Again today, as with so many days, I came upon a thread of women bitching about “no good men left.” As with so many of these threads on social media, relationship advice columns, and just general bitch-fests, there is a default consensus that there are no “good” men/women left to date and the people complaining are the only “decent” person in the world left to date.
Okay… so that is boring AF. But, I decided to meditate on the issue a bit here since I have had this conversation with so many folks in other forums. If you are really convinced there are “no good ones left” you should look at your assumptions, yourself and your life and figure out what your issues are.
1. There are good people left to date.
Pure and simple, there are plenty of “good” people left out there to date. The problem is, they are obscured in a sea of craptastic folks trolling dating sites and bars for sport. Additionally, your personal definition of “good person to date” is different than other people’s. This means, you may date someone perfectly ready and reasonable for a relationship, just not the kind you may be looking for. If all you do is complain and focus on the bad ones out there, the goods ones will hide from your vitriol and negativity.
2. Are you trying to date a list or a person?
Ask just about any single person what they are looking for in a date and they will give you a list of characteristics. Tall, thin, wealthy, good job, no kids, no issues, house of their own, car of their own, no arrest record, no baby mama’s still in the picture, willing to antique every other weekend, loves to kayak and go to Creed concerts. Whatever it is, most folks have a list.
The thing is, you are going to have to date a person and not a list. Your list may include your ideals, your fantasy qualities and your deal breakers. Often they include your fantasy person who is actually nothing like you! Remember, a person can look one way on paper and still not be your dream date.
I am not advocating for throwing everything out the window. We all have our deal breakers. Most of us don’t want someone convicted on domestic violence charges. Many of us are not looking to support someone financially from day one. Many of us are not okay with people who pursue lines of work which are blatantly illegal. The trick is, you need to figure out why you have limits and the difference between a limit and a preference.
For example, on one large polyamory discussion board, someone asked if anyone would date someone who had been in jail. Many people said absolutely not and offered no further explanation. Some suggested that it depended on the crime(s) they went to jail for, how long ago they were in jail, and what they were like now. Personally, I have no issue with someone who was picked up for carrying a bit of weed. I have cut off all contact with a person who made a date then had to postpone after he was arrested for beating someone into a coma into a bar. I am not okay with uncontrolled violent outbursts but if you got picked up for an ounce of weed… no biggie. [And if you bring that type of flower on a date, we are probably off to a good start.]
So ask yourself:
Why do I have this requirement on my list?
What is the requirement a symbol for in my relationships?
Is this a requirement, a desire, or just a fantasy about a future someone?
These questions will help you clarify what is important to you.
3. Are you ready for a relationship?
So many of us get out of one relationship and try to immediately get into a new one. We are not comfortable being alone. We gain our worth from external validation and not ourselves.
It is critical to figure out what you are ready for in terms of a relationship. Are you still in mourning or carrying baggage from your past relationships? Are you okay spending time with yourself or are you seeking to silence your own inner dialogue by filling up your time with other people? Have you been laid recently or are you blinded by your own physical desires? These are questions only you can answer for you.
Most of the people I run into in the “no good ones left” conversations wouldn’t meet their own requirements to date. I know a ton of men who are looking to date a woman with a car mostly because they don’t have their own transportation. I know women who are looking to date men without kids but have one or two of their own. So, if you can’t meet your own requirements to date, ask yourself why you want someone else to meet them.
In the end, having someone who wants to be with you because they enjoy time with you is much more satisfying that being with someone because they need you to provide something for them (food, transportation, constant validation they are worthy). If you are not ready and comfortable being on your own, you probably need to date yourself for a while before looking for someone else.
4. Are you looking for things or experiences rather than a person?
This can be a tricky question for many people, especially those in the kink and poly communities. This is the basis of why I HATE unicorn hunting couples. People who are looking for things or experiences fail to see the person they are trying to date. They want that perfectly bisexual female willing to forgo her needs for a primary to satisfy a couple. Or someone wants to collect BBC’s (Looking at you Queens of Spades members). Or some sub wants a Master who will totally mirco-manage them because their life is out of control. The focus is on the the experience or the statistics the person can add to their life, not the person.
The Jerry Maguire fallacy is in strong effect with people looking for an experience or statistic and not a person. You think you need someone to complete you or your list to be a good person to date. Oftentimes we are blind to our own weakness here.
Describe the person you want to date. [Go ahead, jot it down quickly.]
Now… go back an look at it. How much of the description includes how you want to feel with the person and how you want to make that person feel? These indicate your are looking for a partner.
How much of it includes descriptors of what the person has or can contribute to your life (things like, “Good job,” “established career,” “lawyer/doctor/professional,” “no children,” “has own house,” “takes me on expensive dates,”)? These are indicators you are looking for an experience and not a partner.
How much of your descriptions are dating categories (e.g., BBC, thin, muscular, professional, narrow age range, non-smoker, drinks occasionally)? You are looking for an experience, not a partner.
What this boils down too…
The people I know in successful relationships and the bulk of advice for people seeking a relationship comes down to a few points:
You must be okay being alone/single before you are ready for a relationship.
You need to be ready to look for a partner in life, not an experience.
Too much of a list/set of requirements for a partner will mean you are unnecessarily weeding out good partners.
You have to be ready to be a good partner first.
Yes, dating is a whirlwind of crap with a few good people floating around. First, aim to be one of the good one’s yourself. Second, get okay just floating out there and don’t grab every bit of human flotsam you come across. Third, bitching that there “are no good ones left” is a surefire way to signal you are not in the proper space to date.