Who Wants What?

January 4, 2017, San Diego- In the course of conversation today, a subject that always seems to come to the fore, when talking with unmarried young men,and sometimes with those who ARE wed, occupied a fair amount of time:  What do women actually WANT?

My answer to that has emerged over about three decades- Basically, people all want the same three things:  Respect, a sense of autonomy and a measure of security.   No one really wants to feel set up, used or unappreciated.  This seems to sometimes be falling on deaf ears, to a person who feels alone. Actually, though, the lonely man and the woman who falls into the waiting arms of a man who will disrespect her, or worse, are more alike than they each seem to think.

Sometimes, both are impatient, regarding life as something that is passing them by.  The lonely man, especially if he is kind, generous, hard-working and family-oriented, sees a relationship/marriage as the one thing he needs to complete his life.  The settling woman, especially if she has been sheltered, places autonomy, and an emotional challenge, over the fawning attention of one who is love-struck.  Yet, she, too, sees a relationship, however flawed, as the one thing she needs to complete her life.

Both seek validation of their view of self, as well.  The man who sees himself as virtuous and protective, can’t understand why women tell him that he isn’t their “type”.  The woman who sees herself as either unworthy of respect, or, conversely, as too sheltered, can’t understand why men don’t present a coarser, or at least less solicitous, demeanor.  These attitudes start way back in middle-childhood, sometimes earlier. They have something to do with parenting, as well as with broader socialization. (There are also exceptions to every rule.)

I learned, after so many years as a fulminating, unsettled young adult, in my late teens and twenties, that “You’re not my type” is as much of an excuse,as “Women are such jerks about relationships”.  In looking for answers to my own predicament, I met, and listened to, several downcast people, of both genders.  It became obvious that, if I wanted to meet one who would be my mate, for life, I would have to truly absorb her reality- past experiences, present circumstances, future dreams.  This happened to me, as so often happens, when I felt genuinely ready for a relationship, while having no idea with whom.  I met Penny two weeks later, we discussed all the above issues, and more, over 29 years, and I developed a real sense of what mattered to both of us.

Egos are fragile.  Life is fluid.  Everyone deserves respect, the right to pursue their dreams and a measure of security.  I wish all my  friends, especially my young friends, a wellspring of all three.

14 thoughts on “Who Wants What?

  1. chuckles softly. . I shall to dedicate The Frantics – “Tae Kwon Leap” to myself in between the dream that is the next blog.. “I when are you gonna show me the moves so I can start trashing bozos? I got the Pajamas.”

  2. I think that this could be written with all the genders switched, too. I think that both men and women look for what they individually see as ‘happiness,’ which can be summarized as respect and security — I’m not so sure about autonomy. I further think that the best relationships happen serendipitously, in most cases the less one is ‘on the hunt,’ the better the meetings.

    • Bingo! The crashing failure of bars and clubs, and the dicey nature of dating sites, is due to the natural tendency of people to approach each other in a very guarded way, in such settings. By autonomy, I mean the need people have to make chart their own courses, and to have their individual dreams recognized and encouraged.

  3. I have a lot of older singles who stay and also visit at our house. They have good relationships with each other and they like to just hang around and be at home in our house. I enjoy that. I realize that there are many unhappy married people who would have made their lives much less complicated by staying single and not involving little children in their broken dreams. I read this earlier but was on a traveling sort of time and didn’t get around to reading it slowly. I think all of us are complicated yet simple. 🙂

    • Yes, that’s the beauty of it- complicated, yet simple. My house in Phoenix was like yours is- lots of young people hung out there, it made my wife’s last years a smidgen less onerous.

  4. I began a book last night about synchronicity. An initial theme is that when the learner is ready, the teacher will come. I think this applies to your thoughts here. Probably in a couple ways, in fact.
    Relationships are hard. People don’t like to do hard things anymore.

  5. This piece I can completely relate to. Actually quite agree with much if not all you’ve expressed especially how we all seek “Respect, a sense of autonomy and a measure of security”. As far as finding an ‘ideal’ I’m happy that you got to experience that and for some 29 years too. I hope to have similar luck. I particularly like how you concluded this post and I wish you the same kind sir.

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