For the past 2 years I have written about the “miracle” of meeting the perfect man for me (PMFM) after being single for 35 years.
Finding The Right One
If you’re curious about this miracle meeting and back-story, click on this link to read more about how I was looking for love and Jerry was looking for a Porsche.
But while people love this story, a lot of people are curious about my/our suggestions or recommendations for how to find the “right one” or “their person.”
For example, a person recently asked me: What questions or criteria would you ask or change in a budding relationship, now that you’ve found the “PMFM?”
What’s Your “Checklist?”
First, I would have expanded my “criteria,” which I now realize had no relationship to evaluating a person’s true character and integrity. It turns out that Jerry is the opposite of almost everything on the “checklist” that I thought was important! He’s outside of my ideal age range, (9 years older,) religious and spiritual preferences, (Jewish and agnostic), political affiliation (republican) and education level, (no college degree). Yet our compatibility is spot-on! Here’s why:
As an entrepreneur, Jerry had three companies in the hospitality industry for over 35 years. His catering business in SoCal had more than 100 employees and was a consistent winner of Chamber of Commerce awards. His companies (as well as his marriage,) were a reflection of his core beliefs of teamwork, empowerment and being of service.
As a corporate executive and then consultant on corporate culture, Jerry personified everything I wrote and spoke about. His leadership and management practices exemplified everything I implemented and advocated for healthy and profitable workplace cultures. Suffice it to say we’re in geek-heaven when we talk business!
No checklist could come close to encompassing these qualities and traits that I highly value, which is why the get-to-know-you question process is so important.
And The Answer Is…
I realized that I would not change any of the questions I would ask during the get-to-know-you phase.
While the questions I asked were important, anyone can provide “the right” answers.
I’d say it’s more important to pay close attention to the kinds of questions the person asks you. Are they thoughtful and curious? Pushy or nosy? Do they even ask you about your experiences or opinions? Or really listen?
Here’s what I now think is the “gold” in discovering the right person: what does the person do with the information they have about your preferences, experiences, interests and desires?
For example, Jerry and I talked on the phone for over an hour before we actually met. Somehow, during the conversation (and who knows how this came up as a topic of conversation…) I casually mentioned that I thought a great look for a man is to wear blue jeans with a crisp white shirt.
When we met for lunch a week later – what was he wearing?… blue jeans and a crisp white shirt.
Taking Note And Acting On It
And I have to say that he always takes note of what I say and acts on it… whether it’s my comments about taming his errant eyebrows that have a mind of their own or mentioning the dead lizards that our island cat, Captain Kiddy, captures, plays with and leaves at our bedside as trophies …and my not so subtly hinting that I’d like him to remove them! Which he always does.
It’s amazing to me – to be with someone who is so attentive, yet not deferential or patronizing. He never points out all that he does or expects anything in return. This, in itself is gratefully unexpected, given that I was raised hearing: “After all I’ve done for you? This is the thanks I get???!!!”
When I ask him about his willingness to act on my preferences or squeamish-ness – he just says he wants to please me. And when he finds those opportunities to do that, I am usually in awe that someone would do that for me.
So, I think in these examples, it’s a combination of his willingness to please, unconditionally, and hopefully, that I recognize his thoughtfulness, express heartfelt appreciation and try to reciprocate in ways that bring him joy. (FYI – an hour-long head massage under the stars always works!)
By the way, I think this approach goes way beyond exploring budding relationships and could be a spark or remedy for couples experiencing sluggish or complacent routines.
Readiness To Receive
On a different note, another possible contributor to the magic of this relationship that we’ve discussed, was a new readiness to receive on my part.
As a strong and independent woman for 35 years and sole proprietor of a successful business for over 20 years, I was used to making all decisions, in every area of my life.
I remember when I was about 40 years old, I made a declaration: I do not want to be dependent on any man for my life and lifestyle.
Having been in some fun relationships that afforded me some unique trips and experiences, I realized that I was not willing to sacrifice myself or settle for an unhappy relationship in exchange for a certain lifestyle. If I wanted that kind of fun and adventure in my life, I had to figure out how to provide it for myself.
There’s good news and bad news that came with that declaration. The good news was: I was motivated to up-my-game in generating income, expanding my horizons and sense of autonomy. The bad news is that I developed a “wall” when it came to “receiving” anything tangible or intangible from a potential partner or lover.
In addition, as my independent adventures expanded and the “wall” magnified, an edginess that was probably already there – resulted in increased skepticism and defensiveness. I was frequently told that men were intimidated by me. While I found this comment perplexing and annoying at the time, it now makes a little more sense to me.
The Real Deal
Then, when Jerry told me on our second date that he could “teach me about love,” I found that rather than being my typical skeptical self, I was curious and hopeful. My instincts said: “this guy’s the real deal” and I decided to trust my instincts.
I’m glad I did. For the past two years, his integrity, compassion and humor in our daily interactions have indeed taught me about giving and receiving love. In return, Jerry says that he feels alive again and is excited about the future, especially the next head rub!
Lucky me. Lucky us.
Marty Stanley, is a national author, speaker, life coach and re-inventer of life. She and Jerry are preparing for their next adventure in August. Stay tuned! She can be reached somewhere… by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or texting 816-695-5453.