Rosenthal: Reader asks, ‘Do women want too much?’
Vail CO, Colorado
Dear Neil: I’m confused. I get mixed signals from single women I’ve dated about what they want a man to be, and about what they expect from a man in an intimate relationship. Most women clearly want a man to be financially stable and affluent ” in essence, to pay for everything and to offer the long-term possibility that they will be taken care of financially. Other women want fun. A good time. Still other women appear to insist on romance and romantic gestures (flowers, super polite and well mannered, holding doors open for them, initiating affection, romance and sexual encounters, aggressive but not too aggressive).
Some of that I can do, and do well. But the list continues. I am also expected to be an excellent communicator and a great listener. And to be attentive, generous and well-adjusted. And to make her feel valued and cherished. And to have a great sense of humor and make her laugh. I am also to be clean, well-groomed, well-dressed, honest, open, monogamous, faithful, have integrity, have good self-esteem, be fit, be good-looking, athletic, good with children, great lover “-you get the picture.
My question is do you think single women expect way too much of men? Do you think most single men find it difficult to meet women’s expectations? Have you ever tried, for instance, to be witty and funny and to make people laugh? My jokes often fall flat. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor, but try as I might, I have a hard time making a woman laugh.
Do you think that single women ask too much of men?
” Unable to live up to expectations in Canada
Dear Canada: Yes, some women do ” but you don’t want those women. They’re too high maintenance; too hard to keep happy and content.
Here are some recommendations: quit trying to make women laugh. Although women may often say that’s one of their top criteria in selecting a man, in truth, being a stand up guy who is attentive, polite, sincere, interested, genuine and fun is the surest way to a woman’s heart, hands down. Yes, romance is appreciated. It’s the spice that juices things up. Yes, affection is desirable. It’s the aphrodisiac. Yes, clean and well-groomed is attractive, and fidelity is considered essential by many.
But I am suggesting that it’s a mistake to attempt to be all things to all females. Choose the traits you value, those you’re good at and those you’d like to improve or be better at. If that’s not enough for a woman, go elsewhere. Nobody is Superman. We’re all people, and we all excel in some things but not in others.
Consider what it would be like if you succeeded in wooing a woman with all the traits you listed ” witty, romantic, communicative, athletic, attentive, generous, affluent, fun and so on. And you made her laugh. How long do you think you could keep it all up before the lady figured out that you really weren’t all those things? I could talk about the traits and qualities that single men look for in women, but I won’t. Let’s just say that if you can’t succeed by essentially being yourself, you’re with the wrong person.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303-758-8777, or e-mail him from his Web site, heartrelationships.com.