Saturday, April 16, 2011

How Do You Know: Recognizing the One

How Do You Know is the name of a movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Reese’s character struggles with romantic relationships and in turn falls in with a professional baseball player played by Owen Wilson. What’s not to like? Gorgeous guy, who showers her with gifts all the while he doesn’t quite get her. Into her world walks a lovable ordinary guy played by Paul Rudd. Of course, Mr. Ordinary has lost his job, probably his career and faces the possibility of going to prison making him an absolute babe magnet. I think you all know where this is going. Mr. Ordinary gets the girl because he “gets” her.

I have been faithful to my mantra: I date for fun, not to find the one. When do things change and how do you know they changed? Dr. Terri Orbuch’s, social psychologist, latest findings do show that men really are more romantic than women. They fall faster for their mates. In fact, most of the courtship is spent by the man trying to win the woman over as opposed to the woman trapping the man. It makes me look at things in a whole different way.

It is actually very common for middle-aged men to suggest an exclusive relationship or even propose early in a relationship. I thought it had to do with they thought there was a shortage of appropriate women, but now I realize maybe men can make up their minds a lot quicker than women about every aspect of dating. I once hesitated dating a man because we belonged to different political parties. I’m sure that thought never crossed his mind once. We did go out and politics were never mentioned.

Women can be cautious about dating. We want to know the man’s entire dating history and summaries of previous marriages which is usually solicited on the first date. Ugh, does any man stand a chance with that attitude. So I decided to date for fun, not worry about a man’s past or his future prospects. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’re talking about denying years of training. Ultimately, I would like to be in an exclusive relationship even if it doesn’t last my lifetime. So it is hard not to analyze every action for hidden meanings.

Instead I wonder how will I know? I will be honest and say I am being wined and dined by my choice of the upward geek demographic. They are amazingly creative in their efforts to impress me. One day I am blown away by one of my beaus, but the next day a different one does something amazingly sweet. My attention and affection switches to whatever one I’m with and all three of them are great guys. Then something unusual happened.

When I check my email or texts, I scroll down looking for a message from one particular guy. When I see it , my heart leaps, I read it, smile, read it again, and finally save it so I can read it again. It is no secret to any of the men that I am dating other men. In turn, I expect them to date other women. I want them to date other women, really. I know that sounds weird. I think it keeps them from becoming too serious too soon, except for this one fellow.

He really doesn’t need to date other women because they won’t treat him right or maybe they will and I’m afraid of that too. Oddly, if I admit it to myself I am becoming possessive over a man I am not even in an exclusive relationship with. I wonder if I were a man if I would have declared myself by now, but I haven’t. Then there is the question if the man feels more at ease around me because there are no strings. Ah, men, relationships, there are always complications. What to do? The more conflicted I seem to be the more men ask me out. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Instead, I’m starting to refuse men I would normally love to date. My attitude has changed from I rather be at spinning class if not with him. As for his attitude toward me, he let me know early on that I was the only woman he was pursuing. Most of you wonder why do I hesitate? Why don’t I just say what we both suspect?

Fear. I’ve been wrong before. I paid the price in both tears and years. Not looking forward to that scenario again. So I push decision making to the back of my mind while I allow another hopeful man to do his best to impress me while trying not to think of who I’d rather be with. What I am trying to do is give “us” time. Too many people rush into relationships even marriage without knowing one another.

A number of articles recommend waiting at least a year before deciding to date each other exclusively. We joke about the world ending in 2012 and maybe we should keep that in mind. It’s only been three months, I have another nine to go. I’m not sure if I have nine months in me. It is amazing the difference it makes when someone “gets” you. I have been so fortunate to date upbeat, intelligent men who are quick with a compliment or a car door, but they seldom know who I am. All they know is I’m pleasant, often witty, can dress and putt reasonably well. Sometimes I wonder if that is all they want to know.

I think the question has changed from how do you know to what do you do when you know. I’d love to hear your answers.


  1. Hi Morgan. If the question is one for yourself, I think you already know the answer but you mentioned fear and it's a powerful force. I've been married (2nd time) for 17 years and really don't miss the dating scene although when I was dating, I've always preferred monogamous relationships but being the romantic I am, I began the search for my one soul-mate in first grade. LOL. I think most know where they're going but it's a tough world and people are tired of getting hurt but that's a subject for another day. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Morgan, This post really gets to me. I love your honesty...By God, I'd date you if I were a man! LOL. I dated several men...a couple of them multiple times, for several years. I could have gotten married to either of two of them and been "reasonably" happy. Somehow, even at 26, I realized it wasn't the man who was in charge of making me happy. It was myself. From that time onward, I looked for other things in the guys I dated...Mostly how they respected and communicated with me. How they supported me and asked me about my dreams. How they had dreams of their own. What kind of father I think they would be. I thought about what kind of person I wanted to grow old with...
    I told myself the man I would marry would be worth the wait. And he was. My husband is not perfect, but he's my prince. As you say, he "gets" me. I had to kiss a lot of frogs, but boy was he worth the wait. I don't know if that helps you any, but I just wanted to put out there that it's more than the things they do and say...the butterflies and lust aside, it's about a feeling of coming home when you're with that person. Knowing that they're going to put you first. That's what I was waiting for anyway. That's how I knew he was the one. :) Fantastic post!

  3. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for stopping by. In a copy writing class I took I read people were motivated by fear to buy most products. Sometimes they were afraid if they didn't buy certain products they wouldn't be liked. I guess it isn't too surprising to find fear can't keep us from certain actions too.

  4. Thanks Misty. I was watching a movie starring Andy Griffith and he was advising a younger man what to look for in a mate, a companion as opposed to a lover. Someone you would know when you found her and know when you lost her. I like your coming home analogy too. I am glad for you and your sweetie.