Your Life Isn't A Disney Movie: Why Women Shouldn't Hold On To The Image Of The Ideal Man

by Lauren Martin

I recently came face-to-face with a cold, hard truth that one only comes to know with age and after a slew 0f bad dates. It's about settling, lowering your expectations and giving in. It's a truth that isn't shared by parents, friends or wise uncles, but one that can only be learned through experience. It's one of those truths that comes out of failure and misery as a beacon of light.

I recently went on a date with my “ideal man.” He had everything I ever wanted in a possible mate: unique personality, shared hobbies, views on life, love and religion. He was witty and smart, motivated and driven towards the same passions and goals as myself. He challenged me the way I like to be challenged and understood me the way only few people have dared. So why wasn't I falling over this guy? Why didn't I snatch him up, grab him, knowing full well I would most likely not come across another one of his type?

The sad truth of it is, I wasn't attracted to him. Realizing full well the scale of my shallowness, I accepted the truth and ignored his texts, dismissing him as someone who could be nothing more than a friend. I thought I deserved some Channing Tatum type whose glance should make me quiver at the knees, always imagining myself with a man whose jaw line is similar to that of James Bond (the Pierce Brosnan era). But then I came to realize I was chasing an imaginary man, a type that didn't exist.

The problem lies in that we've been bred on ideas of 'happily ever after' and  'fairytale princes' who will sweep us off our feet, but the truth of it is, there's no such thing as a perfect man. Perfect men only exist in Disney films and Nicholas Sparks novels. They are made up fantasies that lure women into thinking that there's an ideal man out there. What the movies and books don't tell you is that there are a lot of sh*tty people in this world, and finding just one person you genuinely like and get along with isn't a common feat.

"Some people underestimate how erotic it is to be understood." - Mary Rakow

For years I picked men based on who I thought looked most like Ashton Kutcher or Jude Law. I chose them based on an idealized standard that only led to a slew of men with weak minds and little in common. I found myself surrounded by men whose personalities were so unattractive, I could no longer find the reasons I was attracted to them in the first place. Their looks became secondary to their lack of charm, leaving me with nothing but a good-looking date for the office holiday party.

Thus, being on both sides of the fence, looks and personality wise, I've been confronted with the sad fact that life does mean settling, and there is no such thing as a perfect man. You need to find what you like and pursue it, but be prepared to make concessions. You should have a solid idea of the kind of person you like and the traits that attract you, and work around that.

The problem with women (and men) is that they are endlessly searching for something better. They are always finding the flaws instead of seeing what's there -- the good. It's a horrible case of distant dreaming that's keeping people from actually enjoying the present, the reality of their lives. Rather than getting to know people, we dismiss them on their flaws, "imperfections" that have become so large and important in our stigmatized minds that we're unable to see past them.

"People inspire you, or they drain you - pick them wisely." - Hans F. Hansen

I'm telling you that you are going to reach an age when you realize you must step off your pedestal and accept the reality of life, love and dating. You do not deserve a perfect man; no one does. You deserve someone who likes you for your flaws, someone who is willing and capable to see past your imperfections and continually love you for everything that makes you unique. And you can only find that once you, yourself, give up the idea of the ideal man.

There's No Such Thing

I've said it before; there's no such thing as the perfect man. There is never going to be a man who meets everything on your checklist. Most likely you will end up with someone who meets just a few checks because that's the most you are ever going to get. Finding the important qualities to check off comes with age, much like wisdom.

You Don't Appreciate What's There

If you are so consumed by the pursuit of the ideal man, you don't appreciate what the men you come across are offering. You look past the good qualities, the traits and imperfections that could make them attractive to you. There is such a thing as finding beauty in fondness, and if someone can make you smile day-in and day-out, they will become the most attractive person in your eyes.

You Miss Chances

If you are young, you most likely live with this ideal notion that there is plenty of time left and you will meet a bunch of amazing people in your lifetime. Unfortunately, time starts to go by pretty quickly and missed opportunities will come back to haunt you. It's a rare thing to find someone you connect with and dismissing that person because you think it will happen again is naïve. Hold on to people who inspire you and make you smile. There aren't as many out there as you think.

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