Mr. Right, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Good Enough

Recently, author Lori Gottlieb sparked controversy, thanks to her advice to women about choosing “Mr. Good Enough” instead of waiting for “Mr. Right”. After the onslaught of women accusing her of advocating “settling”, she answered that what she really meant was that too many women have stupid requirement and expectations, making it completely impossible to find a life partner. (See original article here)

She was right, really. Some women are too picky. How many of us know people (including ourselves) who have ditched a guy after the first date because of some odd quirk? At the same time, we complain when we’re on the receiving end of such quick judgment. The truth is, you need to give someone a chance before you can really get to know them.

Let’s look at an example:

James and I had a lot in common. We grew up in the same town and knew a lot of the same people. We had never met as kids, but later on, towards the end of college, we met online. Here comes the first date. We had a nice time talking over milkshakes for about an hour. At the end of the date, he walked me to my car, gave me a little hug and got the door for me. I said my polite “this was fun,” and I meant it. I just wasn’t sure if I would give him a second date. Sure, he was nice. He was a gentleman. He paid the bill and opened the doors. We had a similar childhood and had the same religious beliefs. To top it off, he was extremely good-looking. What was the problem?

I wasn’t sure if I felt a spark. I wasn’t sure if we would have much to talk about. I wasn’t sure that we would enjoy the same things. I wasn’t sure if his good manners were just a show. I wasn’t sure if our different levels of education would become a problem down the road.

Still, I was intrigued. I did want to find out the answers to my questions. I knew he would probably be a nice friend to have. I just wasn’t sure that I could date him. So what did I do?

I decided to tell him that I wasn’t ready for a relationship. But, we enjoyed each other’s company so we went out a few more times, as friends. Then came “date” number 3, when the sparks finally hit full-force and we ended up kissing goodnight and planning DATE number 4. We’ve been very happy ever since.

I’m not 100% perfect, and neither is James. We’re human, after all. My mom always told me, don’t look for the guy who is without fault. Look for the guy who has faults that you can live with. Give a guy a chance. You never know how happy can be until you try.

(Of course, many women, especially young ones, make the mistake of dealing with WAY too many faults in a partner, thanks to their insecurity. See Are College Relationships Detrimental for Women?)

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3 Steps to a Perfect Valentine’s Day (or any date, really)

Valentine’s Day 2010 was a smash-hit… probably thanks to “Snowmageddon”. Being snowed in for over a week and not being able to see James for almost 2 weeks wasn’t too much fun. But it did make Valentine’s day even more special. For future reference, however, I’ve realized that there are 3 easy steps for a perfect valentine’s day, or any memorable date, for that matter.

1. Do something different for a change

James picked me up in the morning and took me to brunch at this fun French place in Columbia, MD called “Cafe de Paris”. Very original, I know, but the owner really is French, we met him, and French is clearly his first language. The decor was fun, faux plaster/stucco-ish walls with vintage French posters and big comfy red leather couches. The Crepe Cafe was the section of the place that served breakfast. I had a crepe filled with eggs and ham, and James had one with brie, tomatoes, and onions. The onions were a little heavy and he didn’t like it very much, but he was a good sport about it, and I gave him some of mine.

2. Have a thoughtful and heartfelt surprise planned

The best surprise of Valentine’s day this year was the gift James gave me. He made a CD of all the love songs he sings to me in the car. You know, those classic 90’s love songs like Brian McKnight’s “Back at One” and All 4 One’s “I Swear” (best re-make in pop history, in my opinion). I love it. He couldn’t have done anything else that would have made me so happy. What made it so great was that it really means something to us. He was so thoughtful.

3. Make it clear, you love spending time together

After brunch, we spent the day together. We ended up going to the mall and walking around for a while, before heading back to my house just to hang out. Sometimes it’s really nice just to be together. Later on around 7:30 we watched a movie and ate pizza for dinner. Maybe that doesn’t sound special, but it’s the attitude that matters. Sometimes there’s nothing better than cuddling on the couch with take-out. Love stories aren’t about fancy restaurants and expensive presents. They’re about hearts.♄

From a B.S. in Engineering to an MRS in Housewifery – Are College Relationships Detrimental for Women?

Recently, I was discussing the problematic side of college relationships with a coworker over lunch. Both of us had seen people in college who were involved in detrimental and even abusive relationships during their undergrad years. Having personally experienced the phenomenon of college dating gone disastrously wrong, I’ve been contemplating this topic for some time.

Having recently graduated from college, college relationships are still fresh in my memory. In the last year I’ve seen many of the last lingering connections break apart, while a select few have taken a turn down Wedding Bell Lane. With college dating, there are two situations that strike me as more perilous than all others. One is when a college girl is suffering emotional, verbal, or physical abuse, and the other is when a college girl gets married right after graduation, before taking more time to herself to discover what she truly wants out of life in terms of non-marital aspects such as career, style of living, other dreams, etc. This second situation is scarier than the first, but the absolute worst is when both scenarios are combined – abused girl marries the worthless s.o.b. without ever learning what truly makes her happy.

I know this is scary – it almost happened to me, as well as several other girls I knew. It happened without us even realizing what was going on until it was almost too late. The men involved didn’t seem bad from the start. The lowest SAT score among them was a 1230 (old version). They were all model students and, theoretically,  moral and/or religious. READ – Perfect bait for young, naive, academically intelligent Catholic women.

We fell for these men that nearly ruined us. In the beginning, we thought they were heaven-sent. And maybe they were, maybe it was God’s way of teaching us about people. But the way these relationships ended up looking was awful. Bright, intelligent women started falling into the shadow of egotistical know-it-all men. Oh yes, they knew you were smart, but no way were you as smart as them. They were always right. And they wanted you to know it.

As these relationships progressed, a sort of inter-dependency developed. You had breakfast, lunch, and dinner together every day as a couple. You did homework together and watched TV together every night, sometimes for years. Too much time “playing house” and not enough time on actual DATES where you could more easily discover the truth. You started loosing interest in yourself, your dreams, your likes and dislikes, and became this person’s little “quasi-wife” who’s only ambition was to raise his children while he attended law school by borrowing money from mom and dad. You could lie to yourself and say “well BOTH of us are going to grad school,” but if you’re married and conservative Catholic, someone’s education and career is going to take precedence, and it ain’t gonna be yours.

The worst part of all this was that people latched on to each other for no good reason, and, they would try their hardest to stay together no matter what. And whenever someone considered breaking up, all of the fellow college friends would jump in to try and help save the relationship, as if it was a marriage or something.

Since it was a Catholic school, most of the students believed in abstinence until marriage. As a result, many of these couples began planning wedding dates almost from the beginning. People got married as soon as possible, often with sex as a major motivation, rather than taking time to get their lives together and discover themselves. The silliest was often when people would get married and then plan on attending grad school together (problematic for obvious reasons stated above).

With so much pressure from their friends, their emotional investments, their environment, their fairytale hopes, and their naivetĂ©, it’s a wonder that any of these women go on to break the chains of the bad relationship and live happily ever after with other, more mature men.

When girls end up stuck in these relationships and marry right after graduation, they lose their chance to really explore their options. Even if you KNOW he’s the one, you should still wait a bit  and experience post-college life first in order to be sure. Yes you can live dreams together after you’re married, but once you’re married, you’re stuck.

Admittedly, this rant is not as well-organized or thought-out as I would like it to be, but I think you get the general idea. Girls get caught up in “romances” that result in them loosing their will to make something of themselves and be truly happy. I’m not knocking marriage at all. I hope to be married one day, but to the right guy. In fact, I wouldn’t mind getting married in a year or two, but I’d want to be damn sure I would have a good life with him. No more of this loosing my dreams to become someone’s 19th century housewife.

Maybe I’ll write more about this later, maybe not. But it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed in our society. Young girls going into college need to be made aware of what could happen. College is about YOU and YOUR dreams. Even if your dream is to be a wife and raise kids, you need other things to be a complete person. If you haven’t discovered what those are yet, then it’s definitely not time to get your MRS.

What do you guys think about this? What have your experiences been with college relationships?