I don’t want to walk this world alone. Like Caine in Kung Fu.
Most likely, I will one day be in a serious relationship again and perhaps even married.
I was at parenting class the other day.
The most noteworthy thing I heard during the three-hour class was this:
1. First marriages involving children end in divorce 50 percent of the time. Yeah, I already know that one. It’s pathetic.
2. Second marriages involving children end in divorce 75 percent of the time. Whoa.
I truly thought the conventional wisdom was that it’s easier to make marriage work the second time around. After learning many of the things that didn’t work the first time, making better choices about who you want your partner to be as well as identifying mistakes in our own behavior not to be made in future relationships.
But, damn. Three out of four doomed to fail? I can hardly stomach the idea of doing this a second time.
I’d like to tell you there’s absolutely no way I’d ever let that happen. But I already said that once. And it turns out I was completely full of shit. Or naïve. Or stupid. Or some combination.
Revisting Fishing With Mandy
In my first Fishing With Mandy post, I tell the story of a woman I know who believes Mandy—a very simple girl in Texas who spends all of her free time fishing—is her husband’s dream girl.
And it got me thinking: What does my dream girl look like? Like, if I wrote it all down? What would be my equivalent of Fishing with Mandy?
I also asked these two questions at the end of the post, and I’ve been thinking about them ever since:
- Does defining your ideal mate close your mind to people who might actually be your perfect match?
- Does NOT defining your ideal mate keep you wandering aimlessly through the dating wasteland?
I believe in goal setting. I believe the most-direct route to achieving whatever it is you want to achieve in life is to be very specific about what it is you want. Write it down. Then take daily steps to get there.
So, while I wouldn’t want to get too militant and close-minded with my dream-girl parameters and miss out on someone really special just because she wasn’t a perfect match, I don’t see how it can hurt to identify that which is most important to me.
So, profiling my anonymous dream girl seems like a worthwhile exercise. I think I’ll do that.
What I Want in a Partner
Disclaimer: I reserve the right to come back and revise this. What I wanted when I was 16 was different than when I was 22. At 34, I don’t want the same things I wanted 12 years ago. But more importantly, I think I have a much firmer grasp on what it will take for me to have a healthy, loving, sustainable relationship with someone new. But something could change tomorrow. Things always change.
Let’s start with the most-important stuff and work our way down.
1. Personality – She must be kind. I’m fine with a little bitchiness once in a while—particularly if she’s been wronged somehow. We’re all human. I’m certainly capable of saying some pretty terrible things to other people when I witness atrocious driving. Example: “Are you fucking kidding me!?!? I know you have a raging boner for your pet goats you’re in such a hurry to get home to, but could you PLEASE try not to kill everyone on the way back to Beastiality Acres, Farmer SHITFACE!?!?!?”
I say things just like that.
It’s horrible, and I ask God to forgive me every time I speak that way. Which is about 5 percent of the time I’m in the car under normal driving conditions, and about 88 percent of the time I’m in the car if I happen to be driving in Florida. And you know what? I think God does forgive me, because I don’t think God approves of goats being treated that way.
Seriously, though. I am nice. And I think it matters. And I have a VERY low tolerance for mean people. Unless they are thoughtful, conscientious drivers just having a moment.
She also must be someone who can find humor in most any situation. They say laughter is the best medicine. And I can’t prove that wrong. I want to have fun and laugh with the girl of my dreams. I want to think she’s hilarious. And I want her to feel the same toward me.
2. Faith – I need her to have a moral code. I happen to be Catholic. Not a phenomenal one. But I care and try hard. I believe in Christian principles whenever I’m not in the car. Love people. Love yourself. Treat others as you want to be treated. Stuff like that. On the flipside, I don’t want her to be TOO Christian, because then I won’t be able to drink and have sex as often as I might want to. Goodness, I’m an asshole sometimes. BUT, I’m an asshole who believes in establishing a unified voice on subjects of morality for children and constantly striving to be the best people we can possibly be.
While I completely respect opposing viewpoints and can be friendly with those with whom I disagree, this one is non-negotiable. We need to mostly be on the same page. For one another. And for any children in our lives.
3. Education – She has to be smart. Hopefully smarter than me. I want to be able to talk to her about all of life’s most-important issues. I want to have philosophical conversations about serious things and unserious things, alike. Education doesn’t have to mean advanced college degrees or anything. There are many ways to be smart.
4. Sex – The foundation of my failed marriage was based on one where open and honest communication about sex was not properly established. It ended up being one of the things that drove us apart. That won’t happen again. My partner must have a sense of adventure. She must be willing to do it in the morning. On a table. In the kitchen. Two or three times per session.
If on a scale of 1-10, 1 is teenagers surprised to be having sex, and 10 is semi-scary Fifty Shades of Grey dom/sub dirtiness, my sex life needs to be like a 7.5 or 8. Dear Jesus, please don’t let my mother or grandmother ever read that. Amen.
5. Hobbies/Interests/Passions – I REALLY would like a partner that likes some of the things I like. My soon-to-be ex pretty much hated all the stuff I love. Music? Didn’t care. Poker? Hated it. Sports? Totally bored her. We had different tastes on movies. And food. And wine. And many other things. I need the next girl in my life to have similar hobbies, interests and passions to me. Not identical. But we’re going to have to share some if we want it to work. I think doing things together is important.
6. Attractiveness – At the risk of seeming superficial, this might be too low on the list. Especially when you consider the fact that a prerequisite to sex—at least for me—is physical attraction. I don’t mean for this to be superficial, though. I want to think the woman I love is beautiful. I want her to take my breath away once in a while when I see her from across the room, or when I wake up next to her. I don’t need other people to agree that she’s beautiful. I just need to think so. I absolutely love faces. There’s nothing more exquisite than a beautiful face. And my dream girl? She owns my favorite face in the world, outside of my son’s.
7. Politics/Life Philosophy – While I consider myself extremely pragmatic and quite willing to listen to opposing viewpoints, I choose not to have very many fundamental political differences with my future partner. I consider myself moderate with several right leanings—particularly on economic matters. Here’s the thing Person Who Wants to Help All People and Animals: I want to help all people and animals, too. It’s all part of my whole being-kind thing. You know what REALLY helps, though? Funding! Money to pay for stuff. Our federal government is extraordinarily shitty at making money. I think the idiots on the right are a little better at it than the idiots on the left.
8. Geography – I live in Ohio. And unless something totally unforeseen happens in the next 13 years—when I expect my son to graduate high school—I’m staying right where I am. I kind of have to. So, my dream girl has to live pretty close, or be willing to move here.
There are 3.5 billion females in this world, and I just narrowed my dream girl search down to approximately 0.1 percent of the female population.
I have a lot more thinking to do on this entire subject. But this is the beginning of establishing the parameters for who I want to spend the rest of my life with.
One of my best friends is encouraging me strongly to figure out EXACTLY who I want, and wait for her. She says I deserve it. And I think she’s probably right. And even if I don’t deserve it, settling for someone with whom I don’t believe I can spend forever with, doesn’t make sense to me anyway.
Dear dream girl,
I will wait for you.
I may get intoxicated and make out with a few randoms. I may continue to online date. I may make a bunch of other horrible decisions along the way. In fact, I almost guarantee I will. It’s kind of my thing.
But—whoever you are, wherever you are—I will wait for you.