If you're a single woman, I'm guessing there's not a relationship desire you could express beyond, "It would be really great if he didn't beat me," that someone can't shoot down as you being too picky. Finding a man, many will tell you, is about compromising yourself. A lot.
Now, don't get me wrong, being in a relationship, if I remember correctly, is definitely about compromise. And the longer you've been single the more challenging that can be. And if you were raised to subjegate yourself and your own needs to your partner, that can be even more challenging to navigate and stay healthy and true to yourself while being giving and compromising at the same time, especially in a society that isn't on your side. It's quite the dance, and if you're a romantic like me, you are forever up for throwing yourself out onto that dance floor and giving it a go.
But after ten plus years of dating in Los Angeles, I can't help but look back and feel that every dating disaster has been because I compromised something that was truly important to me. My early 40s have rapidly become dedicated to fighting the definition of insanity - to not doing the same things I've done for the last ten years and expecting different results. This has been incredibly challenging. And this includes dating.
I've known for a while now, the three things that are important to me in a relationship, and here they are:
1. FUN - I like to have fun. I like to regularly go out and have a good time, albeit listening to music, dancing, watching movies, dinners with friends, hiking, camping, biking, yoga, and sex, sex, sex. I need to be physically attracted to my partner, and I highly value physical affection. You'd think it goes without saying, but you'd be surprised.
Look, I don't care what a guy does for a living, I don't care if he owns a house, I don't care how much money he has, and I don't want to have kids. Tall, short, geeky smart, street smart, ethnicity, I don't care. I want to live in the city, I want to have fun, and I want to make movies.
I do not, by the way, make pornos of any kind. Let's just be clear on that.
But FUN, is the single most important thing I'm looking for in a relationship.
2. HEALTH - I care about my physical health, and I want to date someone for whom this is also a priority. Finding time to exercise, trying to eat healthy. Avoiding excessive drug use, and any drugs beyond marijuana, and avoiding regular excessive alcohol use and binging on fast food and other crap outside of special occasions.
Now, I'm human, and I'm currently over my healthy BMI, on Weight Watchers, have been known to get drunk off my ass, and am struggling to find time and energy to exercise. I'm not looking for physical perfection in a partner, just someone who wants to try with me to do the best we can, because it's important. Someone who also believes that unhealthy snacks don't belong in the home, and an In-and-Out run can be bliss - on rare occasions. Someone who enjoys physical activities and pushing to find the time to make them happen. Someone who wants to fight the beer belly (mine and his) for as long as we have breath.
3. SAFETY - I don't love that the word that works best for me here invokes thoughts of physical safety, because that's completely not what I mean. (Although, obviously, important.) I mean the feeling of safety that comes from love and affection and respect and open communication from a happy, positive person. I've spent a lot of time in relationships where I was teased and judged by negative men, and I would like to never do that ever again.
Some of what I struggle with here comes from me. I was cheated on in one of my first relationships in L.A., and though I'm loathe to admit it, I've been dealing with the reprecussions of that ever since. So, in this, I am working on being ever more trusting and friendly and loving and giving and open in ALL my relationships, so that I can be open to receive that as well.
Sometimes I date people and I feel nervous or inadequate for whatever reason. Sometimes I date people who tease me if I don't get a joke, or if I'm awkward. I don't want to be in that relationship. I have people in my life that I feel safe around. Who I've learned to really trust love me for who I am.
That's pretty amazing, and I want that from my romantic partner. I can be pretty hard on myself, so I'm really looking for a cheerleader, and someone who I can be a cheerleader for, too.
On the plus side, cheerleading is pretty fun, great exercise, and cheerleaders are usually pretty hot.
So, too much to ask? Too picky? The reason I'm still single?
Maybe. Although, like I said, I've been compromising on these things for ten years now, and here I am, single anyway.
So these are the things are really important to me, and to end with the cliche, I would - clearly - rather be single than give them up. Am I looking for the perfect man? No, I'm really not. Just perfect for me.