How to have a perfect relationship. A title full of promises right? Maybe if I knew what men need then I can finally have my fairy-tale. Or maybe if men know what women want then relationships would be so much easier, right? I am pretty sure that everyone at one point in their life wonders how we can have that perfect relationship; what can we do to have a smooth sailing. Men want to know what women think, what they want and need and vice versa. I have read, seen and heard so many discussions on this topic that I decided to share my two cents on the matter, share some of my wisdom and some of the things I have discovered along the way. Bold of me right? Full disclosure, I am not here to tell men or women how to be, what to do or what they are lacking. My opinion is my expertise based on my experiences, based on the people around me, based on the observations and situations I see in our society and most of all based on the things I gather from reading, listening and from the men and women that passed through my life at one point of another (or who are still in my life). You don’t even have to agree with me or disagree, you don’t even need to like this but maybe, just maybe, if you keep going you may read some things that may (or may not, totally up to you) help you in some way or another.
I wanted to write about this topic ever since I saw the romantic comedy “Seducing Mr. Perfect” (the above poster). The film is South Korean and stars Korean actress Uhm Jung-hwa and the American/Korean actor Daniel Henney. Yes, it is a Korean film (except Daniel’s character, who speaks English) but I loved the plot and as a movie addict and besides being a cheesy/romantic sob, I found it to be quite good. The plot seemed to encompass pretty much everything we all go through in a relationship at one point or another. She is looking for a love that makes her warm and happy, for true love. He is a bit of a player, who is cold and keeps his distance as he is getting over a heart-break. They do not speak the same language but when it comes to love that is not an obstacle. She believes true love means to share your hearts and not to be lonely, to be warm, happy, that sort of thing. He believes there is no such thing. She says it exists in her heart so then he asks her how come he sees anything but a happy person when he looks at her. She has a cheating boyfriend who blames her for being like that and “Mr. Perfect” believes she has always been dumped because she doesn’t know the rules of this game called love. He believes love is a great game that requires even greater precision and planning, a game of power and manipulations of emotions to control the mind. He believes that the one who displays affection first gives up total control and goes around like a dog on a collar and the fact that she has always been the first to call, express affection and be an unconditional support is a consequence of dating without self-respect; if she continues like this she will be treated like trash by men and end up alone. She doesn’t see anything wrong with being the way she is as she prefers being honest, open, loving then to play with someone’s mind. He goes as far as telling her that her indecisiveness, being overly sensitive, will not only damage her love life but her career too. He also challenge her to make him fall for her and as part of her plan she asks him to coach her and teach her the rules of the game.
Does any of that sound familiar? It definitely did to me and I am not afraid to admit that I had my fair share of bad relationships, may have been over emotional, maybe even needy and also approached love as a game at one point. A game I wanted to win. Seducing Mr. Perfect is comical and romantic at the same time but touches on a lot of topics and misconceptions about love, relationships and in the end shows us that love is messy and you can’t control the people in your life. But you can decide who you want to be, how you want to be and there is true love if you truly believe. I highly recommended the film even if you are not a big romantic.
Now getting back to the task at hand. The perfect relationship. What do women want? What do men need? Or maybe the better question is what do WE need and want as human beings?
We all want to be loved right? We all want to have someone to share our successes with and to help us get through hardship. We all want to be happy and experience joy, passion and intimacy. We all want to be respected, appreciated and grow old with someone (or maybe not, totally up to you). Maybe some of us just want to have fun and enjoy casual relationships. Whatever the case may be, what I think we fail to see is that men and women may want the same things, we just go about it in different ways. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? At least that’s what we were told. I am not here to disagree with John Gray and his observations, he is entitled to his opinion and research, but I believe that if we look deep down we will observe that we all have basic needs and desires regardless of gender. On a side note I agree with him regarding the importance of communication and that we all react different to stress, but more about that later. I believe that today’s society, social media and entertainment play a major role in how we view relationships and the pressure we feel everyday in different aspects of our life have affected our values and believes.
Men are easy to figure out. Women are complicated. Men have only an on and off button. Women are moody and you need a switch board to be able to deal with them. Am I right or am I right? Na ahhhh *insert disapproving sound here*
I see so many quote and pictures like the one above on so many social media outlets that it’s hard not to fall prey to them. Is that what we identify ourselves with? Is it so easy for us to identify with something like that? Isn’t that in itself a form of judgement? How many times do we hear men complaining about how complicated women are, how we give them a hard time and how they never know how to deal with us or handle us. How many times do we think men are ignorant, have no clue what is going on, don’t care enough or think with the wrong head? It’s hard to deal with them as they don’t listen or understand (this one goes both ways). Just a quick tip: no one is here to be handled or dealt with. Why can’t we just appreciate and respect our own individuality but realize at the same time that we are all the same? Or at least we all start on a common ground: we all want to find someone to share our life with (which may or may not be marriage, it is entirely up to you on how you share your life). We all have a need that has to be fulfilled at times (as many times as you want) and no matter how tabu the subject may be, it is on everyone’s mind.
As a woman, I heard it all: I am too emotional, I am needy, I am clingy, I am demanding, I am intimidating, I am cold, I am loud, I am too quite, I am too girly, I am weak, I expect to much, I move to fast and I can probably list another dozen things. I have also heard (and even said it) that men are harsh, players, liars, have no heart, are too needy, can’t be trusted, are stubborn and a lot of other things that I prefer not writing them down. In the end we all call each other names, we insult each other, use swear words and become enemies when things don’t go our way. Yes, there are people out there who fit these descriptions (men and women) but there are others who don’t. What if I was really upset when you thought I was being too emotional? What if he was feeling pressured when you thought he has no heart? What if I was afraid when I came across as clingy and he was scared when he lied? There is always a reason why someone acts or behaves in a certain way, we just need to find out what that is and decide if we want to have that person in our life or not.
Good relationships don’t just happen, they require work right? Amen sista! Actually, not quite. Good relationships can happen if you choose someone good. Good for you. Yes, you may need time to get to know each other, you need patience to deal with each other’s differences, you need trust to be open and communicate your likes and dislikes, you need to compromise to make things work sometimes and more. But none of that matter as you know you have been yourself and choose someone who you want to know and are not afraid to show who you truly are. You chose someone who doesn’t ask you to compromise things that are a priority to you, you chose someone without trying to be someone else or trying to impress by creating a false identity. I see so many relationships around me where there is not enough trust, not enough communication, secrets kept from one another, lies and people who are in relationship because they don’t to be alone or because it is that time. What time? The time to be unhappy? The time to lie to yourself? The time you feel you have to just because other around you say or? Or because you are getting close to 30 or 40 or because its time to start a family? One day you wake up and you resent the person next to you or worse you become numb and decide not to care. You search for the things you are missing outside of the relationship. You steal happiness for a moment and when that is done you resent the reality you are in even more but you are not doing nothing about it, because now you have invested time, time you are never getting back. No one is more in charge of your life then you, so why are we in these kind of relationships? Why ‘the age-standardized refined divorce rate increased substantially after 1990 and is now at an all-time high” (Kennedy & Ruggles, 2014)? Why don’t we stop a moment from this “rush” and ask ourselves: what do I truly want? What are my values and what values I would appreciate in a partner? What am I ready to give? Can I give without expecting anything in return?
I just finished reading one of Tony Robbins books and he says this: “If you don’t know the values and rules of the people with whom you share a relationship, you should prepare for pain…In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” Don’t you agree? I do. Every time I “needed” someone it ended up in pain, in a heart-break or in not such a good ending. We need to re-wire our brain, our selves, and understand that we can not be happy or find the partner we are looking for by being afraid, by making demands and restrictions or by not being honest with who we are and what we want. No relationship (same-sex, opposite sex, multiple partners or whatever you are interested in) will work if we continue this way.
Lets take this scenario: You start dating someone, you like them and they like you back. You are on your best behavior as you want to impress them. Your relationship moves forward, a couple of months passed, maybe even a year. You saw each other every few days and you feel your relationship is growing. You hang out with each others friends, family and maybe even go in a vacation together. Sex is good, when it happens, and the relationship is moving to the next step. You move in. Oh joy. A place for the two of you. It’s now two years and the prospect of a wedding may be around the corner. But after a few months living together things don’t seem the same. You notice your partner has a habit that you didn’t know about, and it really bothers you. You realize they want to know where you are every single moment. They don’t talk much after a long day at work and prefer sitting on a couch watching TV. You both become so busy with work and house chores that sex doesn’t happen that often (may stay the same as before moving in or even decline). You argue because the seat toilet or because who ever has the take the garbage out. Your partner brings up sex and or tells you they are not quite happy regarding how things are going and you end up arguing. You wonder what is happening, everything was going so great. Was it? How well do you know each other when you have been on your best behavior trying to impress the other one? Do you know how much your partner values sex, or passion, or intimacy, or affection, or love. or his/her own space and so on? Looking around I feel like a lot of us live on auto pilot. Or we created our own little world and when things don’t seem to align with our expectation, hell breaks loose. Male or female, we are have fears but living our lives based on them is not healthy. I am not saying all relationships are doomed or unhealthy. I have seen great relationships, who last, who grow and continue in years of happiness. But the percentage or struggles or of unhappy relationships is quite alarming. At least to me.
We are loving human beings and even if you have experience someone in your life selfish, or hurtful, cold and distant don’t mean everyone is the same. There are greedy people out there, but there is kind, caring people too. We can’t generalize or judge everyone based on one or two or even three people. I have change during my life a million and one times. I was called naive, and dumb, or emotional and needy, or cold and harsh. I have experienced happy moments and sad moments in my relationships. I experienced love and not one but multiple heart breaks. But I learned from all of theme. Good and bad, I discovered myself more and more and I grew as a person. I was sad, I was down, I was hurt, but I still have love to give. I still believe there are good people out there. I may have even broke someones heart but that doesn’t make me a bad person. I made mistakes, I realized I may not feel the same as the other person did for me. so things ended and someone got hurt. Its life. That doesn’t meant I wanted them to be hurt or did things on purpose. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in loving with all your heart. And despite all the lies, the cheating, the hurt, the abuse, the pain, and all the negative things I see around me I still believe we can have a beautiful relationship. I still believe we can love, fall in love, find your true love and “the one”.
I love that picture. That is what I am talking about. We are not perfect. No one is. But the beauty is that your imperfections will match just perfectly with someone else’s. You don’t need to be someone you are not, you don’t need to like things you don’t just to impress someone. Be happy with who you are as no one is like you. Learn to love yourself (sure, physical too but you know that’s not what I meant). Learn to love who you are and chose that imperfect person who will add to your happiness. Don’t start a relationship because you want them to make you happy. IF you are not happy with yourself no one can change that. I learned this lesson the hard way so find happiness within first. A partner should not be responsible for your well-being, they should add to it.
We all have expectations, desires and priorities. I am not saying to give in or give them up in order to find someone. I believe in compromise but not in giving up who you are. I will compromise on watching the game tonight versus a movie but I will not compromise regarding my independence (after discussing about the topic with my mentor I realized I should explain what I mean by independence). I will not compromise on my independence, meaning I will not be dependent financially or emotionally on someone; I will not let someone tell me how to dress, how to be or who to be. The word may describe something else but it is more than just being free to me. Its like saying I am free to make this choice by myself but I choose to decide with you. I am free to do this thing on my own but I want you to be part of it. I can compromise on the restaurant we pick, or the way we will spend the weekend but I will not compromise when it comes to being charitable. I want someone who can communicate openly, who can be around me if I have an emotional day and who values intimacy as much as I do. I learned that if you like someone for who they are you do not try to change them. I learned that whenever I give without expecting anything in return, I may receive more than when I ask, force or make things happen. I learned that changing or giving up who I was made me resentful of that person and of myself. I believe men want and need as much affection and support as women do, even if they won’t admit it. Men are as afraid as women are. So why putting all this pressure on ourselves? Why not learning from each other? Keep an open mind, ask before you put blame on, listen and allow the other person to explain themselves. If you don’t trust the other person, always assume the worst and wish they treated you different, why are you still in that relationship. You will say, well Alexandra I should at least try to make things work otherwise how do I know if it the right one or not? If they were you were not making things work, they WOULD SIMPLY WORK.
I love travel, I love music, dancing, movies, cheesy chick flicks and I want to have children one day. I believe we can be good and I want to help others less fortunate. I believe in free expression and that sex shouldn’t be stigmatized, made us feel guilty,ashamed or used as a form of abuse. Everything around us is touched my fear, negativity, frustration and we feel pressured at work, at home, in social interactions. I want to give to people around me and I want to see people happy. This plus more is who I am now, in this moment. Almost 4 years ago I was in a relationship where I couldn’t interact with anyone as my partner was very jealous and perhaps insecure. I was afraid of an argument at all times and I didn’t do any of the things I loved or liked. I didn’t have my own time as I was in a relationship and “we” are not like that anymore. I was “suppose” to give myself to the other one whenever he wanted as that’s what a woman does when she’s in a relationship. My outfit choices and my friends were always questioned. At the end of it all I did not recognize myself anymore. I didn’t know who I was, what I liked and what I wanted. So my advice to everyone, absolutely everyone, is stay true to yourself. Know yourself and don’t be afraid to take your time in choosing the one who you want to share your happiness with. A partner should lift you up, be supportive, help you grow as an individual and make you want to be a better person for yourself.
Life is too short to feel afraid, pressured and unhappy. You should get everything you want and more! You deserve it. I do wish you all the happiness and love in the world and I trust you will find it.
I don’t expect people to agree with me. There is so much more I could write about on the topic. I may even change in the next few years as I am not afraid of admitting that my mind is not set in stone. As I grow, I understand or develop new things or discover something I didn’t experienced before. I loved Tony’s chapter on identity and how we are capable of changing at any given moment if we choose too. I don’t have all the answers and I am not perfect so I will always want to reach another level, do better and be better. I want passion and affection and intimacy and a set of rules and behaviours or a contract won’t give me that. I wanted to write the post because I believe everyone should wake up, stop pretending, stop impressing, find peace and love inside them and then start a relationship. Things will be easier when we learn who we are. And like my mentor said “Things will be easier when we learn who we are, and are bold enough to express it, hug and kiss each other without self-doubt or shame or inhibition. A life of love and being loved unconditionally is a life full of bliss, which is the highest state of existence.”
How to have the perfect relationship? What men need? What do women want? I will let John Legend explain that with a bit of Love in the Future. A perfect relationship to me: one where we want a love where we are not afraid of admitting our feelings, we give all of ourselves and see beauty in each others imperfections. And if you want something else, that is fine too, just go for it and take responsibility over your actions and decisions.
Lots of love,