by Sandy Lo
Today’s woman is not about catering to a spouse’s every whim. We are take charge, powerful, hardworking, go-getters. While we’re busy attacking life searching for the right career, having fun, finding ourselves, and exploring the world, our love lives can sometimes take a backseat, or completely fall off the map. We still want what our housewife great grandparents wanted, though. We want to find love and make it last.
With the divorce rate sky high, and so many failed past relationships, we begin to wonder what went wrong for us and those around us. The truth is, most people are not mentally ready for romantic relationships before jumping into them. Let’s face it, most women were little girls who planned their dream wedding, swooned over teen heartthrobs, envisioning their lives with said heartthrob, and lived a big happily ever after.
It all seemed so simple; that’s how the movies always made it look anyway. We then continue to jump from relationship to relationship with no real grasp of key concepts, like communication, compromising, and common core beliefs.
We women boast ourselves to be the more mature gender, and maybe that’s true in some cases, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some mental growth and preparation to do ourselves before jumping into a serious, committed relationship. Before we can even look, there are a few ducks we should have in a row first. Even as the search for “the one” ensues, we need to not hold those movie star images in our minds of what our mate should look like. It’s just not fair to us or that guy who has all of the right qualities, but lacks Channing Tatum’s body and Hugh Jackman’s Aussie accent.
We asked relationship expert and founder of MarriageMaterial.co, Dana Michel to weigh in on the subject.
Runway: What are some key signs that a woman is mentally secure enough to be in a serious, marriage potential relationship?
Dana Michel: The key signs are as follows: 1. She is no longer obsessing about past relationships. A new man should be able to be judged on his own merits and not for the past actions of previous boyfriends. 2. She is willing to let her guard down and let a new person in. There are many women who date, but remain guarded and defensive. Men tire of trying to break through and move onto someone who is warm and open to an emotional connection. 3. She is no longer seeking the impossible standard perfection that is only found in movies. All too often we are rigid and hold onto “The List” we made as teenagers. Does he really need to look like Brad Pitt if he has everything else?
R: How can you decipher between settling and not being too picky?
Dana: Settling means she is fundamentally believes she is taking a step down. If you feel like you are settling then move on because he will surely feel it, and the relationship will become toxic. Compromising is an adult form of give and take, which every successful relationship requires on a daily basis. Compromising can be as simple as choosing a restaurant to the more difficult issues concerning how many children to have, where to live, or how to deal with extended family.
R: In today’s society, how valuable is online dating?
Dana: It is an essential tool for 2014 and beyond. It extends your inner circle and allows you to meet people you would never come in contact with. The truth is that most of us are stuck in a routine with work, home, errands, family obligations, etc., which makes it hard to meet new people organically. It is possible to meet someone at the dry cleaners, but it is a rare occurrence.
R: Where else is a good place to meet people?
Dana: Introductions from friends and colleagues, business conferences, group activities, such as cross fit or salsa classes. Pick hobbies that promote interaction with others. The most important thing is to be open about the physical traits you are looking for. Does he really have to have green eyes?
R: What things should a woman have in place before considering marriage?
Dana: 1. She needs to have a clear understanding of who she is and what she wants her life to look like. 2. Her finances should be in order to be a real partner to her husband. Finances are the #1 factor leading to divorce. 3. She needs to know what her must-haves, nice to haves, and deal breakers are and have the confidence and commitment to stand by her convictions when dating.