Every guy who dates should have a red flag list.
These are characteristics in a woman that are absolute deal breakers. For me, the list includes women who have addictions, anger issues, money management problems, multiple kids at home and a meddlesome mother.
I’m realizing, however, that my red flag list is actually much longer. Maybe that explains why I haven’t been in a serious relationship for more than a year. After two divorces, I’m picky. I’m not sure I ever want to marry again or even get in a long-term exclusive relationship.
At the same time, I’m starting to miss having a steady girlfriend after such a long dry spell. Maybe I need to pare down my red flag list – in other words, become more realistic in my search. I may never find Ms. Right according to my strict standards.
I started thinking about my lengthy list of deal breakers after seeing a book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.
“What’s the difference between settling and compromising?” writes Lori Gottlieb. “When it comes to marriage, what can we live with and what can we live without? How long does it make sense to hold out for someone better – who we may never find, and who may not exist or be available to us even if he did – when we could be happy with the person right in front of us?”
We’re not going to find perfection
Obviously, the book is aimed at women, but those are great questions that apply equally to men. Should there be a book called Settling for Ms. Good Enough?
I’m starting to reexamine the list of traits I’d like to find in a woman:
- No older than 45 (I’m 53)
- A mother who is either dead or lives far away
- Kids who are grown
- A good job
- Excellent health, an affinity for working out, and no possibility of getting fat
- Smart but not bookish
- Sophisticated but not arrogant
- No shorter than 5’1” but no taller than 5’11” (I’m 6’2”)
Actually, I could go on. But I’m starting to feel like an ass. I’m looking for Ms. Perfect, and I’m far from Mr. Perfect.
A few examples: I have a kid at home, my mom lives close by, I could lose a little weight, and much of my hair has fallen out. Oh, and did I mention I’m a two-time loser in marriage?
I’m a dating hypocrite, I know. I certainly have a right to be a hypocrite – so do you. But how many years must you be single before you start becoming more realistic in your search for a mate?
I’ve been divorced most recently for three years. Since then, I haven’t been in a relationship longer than three months. And I haven’t had one of those for more than a year.
Time to reevaluate
I think I’m ready for a steady relationship. So where would I compromise in my search for the perfect woman? I’d be OK if she were older than 45 and even had a kid or two at home. I guess her mom could be alive and even live in the same state.
My point: There comes a time when you need to get realistic in dating – just as in other areas of your life. For instance, I’ll never be able to afford a $100,000 sports car or live in a $1 million house.
Nor will I be able to find a woman (who also wants me) who is young, gorgeous, childless, smart, sweet, athletic … and so on.
Is it time for me (and you) to settle for Ms. Good Enough? I’m not quite there, but I’m moving in that direction.
There’s a fine line between lowering your standards in dating and being realistic about women you can attract. Only you can decide when (and how much) to compromise. Ask yourself: Are you happy being alone? Do you want to be alone indefinitely? If the answers are no, it’s time to toss out some deal breakers.