The dating world and its expectations have changed dramatically in the past 5-7 years. With the dating apps, swiping, constant texting, and poly dating, I think collectively as a whole, we have lost sight of what is important. What it is that truly, in our gut makes us happy. I’m guilty of going on blind dates before having even a phone conversation with a guy to see if there is any chemistry or compatibility. After months of this and in a moment of sheer frustration, I asked myself, ‘Am I really dating blindly hoping that I will just have sparks with someone if I go on enough dates? Or should I have an idea of what is important to me and filter accordingly? What are my non-negotiables? What is my definition of being in a happy and secure partnership?
So I started to only go on dates with people I thought I had something in common with, such as similar values and interests. Things were starting to look up. I was having way more interesting conversations with my dates, a lot more laughs and definitely more fun. I still didn’t think I could really have a relationship with any of them (and I think they felt the same way), but at least they were interesting.
When talking to my peers (both males and females) I noticed there is some confusion about what the other sex needs or thinks they need in order to be in a happy, fulfilling partnership. We often carry over our beliefs passed on from past generations, which are good and important, but some aren’t as applicable in today’s ever changing, fast paced world. The needs of our parents when they were dating are much different than ours. A lot of women weren’t able to go to college and weren’t able to provide for themselves. As Patty from Millionaire Matchmaker says, back in the day, “men married for sex and women married for financial security.” In today’s world, (let’s be real) we can get both without being married. However, I think that many men still feel the pressure to financially provide and “be the head of the household.” According to the NYT, women are not only more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family, increasingly, they are primary breadwinners, too. Women are being pushed to their limits being an ambitious professional, a loving mom, and a devoted wife all at once. ..oh and the pressure to look good doing it all with 5 hours of sleep. Today more than ever, women are seeking partnerships in their spouses. Someone they can share a connection with and still help them clean up the puke from their 5 month old in the middle of the night…because they both have to go to work in the morning.
Having said that, here is my open letter to clear up any misconceptions and pressures men still feel. Because at the end of the day, all women want is to feel safe, be herself and know that she is loved:
I can provide for myself, I just need you to love me wholeheartedly for who I am. Flaws and all. I’m looking for a partner, not a provider. Don’t think that I always need fancy dinners and presents to feel that I’m taken care of. (Although I’m not denying that I like them for special occasions). A text to ask me how my day is going or picking up coconut water just because you saw it and thought of me will make me feel so much more taken care of. I want you to be a part of my life, that means my career goals, family, pets, friends, and I want to be a part of yours. I need you to support me and allow me to support you in our goals, personally and professionally. When I have a bad day, I don’t need to be coddled all the time, I need you to hear me out so I can problem solve constructively. When you are having a bad day, don’t retreat- tell me what’s on your mind. I don’t like seeing you upset either. When I am complaining too much, feel free to call me out on it in a loving way. After all, we are supposed to bring out the best in each other. When I’m upset about something, you don’t have to fix it, just listen to me. Let me cry it out and hold me and tell me you’re there to support me. Above all, love me and assure me with small, kind gestures that I am your priority. Allow me to show you that I love you in my own way. Let’s help each other grow and flourish. Above all, let’s have fun and laugh through the tough times together. Because all I really want is a best friend with benefits (yes, exactly the kind of benefits you are thinking of.)
Written By: Jalpa Dhaduk
Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach, Occupational Therapist