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52FM
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A new topic -

#1 Post by 52FM » Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:36 pm

I want to post something that may turn out to be controversial to some extent. I really want a variety of opinions from different people of different backgrounds. I suspect I will get them – and I hope this doesn’t lead to anything other than a discussion that will help me put some things in perspective.

(Yeah – that’s right; it’s all about me again!)

I want to sort of set some guidelines before I get to the topic. The first one is – it’s my thread so I’d like to try to keep it on topic. Second, I’m not sure I can delete it or lock it but if I feel it’s going wrong, then I may try or at least ask people to move the discussion to another thread. Next, I really want to get information and viewpoints so please be candid. I am NOT doing this as any kind of attempt to see if we can discuss something without problems – or to solve or smooth over any pending or past controversies.

No – this is purely selfish on my part. I feel a need to think through something. Our counseling is going on a break for a while – actually we’re slowing down to just a couple sessions over the summer. This is a good time for me to reflect on some things and the fact is, I like getting other people’s input without relying on face to face conversations where people tend to hold back somewhat.

Last condition – if you think this is out of line, or self-serving, or dumb, or anything negative – PLEASE simply ignore the thread. This is the LOUNGE – pretty much open to non-LiT topics to be discussed by the type of people who liked LiT.


OK – the question is:

Do open and sensitive women really want an open and sensitive man as a life partner / mate?

My own personal impression, which I’ve challenged several times in my life, is no. I can’t say I have a wealth of examples, but for all the women I know well enough to attempt to assess whether they are open and sensitive or not – I have only one possible example where the answer is yes. And I haven’t talked to that person in over 20 years.

I guess I have to start with a definition of open and sensitive. It’s easier to say what it isn’t. A very private person who will not talk to anyone other than (maybe) their spouse about personal matters is NOT open and sensitive. A person who maintains that they only have maybe one person they consider a friend – the rest are simply acquaintances – is NOT open and sensitive. Stereotypically, a man is NOT open and sensitive.

My theory has always been that “nice” guys are very well liked by women but as friends only. I was surprised to find there is a “theory” called the Ladder Theory (which started out as satire) that describes this. There are movies and TV shows speaking to this. It’s a prevalent notion.

Apart from the one exception I mentioned above, EVERY married couple I know falls into this pattern: if the guy is a “nice” guy, the woman has a dominating personality, and not really open and sensitive (else she wouldn’t be dominating .) If the woman is open and sensitive (not dominating) – she has a mate who is in one or more ways “stereotypically” male.

More definitions: a “nice” guy may have some stereotypical male traits, but they tend to be passive ones. For example, I love American football. But I’m no athlete – I simply like watching. I’m not very competitive, I don’t drink much, I don’t go out to bars “with the guys”, I don’t hunt and I've never even touched a gun in my life (except a BB gun - and I was really afraid I'd shoot my eye out), but I do like fishing. A lot of guys (and women) would call me a wimp – or a p*ssy. (Sorry for the phrase – but I’ve been called that too many time in my life to not include that as a description. It seems to mean something specific and I seem to fit it well.)

I’ve found over the years that I make a pretty good friend to women. And I’ve been told by three women (other than my wife) that I have traits than many (non-dominating, sensitive) women would love in a mate. I simply don’t believe it.

I have seen absolutely no examples of this. I’ve gotten to know a couple women at work just lately who seem to like me for the nice guy I am. Who seem to be the type of woman I’m describing. Their husbands seem to fit the stereotypes. I hear things like “oh, my husband would HATE that movie”, or “my husband would NEVER talk about that.” You get the idea – and they say it with such almost disgust of him and admiration in me that I want to say “well, then why did you marry him?” But I know the answer –they married the type of man they WANTED. The type of man they feel a man SHOULD be. The type they were attracted to. My type makes a great friend – or a great match with a dominating woman.

OK – enough of my thinking. Anyone want to join in?

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#2 Post by Ithildriel » Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:45 pm

Why we choose the mates we do, a complicated issue. Since I only know my own true motivation in this decision, I will use myself as an example, and take from it what you will.

As I child, I believed that my home life was normal. My parents, and society in general told me that my parent's loved me, so their actions became equated with love. They also told me that they loved each other, so their relationship was my model for what marriage was.

Unfortunately, that meant that people that love you hit you, and as a woman, the door to your home was one that you never knew from one day to the next if your husband was going to walk through it. Not a big leap to the fact that my first relationship was with a man that was a verbally abusive, alcoholic philanderer, and my second was with a verbally and physically abusive philanderer. These relationships were exciting. You never knew from day to day where you stood, or what would occur.

Fortunately for me, while I saw my parents relationship as my model for marriage, I didn't see it as a model for good marriage, and therefore marriage itself terrified me. Both of those men (and a couple others in between) asked me to marry them, and luckily I declined.

The second relationship ended badly, so badly that I spent some time in a woman's shelter. It was my 'bottom' so to speak, and it was then that I realized that if I did not do something to change my way of looking at love and relationships, I was going to end up dead at the hands of one of these 'bad boys' that I always found myself attracted to. Again luckily, I was 23 at the time. In short, you could say, that I matured.

I went through some group counseling, and took to heart the things that I was taught were 'red flags' that a potential partner was an abuser, a 'bad boy'. What I was looking for in a relationship changed, and when I went out with someone, if one of those red flags got thrown on the field, I sprinted in the opposite direction.

At 25, I met my husband. The quintessential 'nice guy'. In our 17 years together, I have only seen him get physical (I can't even call it a fight) with one person, one time. Other than political debate, I have never seen him get into a heated argument with anyone, except me. :lol: I could push a saint's buttons.

Basically, what it comes down to, is that what I was attracted to in a relationship as a girl, was not what I was looking for in a relationship as a woman. Had I not been so afraid of marriage, I believe I would be in a lot different place than I am now. Hubby and I met, were in a committed relationship for 8 years before we were finally both comfortable enough to 'make it legal'.

As for the woman being domineering over the man, many could look at our relationship superficially and come up with that conclusion. Perhaps I am being blind, and it's true, but I see our relationship as more of a partnership, where we each have over time taken on the responsibilities that we are more comfortable with, and/or have an affinity for.

So, if I translate my experience, into a generalization, I would say that girls looking for excitement are attracted to bad boys, and more mature women are looking for an open, sensitive partner to spend their life with. Someone that they can relate to on several levels, and not so much for a need to dominate, as a desire to live a life with someone who brings to the table strengths were they are lacking. A partnership where their assets compliment each other.

No one should get married until they are at least 30. :P

I hope I didn't stray off topic too much here. :?

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#3 Post by 52FM » Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:45 pm

Thanks ITh for your response and for sharing those aspects of your life that I'm sure are difficult to talk about. I am a firm believer in the benefits of counseling and I'm sure it was vital in your getting through that tough part in your life. More than that, the long and solid relationship you've had with your husband must have made that time of your life easier to get over.

Of course the difficulty with the question I posed has to do with defining "nice guy" and "dominating". A "nice guy" is not necessarily a wimp - nor vice versa. So when men complain that women really don't want nice guys, they may really mean that women don't want wimps (and why woudl they?) I would guess no one thinks of your husband as a wimp despite his control over his temper.

While others' impressions are not facts of course - I can't say the same about me. I was called a "softie" in a matter of fact way by one of the women I spoke of that I work with. Not as an insult or compliment - just as an observation. I believe she truly likes me. But I believe she would no more date me (under the right circumstances) than I would date Britney Spears.

It's a tough road I've been on. I have TRULY come to accept who I think I am without excuse or regret - wimp or "p*ssy" or nice guy or whatever that really is. But I also find out I'm still kidding myself at times - in fact I had a real horrible epsiode over the weekend where I had to admit that even I wouldn't like me too much if I was REALLY the person I came across as being at that time. The problem is - I don't know if it was really me or an abberation.

All people ever want is to be understood and accepted. Of course I had to reluctantly admit that the statement could apply to Charles Manson too. So there is a LOT more to it than saying "I want you to love me for the wimp, p*ssy, self-centered softie that I am." That combination sounds pretty repulsive to me too. ("Softies" do things like talk about relationships with their kids.)

Of course "real men" don't post about their feelings either according to "most women". Some nice guys do certainly.


I VERY HEARTILY agree Ith with your statemetn that NO ONE shoudl marry under 30. I obviously wish I had not. I also think a couple a bad relationships help us grow and make the ultimate one more likely to attain. (Though certainly I wouldn't want the situations Ith describes to happen to anyone.)

Peace of mind can be so hard to find when you really care about it. It's been over two years since I started to care again after seeing LiT.

Maybe it's time to stop looking and just accept where I'm at.

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#4 Post by Ithildriel » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:19 pm

To me, a wimp is someone who wont stand up for anyone or anything, including (but not limited to) themselves. If this description fit you at one point in your life (which I am not saying ever did), no one can say that about you now.

A softie, is more someone that is caring and compassionate, and willing to take a stand. A great catch if you ask me.

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#5 Post by 52FM » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:24 pm

Thank you. I didn't start this looking for support; it really was just an observation and coming to understand and accept (or not) reality versus wishful thinking.

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#6 Post by 52FM » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:35 pm

The context that I was called a softie implied caring and compassion and empathy - but the taking a stand part is/was nowhere in the equation. I was told it's "nice" that my daughter had a softie father to come to for support and advice

Obviously there are far worse things to be known for than being "nice". Not that it makes a real compelling epitaph ultimately, damning with faint praise and all, but the sentiment is, well, "nice".

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#7 Post by Ithildriel » Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:49 pm

52FM wrote:Thank you. I didn't start this looking for support; it really was just an observation and coming to understand and accept (or not) reality versus wishful thinking.
I think that the reality is that not only are different people looking for different things from their mates, but that as we grow personally we grow, we begin looking for different things in mates than we had in the past.

Perhaps that is why I am always so amazed that people are able to sustain a marriage for 30, 40 50 plus years. As we grow and change over time, what are the chances that the person who met our needs 50 years ago, will meet those different needs now? One of life's miracles.

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#8 Post by Bob_san » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:18 pm

Ithildriel wrote: Perhaps that is why I am always so amazed that people are able to sustain a marriage for 30, 40 50 plus years. As we grow and change over time, what are the chances that the person who met our needs 50 years ago, will meet those different needs now? One of life's miracles.
What if, Ith, those people or some of them don't change? What if they, unlike most people here, are uncomplicated set in their ways types of people? They just kind of go on and on the way they always did. Those sorts of people will be happy tilling/plowing the same fields, going to the same cubicle at work, doing the same routine, day after day, week after week, year after year etc. I knew people like that, my grandparents and aunts and uncles who are gone now and were married more than 50 years!

I, on the other hand, could never be like that. I didn't get married till I was 38! Ooops I gave away that I am older than 25! DOH! Now I've done it. The site is ruined, its jumped the shark. Sorry. Goodbye. :shock: Ok seriously I waited till I met someone who I felt we would be able to grow together and would be able to tolerate and accept changes and adjust our lives together accordingly rather than having to split up. So far so good!

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Re: A new topic -

#9 Post by Pockets » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:46 pm

52FM wrote:Do open and sensitive women really want an open and sensitive man as a life partner / mate?
The short answer would be yes, or at least, most women would prefer an open and sensitive man as a partner rather than his opposite. I'll try to find the article, but somewhere I read that what women want out of their life mates is to have a best friend to confide in, but I can't quite remember what the men wanted, but it was more physical in nature. And I think that because women place such a high value on the friendship aspect, that is why with asymmetrical couples, the better looking half is the woman, or the older half is a man. Men and women just have different priorities in what they look for in a mate.

For myself, I consider myself to be an open and sensitive person. Even if my posts come across as something different, in real life, I am famous among my family and friends for being someone that is always meeting random and unusual people who turn out to be very interesting to talk to. I also give the best presents because I make a point to find out what makes my family and friends really tick. On the other hand, I have very little tolerance for stupidity and for people that keep repeating past mistakes when there is no need to. Even though I seem to stereotype and pass judgments, when I meet someone in person, I really do keep an open mind and give them chances and enough rope to hang themselves with. Once their chances are used up, then are done and out of my life.

Okay, well I would say that all of my old boyfriends were sensitive male types. All good men that were kind, thoughtful and considerate people. What made them unsuitable as husband material was that I needed a man that was as smart (or smarter) and intellectual as my family and I are. My current boyfriend is all of that and more. I would say that we talk a lot more about more topics than I have with any other person in my life. He is so willing to listen to me talk, that sometimes I tease him and say that his Y chromosome has a small appendage attached to it making it halfway to an X. (The stereotype that the tv sitcoms are always joking about is the husbands complaining that their wives talk too much.)

Being open and sensitive is not the same as being weak-willed or submissive. To me being open and sensitive is taking the time to know who I really am inside and then being sensitive to that inner me. It's also respecting the other person and treating them as an equal in all things, especially their opinions and being willing to have full discussions as one would do with a best friend. And ideally, a soulmate shouldn't have to try that hard to be on my wavelength.

In terms of choosing which open and sensitive male to be my life partner, there are many different levels of mind and soul connections in addition to factoring in the physical chemistry. In fact, there are many people of both sexes in my life that I've felt a very strong connection with, but I consider them just fellow sibling soul spirits.

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#10 Post by sw25 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:35 am

Hey, 52FM.

Seeing as you've already prefaced your own topic with a bunch of warnings, I thought I'd throw one out for myself--I'm just a kid (i.e. I don't know nuthin'); I've never been married, or had to see people I love change over a course of years, decades, and personal eras. But, since this is the lounge, and you've asked for different opinions from all walks of life, I thought I could contribute.

I've been in love once. I was great friends with a girl I knew, and we were inseparable for about a year and a half. We weren't afraid of telling each other ridiculous things, of being honest, of being dorky (we dressed up as the White Stripes together for Halloween, tight red pants and all). We talked about everything--although I mostly let her talk and I listened and tried as best I could to be the best friend I could. For a while, I figured that was all I wanted, until I started to realize just how much I cared about her.

But the most amazing thing about this is that throughout this entire period, she had five boyfriends, all knuckledraggers. She would confide in me, candidly to a fault, about how poorly she was treated. Each time she broke up with one, or was broken up with, I held my breath, and each time she found someone new, I felt worse and worse.

Long story short, I finally erupted. We both said stupid things to one another, but my point was that I was not a true part of her life; that I was a shoulder to cry on, and nothing more. I was always the one she told stories to, and never the one the stories were about. She responded by saying that this is what friends do: they share, they're honest, they confide in one another.

And, in all my anger-clouded wisdom, I shut her down.

She never quite understood why I did what I did, or why I was so upset (other than the difference between my feelings for her and hers for me). Now we hardly talk at all anymore, nothing but a casual hello here and there. Next year, she's leaving for good, and that'll be that, most likely.

I've always been the sensitive and open guy. It's not like I weep at sunsets or write poetry about clouds (although, in my best Seinfeld impression, not that there's anything wrong with that). I just find that humor, kindness, and honesty are the most interesting and engaging parts of me. I like a "man's movie" in the same way I enjoy an "art film".

But I can't help but realize that females, particularly at my age, can't help but start to pigeonhole their relations. Once planted, it's impossible to see these people as anything but what they are. I am a great friend. But more often than not, the females I've known don't want their partners to be their friends.

I know there are no revolutionary ideas here, but in my mind, the dynamics of why these things happen aren't terribly revolutionary themselves. People are fickle, and they love and hurt one another for the simplest or stupidest reasons. This doesn't depress me in general, though it can depress me at times. People don't want things because they feel wrong, even when all signs point towards their being the best choices. I didn't start by being this girl's friend because I wasn't interested in her; I just reacted to who she was the way I did, and she, unfortunately for me, reacted the way she does to me. By making me a part of her life that I didn't want to be.

But I'll cut myself off there, because in no way was this a thin excuse to share my own personal stories. I'd love to continue talking about this, though. Cheers everyone.

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#11 Post by Ithildriel » Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:42 am

People are fickle, and they love and hurt one another for the simplest or stupidest reasons.
This is a great line.

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