Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What's the Matter with Men?

Last night I was with a group of single women my age and we started buzzing about our favorite topic: men. I was noticing that we seldom have much good to say about them and have been wondering why. I’ve known any number of genuinely good men in my life, but these aren’t the guys I generally discuss with my girlfriends.

With this particular group of four women, we were comparing notes about internet dating. Two were relatively new to it and were dealing with the disappointment and deception that often accompanies meeting someone online. Because I spent years dating men on the internet, I could fill volumes with my stories. But I’m not pursuing this anymore. (In fact, I’m not particularly pursuing men, as I’ve learned to live a very full life without them and don’t feel the need I once did.) So, in our little group, I was the one who had been there and done that. Then, the fourth woman recently met her future husband through the internet. I suppose, if that is the goal of internet dating, as many believe it is, then hers is the story of success. However, I wouldn’t say that my time spent with internet dating was for nothing. I met some great people along the way, had some unforgettable adventures, and grew to understand myself in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s a part of my journey, and all is well. But back to the question at hand…

Why do single women enjoy bashing men? Here’s what I’m thinking. I know this is a generalization, but I suspect it may have something to do with the fact that we can’t imagine why we should have to be in the position of seeking a man to begin with, so we’re already a little angry about the whole thing. We take our manlessness quite personally. And rather than feel crappy about ourselves, we’d rather put the crap back on them. “So, what’s the matter with these men? Can’t they recognize what an amazing woman I am? There must be something seriously wrong with them!”

Once, when I was experiencing one failed relationship after another, I heard that our relationships are only as healthy as we are and unhealthy people will attract unhealthy people. I don’t know if this is true but it was enough for me to entertain the possibility that maybe the reason why I kept ending up with men who weren’t quite right was because I wasn’t quite right. I didn’t need a man; I needed a therapist. (Okay, so he happened to be a man.)

Relationships are so darn complicated; I don’t pretend to understand them. But one of the things I’ve concluded through the years is that the biggest obstacle any relationship must overcome is seldom found in the other person. Most often, it’s within us. And until we get our own act together, we’ll never be satisfied with any other person because we’re expecting them to do something for us that we need to do for ourselves. Jerry McGuire’s declaration that “You complete me” is just plain wrong! No one else can complete us.

On the other hand, I know that none of us is ever complete, or whole. It’s our life’s journey to grow toward wholeness. And it really is a gift to have someone who can walk beside us to support us and cheer us on along the way. That’s the gift that relationships bring, and if you’re fortunate enough to have people in your life who do that, you are truly blessed. If that includes someone whom you deeply love, you are doubly blessed.

Can such a person be found on the internet? Why not? But I have observed that such people are seldom planned in our lives and we can’t search them out. They surprise us like an unexpected gift that turns out to be just what we’ve always wanted even though it never occurred to us before that we wanted it.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I completely agree...My whole thought on relationships has always been that I don't want someone to "complete" me, but rather, someone who "enhances" me, "complements" me, or brings out the best in me...the only person who can truly "complete" yourself is you!