If I had the lover I imagine, I’m sure my head would explode in a shower of sparks. I dream, I write, I pray, and I search for the right woman. But mostly I imagine her in crazy-amazing projections and poems and flights of fancy. I know that they are my fantasies, and somehow that keeps me safe. But in building the perfect lover for the next relationship, I do have touch points that are essential for me. I wanted to capture a few of them, for myself, and for gaining a deeper understanding of the core wants and desires of my heart. (Your needs and dreams may vary.)
1. The Spark of Desire
Something in the way she moves… The spark is an initial reaction to the other person’s entire presence. We call it chemistry, lust, passion, sexual desire. But I know what it is when I feel it, and I can tell very quickly when I don’t. For all the work ahead to actually build a friendship and relationship, the spark has got to be genuine. The chemistry does not grow over time, in my experience. Either you know it or you don’t. She will have that magical element for me, something I can’t name, something that’s not about hair, or clothes, or fitness. She will have moves that draw me in even as she’s merely crossing the coffee shop to say hello for the first time.
2. A Temple of Worship
Yes, the physical body is a temple. And for the long haul, I believe that my worship of the feminine body is part of my energy, gift, power, drive. I love women. I have loved very few women. I know that my next full-on love is out there. And I will be patient and honest in my quest to identify and seek her out. But there is not one perfect body. In fact, I’m learning more recently how younger and uber-fit women are no longer turn-ons for me. They remind me of my daughter more than a potential partner. I love watching them run by, all abs and legs and glowing skin. But that’s not what I’m looking for. And I think my architectural requirements for that woman are fairly flexible. I know that the combined ingredients outweigh any flash of beauty and brilliance of hip or smile. Still, there is something I want, and all the many ways that I can pay respects to their beauty, the more deeply I will bond. I do have to admit, I am somewhat selective in what I consider beautiful, but it’s not the typical hottie. And while this aspect is 100% critical, once I’ve imprinted on her, she will know I am done, settled, satisfied, as I will tell her all the time, and show her in my actions and support.
3. Hopes, Dreams, and Desires
What does she want? How is she expressing her vibrancy in the world? Can she articulate her wants and desires? Does she know what she’s looking for in a relationship and can she express those ideas to me? Clarity of purpose is one of life’s true missions. If she is on her own mission I am much more likely to want to nuzzle up beside her and explore her wants and dreams and how they might or might not dovetail into mine.
4. Holistic Intelligence
There is no such thing as just-in-time intelligence. If she is smart it will show. If she is fascinated by learning and growing, it is easy to see. There are some key indicators that I listen for early in the first coffee date. Is TV a thing for her? If so, we’re probably not a match. Doe she have other things to talk about besides work and working out? Can she listen and engage in subjects as we jump quickly from topic to topic. You can even tell, when you begin the opening communications via texts or emails. Is there poetry in her words, in how she expresses herself?
5. Brilliant Wit
While I love to make a woman laugh, and it may be one of my gifts, I am more interested in how she might make me laugh. Can she engage in rapid-fire banter? If she jokes about something deep, does she get hurt when you joke back? What are the little things that tickle her? Does she laugh easily and often? Laughter might bring me closer to a woman faster than anything else.
6. Eyes That Shine Like Diamonds
Intensity and desire is radiated out of the eyes. You can see excitement, lust, sadness, joy. The women I meet who are alive and radiant are broadcasting on all channels with their eyes. And often makeup can be a distraction, camouflage. On dating profiles, it’s the eyes and the smile that draw me in past the initial “curb appeal” profile photo. You can see it even in photos. She’s either on fire inside or she’s not.
How easily does she show affection? Can she tell you early on what she wants, what she likes, how she likes it? Can she tell you, “Wow, you’re cute.” Or “Man, you are sexy right now.” Not in the first few minutes. But if there is an arm brush, or a light pat on the shoulder during the first date, then we might have a match with our love language. This woman is going to be my next long-term cheerleader, she needs to be able to share her enthusiasms and ecstasies.
8. Joy that Radiates
You can see it, can’t you? When someone shines with joy, their beauty is amplified ten-fold. A joyous partner is critical if that’s your normal state as well. I’ve been in two marriages that had an imbalance in the joy d’ vivre, in the simple love of waking up in the morning to see what comes next. I am listening for her joy. I am tuning into the way she expresses herself in all types of situations. We can’t always be love and light, but it’s easy to notice when someone deals with adversity from a place of security and inner joy and when they are less centered.
9. High Intensity/Low Drama
I’m a type-a personality. And while I’m not only attracted to other “driven” people, that might be an unconscious requirement. Certainly, drama is the biggest turn off there is. We had enough drama in our previous relationships. We might’ve stayed in that stressful situation for longer than we should’ve. But as newly released adults we should have a very low tolerance for drama. It’s simply not a necessary tool to communicate wants and needs. In my experience, most drama comes from unmet expectations. And in our busy, two-family lives, expectations are going to be shifted and disappointments are going to happen. If there’s a fiery response to a missed date opportunity due to family obligations, well… perhaps our priorities aren’t in sync. Let’s put our kid’s priorities ahead of our “dating” priorities and our expectations can come back to reality. I expect an honest and intense woman who doesn’t need to freak out to get her way. I am most-likely doing my best to accommodate and appreciate all of the opportunities with her, but things come up. How she responds says a lot about how she will respond in the future.
10. Silent Affection
The in-between times. Silences together, and silences apart. Are you both okay with a bit of silence? The quiet moments are often the closest. Breathe together and quit trying so hard to figure it out. If she can do that, we’re a long way towards compatibility. And her silences just make her that much more mysterious and alluring to me.
11. Love Language = Touch
I show my affection by touching you. A pat on the shoulder, a hand on your back, holding hands, are all high forms of affection for me. I have been married twice to women who had other requirements to feel loved. (See The 5 Love Languages – a book on love styles by Gary Chapman) And while the relationship is possible with someone who requires a different language, there is sure to be a lot more negotiation and compromise. I have dated a woman once, who also spoke “touch.” Her open expression of affection for me brought me a new meaning for feeling loved. I could tell she was in love. She let me know, even early on, that she was crazy about me. It felt so different from my last 20 years in adult relationships that I was surprised by how good it made me feel. I have seen what that feels like. A woman with the same love language (touch) is essential for me. (Back when I got married, both times, this knowledge hadn’t been articulated. Today we have the book, the concept, and we’d better listen to the language of our hearts because it’s going to drive a good portion of our relationship.
12. Spiritual Heights
Spiritual and religious are two different things in my mind. One revolves around church, dogma, and some concept of “their god” who is different from the other gods of the world. Christianity is a great example. I was raised Presbyterian. I am a member of a Methodist church. But I rarely go to church. And while I believe Christ was a man, and the Bible does it’s best to relate his mystical relationship to god and his followers, I don’t believe that Christ is the only path to my personal connection to god, or GOD.
I love the people in my church, some of them are my closest friends. And I am deeply moved by the minister nearly every time I hear him speak. But somewhere deep inside of me, I don’t need a church to feel right with god. My GOD, may be different from your GOD, but I believe we’re talking about the same deity. Spirituality to me, is a form of modern-day mysticism. (See Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality – by Matthew Fox) I believe, like many of the ancient mystics, that our relationship to god, or the beloved, or great spirit, is much more about my personal faith and my relationship to that idea of wholeness. I believe I am communing with my god when I am walking in nature. I believe that a poem is as good as any prayer. So I pray, I write poems, I worship directly through acts of service and appreciations and gratefulness. I often don’t go to church.
13. Flexible Body and Mind
Every item above are ideas of what I want in a relationship. And every one of them are like maps that are ready to be set on fire. When SHE shows up, and we begin to explore our connections, the items on my list will magically fade away. While I believe the maps are important to help me identify my priorities, the fulfillment of those ideals will probably come in a form very different from what I imagine. Can this woman be flexible in her ideas and concepts of what she’s looking for as well? If she has a construct of: no kids, six-pack abs, and radiant smile, we’re a non-starter anyway. But in the more subtle ways can she bring up and let go of dreams, fantasies, hopes, plans? I can, to some degree, and it’s this flexibility that keeps me growing and learning even through setbacks, dashed dreams, and disappointments. Those things are going to happen. The potential for conflict is going to happen. But the flexible person can see both sides of an issue and let go of their argument when it no longer serves as a request for change.
I believe in order to find our lover we need a fairly clear picture of what they might be. Way beyond looks, the construction or destruction happens over the course of the initial weeks of “dating.” What forms beyond the initial chemistry is what will remain beyond the heat of the sexual newness. If you’re addicted to the “next lover” you may pass up the opportunity to explore and educate yourself on ways your maps and strategies are wrong.
In this end, this is more of a prayer than a map. My desires are a bit more abstract, more driven by the heart, less like tactics or requirements. Every “map” I’ve created has been torn to shreds by the woman who shows up. That’s the idea. But the visualization and wish list are critical structures to understanding your own heart. If you have a map, at least you will know when you’ve gone off plan, or if you are forging new territories.
Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)
- We Have So Few Chances to Feel Loved
- Forgiveness (guest post by Michelle Roman Higgins)
- Prayer for Single Parents, and My Ex
- Learning to Love In the Present Moment
image: hands, korinne m jackman, creative commons usage
Here are my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life
Wallflowers – How Good It Can Get
You won’t believe
Just how good it can get
We’ll make a lover
Out of you yet