I keep seeing all of these articles and messages and “concrete ideas” about what men and women have to do to be date-able. These things tend to be rather gender-oriented, usually specific to the writer’s pet-peeves and generally present a negative way of thinking of yourself in the context of wanting to be in a relationship. Now, of course, sweeping generalizations for the entire population of human beings will inevitably yield falsehoods for some people, and I respect and understand that, just as I expect that you understand it would be absolutely impossible for me to talk about every single thing every person was looking for in a relationship… ever. I merely mean to discuss what most people are really after. The things that matter. This does not apply to every kind of relationship, of course. Some people are just looking for someone to have sex with, maybe a short-term fling, maybe a forever-deal. But regardless, here are some simple things that we can’t forget in the vortex of everything we “should” and “shouldn’t” be:
1. I used the pronoun “they” in the headline because here’s the deal: some people like women and some people like men and some people like both and some people like neither. Beyond that, being a “man” and a “woman” are really societally contrived ideas that few people flawlessly fall into– not without a little personal turmoil, anyway. So the idea of what men want and what women want is largely false by the fact that sex and gender is not so simply divided. You can be as much of a man or as much of a woman or as much of neither or as much of both as you damn well please and I promise you, there will be someone out there who is looking for just what you are. Sounds a bit idealistic? You’re feeling a little unsure? Give it time, my friend. We’re all non-believers until it happens to us.
2. We are all looking for the X factor, the magic, the unexplainable-don’t-know-why-you-drive-me-crazy-with-love-but-you-do factor. We are no longer following in our ancestors’ footsteps of marrying the first person we date or settling down because it’s expected. Some people find this earlier than others, and happen to fall into the preconceived conventions of what life should look like and hey, good for you, I’m happy for you. But for most of us, it takes time to work out our own issues, get a grasp on this “loving ourselves” business and then sift through people until we finally find the right one. But the most important thing about this is that sometimes, it just isn’t there, and you’ll usually be conflicted about it because it will seem as though everything else about this person is perfect except that gut feeling just isn’t coming forth. If someone leaves you over this, don’t shower yourself in a perpetual hate bath of why you’re not good enough. They are doing you a favor. I cannot say that intently enough.
3. People want someone they can trust. Someone who will listen to them, who will talk with them, who will enjoy the often mundane day-to-day activities that inevitably come with a relationship. Someone who will be kind, understanding, willing to accept an imperfect person, and to work on things when they inevitably need to be worked on. This is the kind of person that most people take the most pride and assurance in being in a relationship with. It is more important than how gorgeous you are. It is more important than how much money you make. It is more important than the things that are fleeting.
4. Above all else, people want to love and be loved. To be accepted for who they are and not who they may one day be. People want to be someone that rearranges how a person thinks their story will unfold rather than fit into the preconceived character that they had imagined. There is a certain sense of security that comes with someone saying you can tell me anything and you know it’s true. Someone proclaiming that they love you not in spite of all your little embarrassing quirks you tried to hide but because of them. These things are not as complicated as people make them out to be. Because what people want out of a relationship is to have something in their lives that makes them happy… whatever “happy” means to them.