Or thought I loved. Or even liked. Many of you are no longer in my life, and that’s probably for a good reason. Many of you did not have my best interest at heart. Some of you did, and those men number a small percentage overall. That is as it should be.
Good men are hard to find. Possessing a strong sense of character and a value system that allows them to be ‘men’ while factoring in the ability to behave with sensitivity and kindness, are not combinations easily found. If you find or have a man like this, my unsolicited advice would be to keep him.
My father was a good man. As is my step-father, my brothers, and my sons. One of the ways I learned to decipher what ‘good’ men looked like, beside my good role models, was having dealings with the not-so-good ones. The overly selfish, the impersonally sexual, the narcissists. We’ve all encountered them (and I’m sure men have their own version of us women).
I’ve considered writing an anthology with women who date the over 50 crowd, and who are themselves, over 50. A serious, and comedic, subject. One must laugh.
I want to thank you guys. Honestly. Because spending time with those of you who did not deserve me, because caring about myself enough to respect my worth, because finding one of the really good ones, has been a process in the making. I’ve learned that some of the things I thought mattered, don’t, and I’ve learned what does:
Character (there’s no masking it), Sensitivity, Protection, A Sense of Safety, Love (however one defines it), Honesty, Humor, Intelligence, Inward Beauty, Confidence.
I want the man who loves me to treat me well, to protect me and take care of me, to show me his commitment through his actions and his words, to be safe enough to talk to, to not take me for granted. And I want to do the same for him.
This post is addressed to women who have forgotten their worth, who have been in bad relationships, who are too young to fully understand, to my daughter and all our daughters. Do not put yourself in unsafe positions, a man who loves you wouldn’t ask that of you. Do not relinquish your values and sense of right and wrong, it will not be worth it in the long run, and do not lose you in a relationship, this could be the warning sign of serious problems to be; co-dependence and unworthiness among them.
At the very least, even if bad stuff happens, keep these thoughts in your tool box for the future. Most of us will make bad choices, most of us will learn from them. I certainly have. But those of us who end up happy and well, have somewhere along the line, taken the advice of other women who have ended up happy and well and who were willing to make their communications public.
You vocalized what any number of women–myself included–wished their mothers would have told them. With age comes discernment, however, and as my wise daughter once put it, “You can’t give what you don’t possess yourself.” And, just as possibly, imagining myself in love, I probably wouldn’t have listened. Each of us has to experience the opposite of what we’re searching for, in order to recognize it when it arrives in our life. Thank you so much, Wendy, for writing this piece. If it helps even one person, it will have been worth the effort. xo
Celia, your replies are thoughtful and heartfelt, and when I read them I always feel appreciated. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to respond. You help to make the tough stuff worth writing.
Sadly, speaking from an insider’s position, I can attest to your assertions. However (as you say),some good ones are scattered out there. When one of them meets you, he will be wondering where you’ve been all his life.
You are quite right, Bruce. Certainly in my case. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and feel free to elaborate on the subject as an ‘insider’. We women would be grateful!