Two articles that came out recently caught my interest:
This one, which talks about the problem with women who are single: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracy-mcmillan/why-youre-not-married_b_822088.html and this one, which talks about men caught in perpetual arrested development which is what makes women frustrated with most men: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704409004576146321725889448.html?mod=e2fb
Valentine’s Day is long over, but for a good portion of my life, I have noticed that people–myself included–have had a very difficult time being without a relationship. The rush to be with someone else to validate themselves, the desire to dress up, go out, do things that they would not ordinarily do in order to attract the right mate all indicate that they want to give off the mating call, but not demonstrate that they are worthy of mating. If anything, they have this strange misunderstanding that if they find someone to be with, they can love themselves because someone else appreciates them.
One problem with this is that the reason they remain single is because either a) they aren’t giving off the mating signal even if they are worthy, sometimes by inability to know how to give off the signal, or b) they truly are not worthy of attracting a mate because they have yet to demonstrate their worthiness. In the case of people who fall into the latter category is that upon being with someone (who is likely from the same category), they are with them trying to fill in a void of emptiness within themselves to complete them, resulting in common issues like co-dependency and leading to strings of bad relationships. In addition to this, eventually, one or both of them discover that they don’t have what it takes to stay together, whether it is one boy’s juvenile behavior and lack of responsibility, or a girl’s unrealistic expectations and lack of appreciation.
After some reflection, I’ve decided to remain single by choice. The first part of it is because I have high standards and low expectations. These are not just high standards for the potential young lady whose affections I seek, but also for myself, because I seek to improve myself. What good is being with the right one if you can not give her as much as she deserves? I am not so pompous and ego-centric to feel that no woman is good enough for me; no: I’m just not going to rush into a relationship until I find someone who can be my equal, not strive to one-up me or be subservient to me. Likewise, I need to better myself so that I am a complete person, not looking for an emptiness to be filled in, but having something to offer an equally-complete person so that we both add rather than exchange what we have for what the other one is missing–this creates a lot of expectations and angst in my previous experience.
Another reason I’m staying single now is that I believe it is better to be single than to be in a bad relationship. Intellectually, we all know that it’s not good to be with people who have too many expectations of us, are constantly criticizing us for not being what they want, and just not appreciating us for who we are. Simple response: drop those expectations, because the moment you expect something or feel entitled to it, the easier you are to disappoint and get upset; stop criticizing without giving them suggestions to improve, because you’re just hurting their feelings and not telling them how to avoid it; and learn to accept and appreciate what you do have rather than what you don’t.
Furthermore, if you don’t like what you have, be with someone who has that which you seek instead of trying to change that person: I wasn’t happy with one of my materialistic, cheating, unappreciative, lazy ex-girlfriend, and my big mistake was that by trying hard enough, I could get her to be less materialistic, loyal, loving, and hardworking too, and from that experience, the responsible attitude is to say I should have chosen to either appreciate her for who she is, or to be with someone else who has what I want rather than expecting it from someone like her who will never change. A girl once said “Oh, I’m too selfish, I’m too young to know, that’s why I don’t want to commit to him” does not actually know she’s selfish and immature, it’s actually her way of excusing her behavior and expecting others to adapt instead of doing the right thing: being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and making equal effort.
Why do we want to be loved and appreciated by people who don’t care? Three simple questions for whether or not I should be in a relationship come down to this: 1) what can I offer her, 2) what can she offer me, and 3) what can the relationship offer to both of us? One thing I don’t want from someone else is to be loved for who I’m not–I’d rather be hated for who I am instead. This is not meant to say that I can be pompous and juvenile, take me or leave me, it means that I am a man of ideals and values, integrity and individuality.
Why do we hate others when we are angry with them, yet love them when they make us feel good by having sex with us or buying us things? That is not love, that is conditional affection, and I don’t want any of that. My goal is to be the best me that I can, to constantly improve, and to be around those who share the same value rather than trying to expect that of those who don’t or force them to change.
I have finally learned to love myself, respect myself, and appreciate myself. I am not out to ask for other people to approve of me or if they agree with what I see, because I have enough confidence in myself to say that I am finally on the path to becoming the man I want to be. I have not yet reached the goal, because this path to perfection requires me to constantly improve. Why seek the approval of others when I cannot even approve of myself? That is a mode of thinking to break out of, wonderfully expanded upon here: http://artofmanliness.com/2010/07/18/stop-living-for-the-approval-of-women/
So where does this all lead up to? I’m not saying don’t be with other people, I encourage dating as much as possible–I just don’t encourage jumping into relationships. Dating for me allows me to get out there and refine and redefine myself, as well as test others for whether or not they meet those standards, as well as prepare me for the right person. I’m not going to date every girl who bats an eye at me, but I will definitely talk to her and see if the both of us may share some common ground or enjoy an activity together.
Until then, I need to be a better man for myself, have fun, and go on adventures. If the right girl comes along and both of us feel right for one another, then we shall see how well I’ve done during this time spent on me translates to time spent on each other.