Now and again, I get a reader who writes to me asking for advice on how to land a man. (Yes, the word “land” is usually used.) They are less interested in what I’ve discovered about marriage, and more interested in how to get in the game themselves. Apparently, my getting married after age 40 for the first time, means somehow I know something.
So, I share what I know and hope they can avoid the bazillion many mistakes I made along the way.
For more than 20 years, I dated, loved, co-habitated (briefly), searched for (and systemically gave up on), pined for, cried over, lusted for, laughed with, and generally hung out with, lots of guys. I had nine serious boyfriends before I got married. Most of them were one year- to two year-long relationships. My friend Y called me a “man trainer,” because a few of them got married right after me (one of them, eloped the next day with someone he neglected to tell me he was also seeing).
So, you could say I learned a lot. But, in typical late bloomer fashion, it took me a while to really get it.
If I could go back in time and start dating all over again, below is the advice I would give myself if I was seeking to get married all over again. (I only hope that I would have listened.)
First, ask yourself something. Are you sure you want to be married? Because just “landing” someone is easy. Landing someone you want to stick around – to the bitter end — is a whole other ball game.
Secondly, know that once married you are going to have to share everything. This means from the bed to the remote control, from the food to your time. If you like having most things to yourself, your husband will quickly begin to feel an interloper. Consider what daily life might look like when married.
Now, do you want to be a wife (versus just being a mother or seeking a father figure or sugar daddy)? Everyone has a different version of what “being a wife” means, but the general rules apply – you’ll be faithful, tend to his needs (and hopefully, he’ll do the same), believe in his dreams, be physically attracted to him, generally like him, and are committed to a future with him. Yaknow, the basics. Does a “wife” role — regardless of your definition — appeal to you? Because, if you really just want someone who will help out around the house, do your taxes, change your oil, etc. – hire people. It’s less trouble, trust me.
Also, if you’re just looking for a regular sex partner – find yourself a playmate. ‘Cause husbands don’t leave after the deed. So, you better have something to say (and feel) about the person afterward.
So, still ready? Well, okay, then. Get in the game. A few words of wisdom:
- Vet often, vet early. Men usually tell you who they are right away. Believe them. And, you decide if they are either in or out.
- Is he “coming at” you? Men who do not seem interested, well, they aren’t. Men either want you or they don’t. You will know. Don’t waste your time on anyone who isn’t interested. The theory born from the HBO show, Sex and the City, which tried to show women that oftentimes “he’s just not that into you,” is truth.
- Look for a man who wants to be a husband – not just someone who wants a wife, or heaven forbid, a mother. (See “do you really want to be a wife” above.)
- Find out right away how he feels about his mother. His mother was his first female relationship, and it colors most future ones. If he loves her, great. If he still has the apron strings firmly tied around his butt, walk away. Ifhehatesher, run. Fast.
- Does he want to make you happy? (No one can make you happy, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone wanting to contribute.)
- Is hehappy? Warning: Do not — I repeat — do not start a relationship with someone who is addicted to misery.
- Will you allow yourself to be affected by him? And, will he allow you to affect him? Read: Change. I know all about “accepting people for who they are,” but you might as well marry a rock if your guy is immoveable and inflexible.
- How’s his sense of humor? You’regonna need a big one to stay married. Being “heavy and significant” all the time is just plain annoying.
- Does he take care of himself? This is a big clue for what his future healthmight hold, as well as how he will take care of you.
- How does he feel about aging? Does he make it known he pines for a Victoria’s Secret model someday? Will he still find you attractive in sweats? You don’t really need me to explain these last questions, do you?
So, go forth and discover. Just remember – wherever you are in your marital status, seek happiness first. Then, someone to share it with.