Put on your ruby slippers, click your heels three times, and repeat after me: There’s no such thing as perfect, there’s no such thing as perfect, there’s no such thing as perfect. This is just as true for a man as it is for a woman. The fact that almost half of all marriages end in divorce is testament enough to this statement.
Even if a relationship starts out as a seemingly perfect match, time will soon erase even the illusion of perfection for most couples. Everyone has bad habits and annoying mannerisms. Once a couple gets to know one another well, each will realize that the other has flaws, if not in physical appearance then in character or personality.
Take a Look at Your Definition of Perfect
A crude, old joke that men continue to pass around is the definition of a perfect woman: three feet tall with no teeth. This “ideal” woman also possesses a flat head on which a man can rest an ashtray or a beer. We’re sure women have similarly comic ideas of perfection; probably a man who is mute with a tongue long enough that he could lick his own eyebrows.
This perfect man would likely have the muscles of Adonis, a large (but not too large) penis, and the ability to hold an erection (without the benefit of drugs or other enhancements) for hours before reaching climax. These visions of perfection deal only with sexuality, an important aspect of a relationship to be sure, but just one of many criteria in finding a suitable mate.
Start by Looking to Date Someone Suitable
One advice counselor acknowledges that, while perfection doesn’t exist, people should look for others that aren’t perfect but are willing to learn, grow, and change. Someone who admits that they aren’t perfect but are willing to work on their issues is far preferable to someone who is not; or worse, thinks that they are perfect just the way they are.
Experts also recommend that daters ditch their wish lists. These lists often contain requirements that are near to impossible to find in any one real person. It’s also a bad idea to look for someone who is just like a favorite TV or movie star. They make their living pretending to be someone else. In real life they’re not at all like the characters they portray.
Performers benefit from a slew of assistants and support personnel, agents, writers, directors, and marketing specialists, not to mention costume and makeup artists, all whose single charge it is to make that entertainer, musician, actor, etc. appear appealing to the general public. Sometimes even that isn’t enough; consider Lindsay Lohan as an example.
Seeing Isn’t Always Believing
Too often, as human beings, we put our worst foot forward, looking for physical perfection in a prospective mate. We are all too conditioned by what we see on film or TV, or worse yet, in magazines or online―airbrushed and doctored photos of models who, without the special sets, lighting, costumes, makeup, and help of professional photographers, end up looking just like you and me.
According to psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud, specifying the type of person you might want to be with is fine, but most people go way too far with their specific requirements. This strategy, he warns, can eliminate really good people from consideration. Dr. Cloud has written several books on dating, including the best seller, “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping.”
Dr. Cloud uses a restaurant analogy to drive his point home. If a person is allergic to most different foods, they’ll have a tough time finding a restaurant where they’ll be able to enjoy a good meal. Experts say lists are fine if they contain only the must-haves or the non-negotiable items that you wouldn’t be able to tolerate in a prospective partner. Make sure your expectations are reasonable.
Learn to Like What You See
Social scientists suggest that, before setting criteria for a dating partner, you take an honest look at yourself in a mirror. If you are a short, balding, 40-something male, it’s unlikely that setting your sights on tall, gorgeous runway model types in their ‘0s will get you anywhere; unless, of course, you’re rich, then all bets are off.
Stop Trying to Change Someone
How many times have you heard a friend say, if only he was this or if only she didn’t do that, then they’d be perfect? There are always things we would change about ourselves and those around us if we had the opportunity. It doesn’t mean that we like them or even love them any more or less. It just means that we need to learn to accept the way people are, especially the ones we care about.
Having expectations is fine. Just make sure your expectations are real, reasonable, and attainable. Otherwise, you could be sitting around by yourself next Saturday night, wondering why Mr. or Miss Right isn’t banging on your door, begging for a date.