Monthly Archives: December 2010

To be loved or to be wanted?

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I thought I’d take it a little further and explore the underlying motivations of some of the relationships I’ve experienced and/or observed. I was never the guy who went on lots of dates. I’d mostly approach girls who I found attractive and could see the potential for something long term. But there are some people who get into a relationship, not because they are looking for love, but are desperate for affirmation. They are satisfied with being wanted and not loved. And the fact that this person wants them is enough upon which to base a relationship. Even if, in many cases, it is destined to fail because of the shaky foundation.

Of course there is a huge difference between being LOVED and simply being WANTED.

To have someone LOVE you means that they’ve committed to accept you; this imperfect person with all of your relationship baggage, emotional filters and family dynamics because they’ve identified something within you that makes you someone they’d rather not live without.

To have someone WANT you means that you are more akin to a possession. It’s not so much about who you are, but rather what you represent. You’re an award, proof that the person is capable of being with someone (anyone), or perhaps you provide the person with bragging rights or some increased level of prestige. And depending on your previous experiences, either with family or prior relationships, you find this acceptable.

If you settle for just being wanted, it can leave you feeling empty, unsatisfied and undervalued. But many people see being wanted as a means to an end. Some of the women that I’ve spoken to are in their early 20s and are afraid that if they don’t settle for something now, they’ll have nothing later. They erroneously believe that a relationship built on being WANTED can become one based on LOVE. Unfortunately, shallow relationships rarely, if ever, achieve any depth beyond their initial superficial existence.

However, I can tell you unequivocally that LOVE is worth waiting for. My amazing wife, whom I absolutely adore and thank God for every day, was 34 years old when she married me. That would seem late to some people, but we’re going on almost 7 years strong and have 2 (soon 3) beautiful children. It was well worth the broken road that led me to her.  So don’t sell yourself short because of a false perception that you’re running out of time. Because this kind of fulfilling love will make the rest of your life feel like an eternity.

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The Seeds of Bad Relationships

I’ve had the privilege of knowing some awesome women who over the years have given me an earful of priceless information from the female perspective.  Some of them are in great relationships, while others are still searching or are enduring bad relationship for the sake of saying they’re in one.

One thing that I find interesting is that in all of these cases, to be loved was of the highest priority.  I don’t mean sexually (it’s sad, but without that disclaimer some people would assume as much).  It seems that from childhood women seek affirmation through expressions of love.  Whether it be gifts, or letters, or time spent together… the underlying desire is to be loved.

Material things aside, many of the women I know said they would be happy knowing that someone thinks they are the most wonderful, most beautiful person in the world.  This loves needs to be demonstrative, without any ulterior motives.  They want to feel needed and special.  They want to be a priority in someone’s life.

Some of the women I know said that their rebellion as teenagers had more to do with their feelings of being unwanted, unaccepted and unattractive more so than just getting into trouble.  I was told that if someone had loved them, the way they needed to be loved… they would be very different people.

I recognize the affects on women who grew up without a father or whose mothers were inattentive.  Some of them have dealt with it, others are still struggling to come to terms with it.  Sadly, it affects their current relationships with both men and women.  Some have confided in me that it seems hard to find a good man because they run at the first indication that any of them possess any characteristics similar to their absentee fathers or estranged mothers.  Friends who exhibit these traits are ceremoniously dismissed as well.

I think both men and women truly want to be loved, though we may act otherwise.  Men are just more prone to hide this fact than women.  I’m rambling… this happens after I’ve had conversations with friends.

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What You Want vs. What You Say You Want

Before I got married, I had one of those Male/Female Perspective discussions with a female acquaintance of mine who was venting about the (supposed) unavailability of good men. She exclaimed in prime cliché form that “All the good ones are either married or gay!” I looked at her with a frown and she quickly added, “Other than you…  but you don’t count.” *sigh*  The same familiar ol’ story I’d heard before… but I digress…

Anyway, I let that one go, and decided to ask her, “So what do YOU consider a good man to be?” She started listing the characteristics that she would like to find in the perfect man and I stopped her, “Um… excuse me, but you said a good man.  You said nothing about a perfect man.  Besides, perfect men do not exist and if you’re seriously looking for someone, you need to be honest about your expectations.”

She agreed and said that the ideal man (I conceded that adjective after some debate) would have a good job, no debt other than normal expenses, his own car, and mature.  He also needs to be strong like a man should be (whatever THAT means) in every way, be able to fix cars and take out the garbage…  I kinda trailed off as she got into the trivial details of how he should be able to open pickle jars and shovel snow for her, etc…

I could understand her desire for those qualities in a man, but I’m of the opinion that you should be real about the practical side of things.  I mean, come on… will you ever really have snow to shovel in Los Angeles?… and is there anyone in California who has NO debt?  I mean, some rich people actually have more debt (total amount) than poor people.

After some thought, she sighed and said… “Honestly… I just want him to be sensitive to my needs, compassionate to others, driven to succeed, and most of all… hopelessly in love with me.  If he had those qualities, I think everything else would fall into place.” I smiled and said, “I have no doubt that it would.”

Isn’t that what we all want from the person with whom we choose to share our lives?  Blessed are those people who find it… recognize it for the priceless gift it is… and hold onto it no matter who or what may come.  I am fortunate to have joined the ranks of the blessed.

For those who are still looking, what do you really want?
Not in a perfect sense, but in a practical sense.

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