What are you looking for in a mate?
And more to the point, if you found it...would know...would you see it?
I was reminiscing about an old friend and a conversation we had that took an unexpected turn.
Just a few years older, I remember feeling like I was getting a "talking to" as though I were a teenager just going out into the world of dating (My friend O and I were both on the other side of 30).
Anyway, we started talking about dating and I've never forgotten what my friend said to me:
There is someone out there equally waiting for a love such as yours. And you don’t have to do anything but be yourself. And show people that you love yourself so others will love you. And that means, not letting anyone treat you in a manner, that’s not deserving of your love. Hold your head up high. I love who you are. I love the feeling I get when I’m near you or talking to you. I love that you love God. I love you being my friend and my sister. I love the fact that you are a fighter. I can find so many things that I love about you. If I can love you like this, then your partner whom you wish to spend the rest of your life with should love you more. This is my opinion of you; don’t let me think more of you, than you think of yourself. And anyone who doesn’t love you, at least as much as I do - doesn't deserve you.
That's all I could say when he finished, because even for us - as close as we were - this was new territory; somewhere we didn't go. And I don't know why or how the conversation took a turn like that, but I discovered he was right.
It took a few a relationships, time, distance and marriage (his) to see that this wasn't just a friend-to-friend talk, or "older brother"-to-"little sister" advice or just a man talking to a woman. This was a man talking to a woman he was in love with (duh...yes, imagine the tap of upside the head I gave myself when I figured it out).
And yet, isn't it often that way - from both sides.
You say you're looking for someone who will love you for you - just as you are, someone who will be a friend, someone who appreciates who you are, someone who will support you; someone who will have your back; someone who respects you, and perhaps if we're honest, we all want someone who adores us.
My friend O was all those things, but I didn't see him.
It's like that old adage, "Can't see the forest for the trees" because too often we pay too much attention to the little details of what we're looking for in a partner. You know...things the height, the color of the hair, the clothes, the car, the college degree, and the job, even the last name. It's as if the right mate be created by filling in the boxes of an online dating application. Yes, I will concede these can be meaningful "points of interest" but these "points of interest" can also be like not seeing forest for the trees - meaning you might not be able to see that the right person you're looking for - is right there for you.
I can't say O and I could have been a match made in heaven or that we would have been married and lived happily ever after. I don't know (we both chose different paths).
But I will say - O's "talking to" might provide some good insight for where to look when trying to decide "What you're looking for in a mate"
I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see.”
To be continued...