Jenny Block on being the partner you are looking for
You know that quote about “being the change you wish to see in the world?” It’s attributed to Gandhi, although clearly it’s too Instagrammy to actually be his. It’s close, though. What he actually did say was, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…. We need not wait to see what others do.”
I feel confident that he was talking about big things like world peace and climate protection and the like. Thing is, his words apply equally well to dating and love, too. I know, I know — you don’t hear the name Gandhi and think “love and dating guru.” (“Dear Mahatma…”) You think, well, guru. But the truth is, this just may be the best advice out there when it comes to finding and keeping the kind of love you seek.
If I had a nickel for every time someone complained to me that there were “no good ones out there,” but that they themselves couldn’t actually be categorized as one of the good ones either, I would be a very rich girl indeed. Those folks want someone who is good-looking and funny and kind and selfless and gainfully-employed and on good terms with their parents and with minty-fresh breath even in the morning. They want someone who knows how to cook and who works out and is good with kids and animals and who doesn’t have drug or alcohol or gambling addictions.
But they could never pass muster using the same standards. It’s crazy talk. Listen, if you want to find a good one, you have to be a good one.
The most extreme examples of this, of course, are those moronic beta males or incels who hate women because women don’t want to date them. They hate women for only wanting alpha males, but what do they do to make themselves, if not alphas, on the road to alphadoms? They don’t wash their hair or put on clean clothes or get a job or move out of their parents’ basement or stop playing all of those fucking violent video games. And they aren’t interested in women who are anything short of Playboy centerfold material, because they are men, and women owe them by virtue of their very existence.
I’ve got news for them: No one owes them shit. No one owes any of us, especially in the dating universe. Those little boys need to take a good, long look at themselves. Partnering with someone is about finding someone to complement you and who you can complement. Those guys have zero to offer. So why on earth would anyone offer themselves to them? It’s nonsensical.
And this isn’t about looks or weight or money. It’s about being one’s best self. It’s about being conscious of who you are as a person and asking yourself,
“Would I want to date me?” If the answer is a resounding, “No,” then why on earth would anyone else want to, either? And you can swap out the word date for love or marry. It all works the same way in this case.
“You’re so lucky,” people tell me when they hear about my wife and marriage. And I am lucky. But I also am a pretty OK person. I take good care of her and my family. I’m honest with her. I take care of myself. I am good to her friends. I work hard. I know how to compromise. Animals like me. I prefer discussions to arguments. I work hard to be the kind of partner I want to have and therefore I have that kind of partner.
A friend has been divorced twice and is not faring well on the dating scene now. I know her well. I know how she treats her partners versus how she expects to be treated. She is controlling and bossy and entitled and is shocked when people aren’t interested in playing by her rules and catering to her need to be the belle of the ball.
It’s so obvious from the outside. But if you try to talk to her about it, no matter how kindly, she simply can’t see it. She has in her mind what she deserves and doesn’t see her actions as having any bearing on her being able to obtain that. And I do mean obtain.
Whether we are looking for a partner or are already partnered and looking to make our relationship the best that it can be, there is virtually no better advice than to start with you. Put out in the universe the kindness and caring you want to receive. Take care of yourself in the way you want your partner to take care of herself. Become the best you, whatever that means.
We have to take equal responsibility in the love and dating games. All those clichés about it being a two-way street are true. You have to pave the way if you expect someone to want to walk with you on the journey of love and life. So before you complain about the dating pool or your partner’s lack of, well, whatever, check out what’s looking back at you from that mirror. Are you the partner you want to have?
— Jenny Block
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