My friend Dennis has it all – a successful career, plenty of friends, money and time for travel, a beautiful home... but he’s lacking one critical ingredient of happiness: someone to share his life.
And it's not for lack of trying. Dennis keeps an exhaustive social schedule and even uses two separate dating sites to meet available singles. Yet, somehow, every woman eventually comes up short. One has a crooked nose, another is 10 pounds too heavy, one doesn't ski, another is too attached to her cats... After spending a few days, weeks or even months getting to know a woman, Dennis inevitably finds something unacceptable and moves on.
I have come to the conclusion that Dennis is doomed to a life of loneliness because – like many other single men – he is searching for something that likely doesn't exist: The perfect woman.
Take A Look At The Man In The Mirror
Several factors are operating beneath the surface for men who crave the perfect woman but will never find her, explains Anne Rettenberg, author of Finding the Woman You Want: A Therapist’s Advice for Men Looking for a Permanent Relationship.
Most men searching for the ideal woman suffer from a fragile ego and fear getting involved. Because they feel inferior, the only way they can raise their self-esteem is by dating a woman they perceive to be special, gorgeous and flawless. “Either these men don’t recognize their own flaws, or they think if they associate with the perfect glamorous woman, they’ll be cured,” notes Rettenberg.
Another issue is a fear of intimacy. “These men may view relationships with a woman as suffocating or trapping, and they don’t want to be tied down,” Rettenberg said. Rather than deal with the woman as she actually is – a human being comprised of both strengths and limitations – these men build a wall through their demands so they’ll never have to be close to a woman.
Making A List, Checking It Twice
In some cases, men misunderstand what a relationship is all about. They enter the dating world with a checklist of items they're looking for in a woman, as if they were buying an automobile. Instead of "Does the car have sufficient horsepower, a GPS and a killer sound system?", they ask "Is this woman bi-lingual? Is she worldly? Does she have Tiffany taste and a million dollar smile?"
“We live in the most consumerist culture in the world, and we’re bombarded by advertising everyday that we deserve the best, we’re special and we shouldn't settle for less,” Rettenberg says. Much of this consumer driven behavior brainwashes and influences single men who date. If they could stop treating women like a product acquisition and see them as fully developed, three-dimensional people, perhaps the dating game would produce a loved one, not just a series of one-time encounters at Starbucks.