You Don’t Need A Perfect Man. You Need A Man With Potential

At any moment in life’s long journey, we can meet the person we’re meant to spend the rest of our lives with. For some, that chance encounter happens early in life; for others not until much later.

By Robyn Riley3 min read
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Shutterstock/Jacob Lund

There is no “right time” to meet your soulmate. It often happens when we least expect it, and to be able to discern that it’s happening in the moment requires an open heart and an unyielding reliance on your curiosity and intuition. 

Finding Love Requires More Than Self-Promotion

Unfortunately, there are many emotional roadblocks that can hinder a woman’s ability to determine who is and isn’t worth her loyalty and time. From feminist pop-culture’s insistence that in order to be “empowered” we must prioritize career over family, to our own inability to set realistic standards for the kind of man we believe we deserve. The hunt for love is a haphazard endeavor punctuated by sophisticated illusions on social media and the mayhem of the modern age. The good news is there are things any woman can do to make herself wise in the art of finding love, and it begins with yourself. 

We wrongly assume this competitive strategy of having to make a case for yourself also applies to love. 

In the realms of academia, career, politics, athleticism, show business, and science, there seems to be no limit to the successes women are capable of acquiring. Many of us are used to rampant competition and the requirement of having to “sell oneself” to prospective employers, universities, and audiences to gain success. We wrongly assume that this same competitive strategy of having to make a case for yourself also applies to love. We forget that when we first meet someone our focus should be as much about finding out who a man is, as it is about sharing what makes us a good catch. 

How To Discover a Man’s Potential

I’m reminded of a quote by a famous Roman poet, Publilius Syrus: “We are interested in others when they are interested in us.” Many high-achieving women fall into the trap of treating dates like an oral recounting of their resume, and unfortunately, men tend to simply not be that interested in our accolades. They’re often far more interested in our femininity, our agreeableness, our conversational ability, and, of course, our beauty. 

You can be sure that if you were to ask a man lots of thoughtful questions about himself, not only would he be delighted at the opportunity to tell you about who he is, but he would also give you the opportunity to find out if he’s truly the kind of man you’re looking for. Furthermore, it illustrates that you’re the type of woman who is concerned with the inner world of others, and this can leave a very positive, lasting impression on someone in a very short time.

We are interested in others when they are interested in us.

In a discussion led by genuine curiosity, you can find out a man’s ambitions, the suffering and struggle that he has overcome, if he is religious or political, how he feels about his family, what kind of work ethic he has, etc. These are far greater indicators that a man is worth your investment than his mere salary, his height, or what kind of car he drives. 

High-achieving women especially can have trouble finding a man because their standards are simply too unrealistic. They, like all women, want to feel that they are dating up, that they’ve found a man who is of high value, but so few men will make the cut when compared against their own long list of achievements. This is why it makes sense to stop judging men solely on their current status and to instead look for a man who you can grow with. 

From Humble Beginnings

For younger women, who have not spent a great deal of their lives chasing career and social success, you won’t likely have the same problems high-status women face. When I first met my husband, I was at square one. I had just left a long and harmful relationship, quit my two jobs, and moved back home from a foreign country with nothing. When I met him, he similarly had been scarred by a previous, tumultuous relationship and was experimenting with asceticism to discipline his body and mind. To my horror, he didn’t even have salt and pepper in his kitchen! 

From these humble beginnings, we peered into one another hoping to find the building blocks for what we both desired for our future, and we found them. Not the whole complete person, but the potential. We didn’t focus on the stumbling that we had done that got us to this point, but instead, we focused on the fact that though we had made mistakes, neither of us had given up on ourselves. We had little material wealth, but we both had big ambitions for family life and self-sustainability, and we clarified this to one another immediately. Yes, you heard me, on date one

This may seem a bit scary when most opt to discuss favorite tv shows or bands as ice-breaking conversation, but I can’t express to you how romantic it really is to grow, build a life, and fall in love with someone who right from the start you know is looking forward to the same goals as you. No games, no guesswork — just productive, life-giving support of one another’s aspirations to be strong and happy. The love that we share today continues to deepen as we encounter the complexity of life’s struggles, most recently those associated with becoming new parents. 

It’s romantic to grow and build a life with someone who is looking forward to the same goals as you. 

We have since grown to be better people, and better for one another, as we face the challenges of both being ourselves and becoming who we are meant to be, as a team. I have witnessed how far my husband has come since we first met, and in a way, that makes me love him even more than if I had met him as the man he is today.

So determine what your goals are for the future that you’re trying to build. What are the foundational things in life that are important to you? Is it family? Home-ownership? Being your own boss? Make clear in your mind  — and to prospective men — the things you want from the beginning when vetting a man and try to discover what those things are in him. Compatibility on this basis is the fertile ground upon which long-lasting relationships can be built because it’s not just about the image we sell to others, our trophies, or appearance, but about the transformative power of love. 

Closing Thoughts

No person is actually perfect, and whether you’re a high-achiever or have humble beginnings, we can all stand to improve some things about ourselves. Let that journey be a part of the story about how you found love. The hardest part is having the courage to both believe in yourself and in someone else.