There’s a point in every man’s life when he needs to think more deeply about the relationships he’s having. The point when he decides that, yes, this is the woman I want to live with for the rest of my life.
For some, this epiphany comes quickly. We fall in love, we have intense passion, and we believe that this feeling will last a lifetime. Others take more time. We are more deliberate, wishy-washy, or just too freaked out to commit. Even more don’t put enough thought into it at all.
It can be an abstract notion, to be sure. We have to uncover the “reason” we feel the passion we do. It’s easy to ignore and just follow what appears to come so naturally. We do it because many of us are actually frightened to pinpoint what we think we want from our girlfriend—or our wife to be. Even if we do, we often focus on what society has told us we should find attractive or think of as endearing, or what Don Draper wants, or what those sorry creatives on Madison Avenue have us thinking is a “10,” or the perfect catch. We mistake what our soul wants (hence, the term soul mate), with what our ego wants. Lastly, if we’re honest with ourselves, we also care about what our family and friends think.
It’s really the perfect trap. We get in deep, and because we’re good people we try to make it work. We get older, get married, have families, and turn into a tragic literary figure—living a life of quiet desperation. Or, more common, we separate and get divorced.
Know Thyself, Save Thyself
You can avoid that trap by letting go of the common misguided ways men measure women. In guy language, that means getting beyond the bullshit (a.k.a. ineffectual) pros and cons list. You know, the “She likes to cook, but won’t eat steak” game. Or the proverbial: “She likes sex, but not oral sex.” The pros and cons list is another way you avoid your own fear by picking her apart and judging her imperfections. It’s a limiting approach to finding true love—a cop out.
Face it, No Woman is Perfect
The key is to learn how to use the “ultimate radar”—your heart. Sit down and listen—this is not some new-age babble. Your heart knows exactly what it wants. But men confuse their hearts with their heads. They also confuse their hearts with infatuation and projection. What’s more, many men are simply cut off from their hearts and their intuition, which are key to unlocking their true desires.
How do you tell the difference between what your heart wants and all the other mind games and outside influences tugging at your decision? You need to redefine your personal understanding of LOVE—the word, the concept, the experience.
As you fall in love you are experiencing love in its rawest form. It’s visceral and it comes in a wave of emotion. We all think of it as pure and perfect. It awakens our heart, and when we experience it, we desperately attempt to hang on to it. The love we feel is raw, uncensored, free, child-like, and unconditioned. It is without judgment, hatred. It knows only the truth. In one sense, it is perfect.
But this is an invariably fleeting emotion. Sure, love can and should last forever, but the notion of maintaining the level of early and infatuated love is futile, immature, and unrealistic. Not too long into a relationship, men begin to identify flaws and imperfections in their partner. Instead of loving her through those, you believe you can hang on to that true-love feeling. But that feeling will naturally fade as you get to know each other better. At this point, you might bail on the relationship because you think you can find a woman without flaws and imperfections. You try to find that feeling in another woman and, when you do, you repeat the same old pattern.
So, mistake number one: You think you are chasing a woman, when in fact, you are chasing a feeling.
Complete Yourself, First
Like in the movie Jerry McGuire, some men feel that there is actually one person who will make them “complete”—who will make everything okay. They think, “If I just find the right person, she
will satisfy the longing inside, fill the void.” But a woman can’t “complete you,” as Jerry McGuire so incorrectly believes. Until you get yourself “handled,” you will always look to something other than you to fill the empti
ness in your heart, whether it’s the woman you’re with, a new house, or the right paycheck. Handling yourself and your life means developing a heightened sense of self-awareness and cultivating self-love.
Mistake number two: You think finding “the one” will make everything okay.
So how do you get it right? How do you find “the one?”
After getting to know yourself better and developing your ultimate radar, you must understand realistic love. Realistic love is how we show, express, and feel love for others and ourselves. Realistic love is loving with all of our confusion and self-protection issues. Because we all have wounds and limitations in relationships, we remain very guarded from the true love that is always present. Think of it like body armor. Your body armor is your realistic love. The true love is what you can feel and experience when you let that armor down. It’s the soft, tender, open rawness that’s always there below the outer shell.
When the burn of a “real” relationship gets too hot, many men run or act out. Understandably, a lot of guys don’t want their relationship to feel like work. But anyone who is married for longer than a year knows that a sound relationship requires work and attention. In most cases, a lot of guys simply lack a good tool-k
it to work with realistic love and continue the fantasy that they can experience true love all the time. It’s another way they avoid having to take responsibility for their idealistic thinking about love and intimacy.
To find your true love, try avoiding this scenario. Watch yourself. What patterns do you repeat? Do you ever get stuck and frustrated at the same spot in relationships? Do you find fault with your girlfriend when you are in social situations? Do you get grumpy and not want to talk through challenges? Do you avoid conflict or try to “win” when you fight? Do you feel challenged in your relationship after the honeymoon period wears off?
All of this requires you to know yourself, deeply. And, it’s normal to have these feelings in any relationship. It is, in fact, realistic love and it’s part of being
human. So, when you ask, “Is she the one?” be honest about what you are expecting. Do you want perfect, blissed-out love from an imperfect woman? Once you begin to see the difference, you can make mature, conscious choices about the woman you are with.
Realistic love is the path back to the true love you hunger for. If you want to grow as a man, choose realistic love and know that you will experience moments of true love all along the way.