“You have to play the game”, I’ve been told. What game you ask? Well, apparently there is a notion out there that in this whole realm of dating thing that when you initially pique someone’s interest you should tone down your personality if you have a strong one. Admittedly, I have a strong personality, which I do for the most part keep in check, but if I’m asked a question I respond with honesty; I’m told when people meet me they either love me or hate me, and there’s really no in between. I’m not sure if I’m to be happy or sad about this.
I was brought up in a household where women were not the weaker sex, in fact, my father had a hand in raising me in such a way where I was taught to be independent and shouldn’t fit into gender roles that required the need for a man; I was taught about tools, minor renos, home repair, and automotive repair. Having a man in my life is a want, not a requirement being raised in such a way. Therefore, I’ve always had a strong independent streak. Don’t get me wrong, I was also taught about equality, and partnership, etc. But, I’m wondering if this independent streak has perhaps carried a bit too far and put up a barrier to finding a partner? I’m not a super powered feminist in-your-face personality either. I’m me, I’m comfortable with me, and I’m self aware; I never imagined these traits as obstacles.
I was told recently that when I meet a man, I have to “play the game”, not be so forward in my wants and what I was looking for, and to make him think that he was needed. Is this really what men want? I always thought ideally that a partnership should be wanted, not needed. I realized long ago that codependency was not healthy and make it a point to not attract people that desired this. But it’s been also suggested to me that the “laying all the cards on the table” approach is not necessarily desired by men either. Or maybe just not by the type of men that I’ve encountered thus far perhaps?
A very dear friend told me that he felt badly for me; this friend being in his fifties said he empathized with me because he knew that I hoped to find that special person and have a family one day, but I scared men that were my age, and therefore would attract men that were a bit older than myself and probably finished their “baby making days”. I was almost offended at this impression from someone who I thought to be my friend, telling me I scared people. He followed up by saying, no, it wasn’t an insult, but that more “seasoned” men would be better suited to put up with my strong personality because they’ve lived more and have most likely already come across it, and then proceeded to explain the male maturity level vs. age and the difference in relation to women. I get what he’s saying, although, I view age and maturity as two different things. I already knew that my desired Prince Charming had to be a mature (mentally, not necessarily in years) sort, because I’m at the point in my life where I’m looking to share and build. Comes with the territory of real, substantial relationships, no?
To shed some more light on this, I have no problem asking people about the impression I give and decided to do some research. I’ve had my mother (yes, you read that correctly – though I think with my age she may be starting to panic about the possibility of pending spinsterhood for me, so I try not to hold these statement against her, and neither should you, the woman wants grandbabies lol) tell me perhaps I shouldn’t be so direct and gain interest from a man first by being light, and then revealing the full brunt of who I am. And, I’ve had a friend tell me I’m probably scary (or intimidating, I think both words were used) to men that are around my age. During the time I was thinking about writing this article I asked a friend who I actually dated what his impression of me was, and though we had different wants in life and were not successful romantically we’ve still kept in touch as friends; he is a kind, great person and is nearing 40 in age to give you some background ; I realize this was possibly one of those “don’t ask a question you don’t want truthfully answered” scenarios, but I really am all about self learning, whether pleasant or unpleasant. So I asked him “from a male perspective, am I intimidating?”, explaining to him that he could be candid and honest, he knows I’m not easily offended and could even take criticism. Honesty was what I got in his response, and I quote: “The answer is more complicated than a yes or no. To some men who are looking for that light hearted, easy come easy go, 20 something, flighty girl, your confidence would be quite intimidating. Your life experience puts you in a bracket far above what some males are comfortable with. Men who have lived and are looking for someone to be an equal, you are perfect. But some guys have gotten used to being the dominant one who takes care of the lady or there are guys that stick around until they decide to trade her in for another model.. You do not fit either mold and they don’t know how to deal with that. This they confuse with intimidation.”
I’m not some hard ass though that doesn’t want to be looked after or treated as a lady, actually there’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind being doted on every now and then (what girl doesn’t enjoy the odd spoiling?) and to view my partner as the masculine protector/caregiver. But I’ll agree that I want to be viewed as an equal, not a lesser partner. Surely this isn’t an unrealistic expectation that would be causing a barrier in my love life (or starting of said love life)?
Anyhow, as I’ve said throughout this blog (and my life’s journey), I’m all about self exploration and realization. I analyze myself and do so in my writings (lucky you, you get to read them), and maybe I’ll gain insight that will assist me in finding Prince Charming… Or not finding Prince Charming, however the chips are to fall. Although, I feel better about attracting someone to me, and not some game of portraying a different version of myself. So, we’ll see how this goes.