego. Instead, I joined an online dating site just looking for penpals and to have a little fun, and it’s truly worked wonders for my self esteem. I am doing great now and enjoying myself more than ever. If I am fated to meet Mr. Right, then hopefully he’ll come along and enjoy the party, if not, well, there are worse things than being alone. Or as a wise person once put it: “you’re never truly alone, if you love the person you’re with.” 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  5. Christine Avatar

    Walt, great comment. I have given up some (although admittedly, not all) of my romantic notions from my younger days, but I still do wonder where you factor in the chemistry factor. I do feel the “attraction” thing is a bit of brain science that we don’t really understand at all. I don’t think I could be with someone long term that I didn’t feel drawn to in ways that sometimes I can’t quite explain. I think that the “thrill of romance” has been taking a bad rap lately and I do so want it to find it’s rightful place as a spark plug for lasting love.

  6. Kare Anderson Avatar

    The Paradox of Choice author Barry Schwartz author (just read it on a plane flight) would suggest that a satisficer would be happy with mostly right kind of person and perhaps be happier than a maximizer who spends more time to find the perfect one, then even after making a choice, can help but keep looking to confirm that she/he made the right choice. As you’ve noted, it still comes down to what is good enough.

  7. […] began to think of this in terms of dating. In “Are you ready to pick a guy?” and “Are you too picky?” we discussed how some daters seem not to be able to […]

  8. […] began to think of this in terms of dating. In “Are you ready to pick a guy?” and “Are you too picky?” we discussed how some daters seem not to be able to […]

  9. Teresa Avatar

    My question is…….why not have both……..we are all old enough to know the initial chemistry is lust……and can enjoy that for what it is…..can’t we?….So before you jump into marriage…..get to know one abother beyond that phase……then see for yourself if your lustful luscious one and you share the same compatible qualities that will see you through in the long run……we are no longer children and need to rush into any one decision…..we know the phases of lust and love……lets enjoy them for what they are….and get what we need and desire in the process……….every stage is a wonder……and I intend to find pleasure in every one of them without kidding myself that one is more than the other…….enjoy everyone……….

  10. Teresa Avatar

    I must add…..that initial chemistry… paramount… causes you to want to make an effort……… get to know the other person….beyond the sexual….though I am an highly sensual woman……lol……but then you want to know the heart, soul and mind of your lover…….any beyond that……it grows…….and grows…..It is possible to have mind blowing sexual experiences without love or any deep connection……but….when you find chemistry….that leads to heart…..leading to soul….to mind fucks………then you have it all… in itself is shallow and you can crave it and have yummy sex ………..but for the deep….down deep…….maybe dirty if you are lucky…….lifted higher…..lucky too……have it all…..then there is nothing comparable…….nor as satisfying……..

    I truly wish for you all the sensual and erotic pleasures you deserve…….smile…