Since shortly after my most recent relationship ended, I have been presented with opportunities to set boundaries with women who want to date me. It’s been illuminating.
I realize that up until now, I’ve basically gone out with women (and men, when I was doing that) who had one feature in common – they wanted to go out with me. Usually, they initiated the relationship. There have been very very few women where I was interested, pursued them and we dated. This is even true of the avoidant gals.
Of course they wanted to go out with me – aside from being a genuinely a nice person, reasonably attractive and confident, I’m a people pleaser – I’m very skilled at making people feel comfortable.
I realize, that if I’m honest with myself, a lot of them had dealbreakers transparently displayed, right in my face, early in the relationship and I — stepped over them. I don’t think it’s that I attract women who are ultimately not a fit for me, but that I fail to deflect women who are ultimately not a fit for me.
Well, I’m changing that. I am on a kick (hopefully a lasting trend) of facing reality head on. If a woman works too much — dealbreaker. If she’s not interested in a serious partnership – dealbreaker. If she uses substances that get her high on the regular — dealbreaker. Politely, clearly, I say this isn’t a fit for me and I move on. And it’s been going really well.
But it’s not just about dealbreakers – it’s about the hazelnut.
I love ice cream. I will eat many flavours of ice cream and enjoy them. If presented a choice between my least favourite flavour of ice cream – licorice – and no ice cream at all, I would eat the licorice, enjoying the cool creaminess and the crunchy cone. But in my life, I have been in a lot of licorice ice cream relationships, because I figured any ice cream was better than no ice cream.
My favourite flavour is hazelnut. I went to Italy once and every gelato place I stopped at, I had hazelnut ice cream. It’s yummy and subtle and perfect. If someone is going to be my life partner, shouldn’t she be hazelnut?
So I’ve decided first off that – it has to be hazelnut. And second – that I have to do my own shopping for ice cream.
I may not be everyone’s favourite flavour – particularly now that I am doing my best to have boundaries. I may be a little bland for some, too sharp for others, too large or too sweet or not sweet enough. And that’s fine. I’ll have to deal with that. But I’m going to go out and actively meet women who are potentially a fit and take my shot.
It has to be hazelnut. Not just not licorice. No dealbreakers, but it goes beyond that. It’s probably not rocket science to the non-survivors out there, but the concept of insisting on dating someone who is a great fit for me and not just interested and a good person is something I don’t even know to articulate yet except in this one way. Smart and tactile and devoted and connected and safe and attractive and sexy and available with actual common interests and values. Yes, but more than that —
She has to be hazelnut.