Day 48 - Chick Lit, Desperation & 80%ers
I am reading this awful book. The entire book is about how women should lower their standards if they want to find a man if they are over 40. In my defense, this same author wrote another book that was fantastic and very healing. This one not so much. I am affronted by how much her life revolves around getting a man. All the advice giving to other women about how much we are too picky and that is what has landed us in Singleville. I can't object to the premise that women are preoccupied with gaining a mate...guilty! But there is something about her advising other women to change what they want and settle for Mr. Ok, rather than waiting for a partner that has more of what she wants. I think women have been doing this for a very long time. Like this is not new advice! Most of the women I know who are divorced, knew they were settling when they got married. They KNEW that they were not getting the man they had always dreamed of...look where they ended up. And many married friends are not happy. Male or female. The issues of their spouse that they were aware of when they married them, not so easy or fun to live with after a few years. This might be why the divorce rate is at 52%.
So this author is telling women to be less picky. Settle for Mr. Good Enough. I call these men 80%ers. These are the guys (girls for you men that read my drivel) that have 80% of what you want in a partner. They are smart, funny, good looking, capable of earning a decent living but they suck in bed. Perhaps they are super romantic but kinda dull in the sack. Or they are amazing in bed but they lack affection except the horizontal kind.
Well fuck, every person I know has settled for the 80%er. I know only a few relationships that I would qualify as 100%ers. Seriously, like seven. Most people I know that are in the 80%er relationship are not happy with that missing 20% and what seemed like good odds on the front end, not such a great thing a few years in.
I think this is because while you will never find a person that is perfect, I think you can find someone that matches you 100%. Someone who has enough in common with you so you can live together but has enough different from you to keep you interested 20 years later.
The thing that pisses me off most about her book is that she is focusing on the wrong thing. It isn't that we should be so focused on these other people - making lists of what qualities they should have, the ones they should not have, etc. We should be focusing on ourselves. Making ourselves better people. Working on our own shit so that if and when a good partner walks into our lives, we don't fuck it up. We acknowledge the amazing thing that just happened and are not counting percentages instead of allowing love to flourish.
I don't think it is about getting the right partner. I think it is about BEING the right partner. I think that is what pisses me off about her book. It is all outward focused: how to get the man that is not perfect but good enough. When, what I think we all really struggle with is being the right person that this other person would want to partner with. And that has to be about falling in love with yourself first. It just does. There is no way you can really love another without having a deep and abiding love for yourself. Believe me I have tried. It makes no sense, trying to find a mate when you doubt your own self worth. This results in dating a lot of people that you would usually not have survived a coffee date. You are desperate so you don't filter well. This results in you spending a great deal of time being occupied in relationships that are not well suited for you, exhausting and a general waste of time.
Loving your self has to lead to a content life. You know who you are and what you want and are not willing to waste your time on anything less. It isn't a one size fits all kind of thing. You are very picky because you know who you are and that as much as finding someone to share yourself with is a worthwhile goal, honoring yourself is the most important thing - for you and the person with whom you might partner. In the end, I think it all boils down to respect and love. Respect and love of self leads to the ability to respect and love others.
Respect and love are the answers but I had it wrong, I think. It wasn’t about respecting and loving someone else. It was about respecting and loving me. It was about knowing who I am so deeply that I could be alone and be ok. It was developing the skills to navigate this life solo so that when I met a partner worthy of me, that I would be able to enter into that relationship whole. Fuck, that would have been a great epiphany to have 30 years ago.
So is all the interim wasted time? No, I learned a lot and still have a lot of growing to do but I can see that I allowed unresolved shit to become the dictator of my life. Compulsion, obsessions and addiction made my decisions. I was just along for the ride. I was too chicken to claim my life for myself. I was too scared to be brave and say that I am enough alone. I do not have to be a part of a couple or family. I could choose that and be ok. I could totally chose that and be just fine. But I didn’t. Because when you wipe away all the pop psychology, people need people. We all do. Every day. We are interdependent and need to be touched, held, seen and loved. It is part of being human.
As with most things that feel good, I over did the feel good part and was not really up for the work side of relationships. This book is pissing me off because whether I like it or not, I have to see that even though I had a less honest dialog going on - I acted the same way this lady has. Desperate...and that kind of makes me hate me. I want to be ok alone...always. I want to be fine traveling alone, living alone, going on vacation alone, going to events alone. Being ok with just me. I want to love me enough to not let anyone walk into my life and let them stay because I don't have anything else better to do...
But like everything in my life, I have always wanted the credit without really doing all of the work. Which leads me to the mansbatical. This is why I am taking off the year of men. To do the hard work that is figuring out who the hell I am and what I want. Now, listen to me on another day and you will be convinced that I am just fine. I will own right now that people that are just fine don’t take a year off. I have a lot of emotional heavy lifting to do. Anyway, that appears to be today’s lesson: finish reading that fucking book that is pissing me off. Because if there is one thing I know for certain - that when I spot it, I got it!