I love it when my readers leave comments on the blog, because I believe that when we read the stories of others, it helps us to better understand our own. A few days ago, reader Sonya left a comment that really got me going! She’s struggling with a view of men and dating that I know will keep getting in her way.
I’ve decided to give Sonya’s comment the One-to-One w/ April treatment, rather than just responding below the original post. Have a look, and see if Sonya’s concerns resonate with you as well:
Hey April, I just turned 32, I look quite good, I exercise and I wear plenty of sunblock, but am a little disgruntled by the men I see. I prefer a man in the 30 to 40 age group who doesn’t have kids. A man with kids is a deal breaker for me because I do want my own children and not someone else’s children.
I don’t know why all these older men who are divorced with children and who are very unattractive feel at such liberty to seek me me out, a younger women who is more beautiful and has no children. These men are indeed hypocrites who punish women in their own age group who have children, and attempt to prey on younger women.
I worked in insurance for some years, but went to law school this year. Before my 35th birthday, I intend to freeze my eggs, and after practicing law for 2 years, acquiring experience and saving money, I want to have children. It will be 9 months off for the pregnancy and just a year of breastfeeding if I can get twins.
I would love to marry an attorney in the 35 to 40 age group who is in decent shape and doesn’t have children yet and who would love to have a woman like me. I am 5’8″, weigh 140 pounds, and speak three languages.
Sonya, although I appreciate your frustration, and that of many women reading this, I must tell you that your thinking is way off. There are many things I’m noticing from your email, and I’d like to go through each one with you.
1. You say you look good. In fact, you mention it a few times. So my question to you is this: Why wouldn’t any man of any age be attracted to you? Why hold it against them? You can’t blame a man for trying, and if you’re not careful, you’re going to appear rigid and unapproachable — even to the men you want to meet! You can’t turn beauty and charm on and off when it suits you.
I’ve nicknamed this the Street Lamp Effect:
Instead of being disgruntled, Sonya, my suggestion is to be complimented! There will come a day that not so many men will be looking, and you’ll long for the days when men were falling over themselves to ask you out. Enjoy the experience, and have compassion for those who find you appealing.
2. You want kids of your own. It’s fine that you want to start your own family, but you must shift your thinking that men are “preying” on younger women without kids. It’s a harsh perspective, and one that I advise you change in favor of a more healthy outlook.
I know plenty of men who are divorced and in their early 40’s, who have children from a previous marriage. They would still like to date women they feel an emotional connection to, and sometimes, that’s a younger woman. Remember, girls mature faster than boys. That doesn’t stop just because a man was once married and has a child.
3. Men are punishing age-appropriate women with kids. I can see why you might think this, but it’s a misapprehension on your part. It’s not like men are punishing anyone!
Some men with kids actually do want to date women with children, and some don’t. Men don’t all want the same things when it comes to family. And for people who are parents, getting together with someone who also has children can be quite challenging with dual schedules. It can be easier to be with someone who doesn’t have kids as well. Remember The Brady Bunch? Sure, it was fiction, but the chaos of blending a family is quite real. Some men with children are wary of that, some don’t care.
4. You have a plan. And that’s okay, but it’s important not to let your plan be so locked down that you miss out. I have to say, your current plan seems quite rigid and unrealistic. It has nothing to do with life and all of it’s surprises! There’s joy in the unexpected!
You’ve heard the saying, “God laughs when you make plans,” right? You already have a definite picture of how you’re going to take off for pregnancy leave, how long you’re going to breastfeed (down to the age), and the career of the man you will marry! Don’t be surprised if things don’t go quite as you are expecting. Being open can keep you happy and prevent disappointment.
5. Your physical stats. These are just that — stats. You being 5’8, slender, and the fact you speak three languages has absolutely nothing to do with why a man will fall in love with you. Ask any single woman with your looks and background. She’ll tell you the same.
Sonya, my hope is for you to understand that life has a way of throwing you a curve ball and if you’re not fluid and open, you’re going to miss out on the beautiful moments, and even someone incredibly special, that possibly didn’t fit into your plan or the image you have for your future.
Every marriage I have helped create has been with two people who were willing to let go of their original plan or “type,” and open their arms to something even more perfect — the right person for them. It doesn’t mean you’re settling. It means you’re human, alive and willing to opt for fate instead of a movie poster you’ve made up in your mind.
Love lives in the heart, not the brain.
What does your heart want? You can’t know that until you know who you are, beyond your stats, beyond your job title, and beyond your accomplishments. What is your character? What are your emotional needs from a partner? What makes you vulnerable? What makes you fun to be with? What do you enjoy doing in the moment? Are you able to receive love and attention?
Learn these things about yourself and you will be on the path to finding the right man for you! Don’t let your focus on the future prevent you from finding love.
I have to say, this question has me all fired up! Why? Because I get this kind of question a lot!
Now, I want to hear from all of you, and please share this article with your friends. There’s a bigger discussion here that’s worth exploring. In the next few weeks, I’ll be expanding on some of these topics, because mindset and perception are powerful things. They are the loaded gun that can hurt or help your love life.
Also, don’t forget to check back on Friday here on Sparks! when I’ll be sharing an installment of The Friday Takeaway you won’t want to miss: The Five Most Important Things You Need to Know About Men!