All The Single Ladies: Dating a Man With Children?

dating-relationship-man-with-kidsBeing on the dating scene, I’ve been reconsidering what characteristics I desire in a partner and which are absolute deal breakers. A situation I’ve come across more and more lately are men with a child or children. Divorcees, single fathers, or men who parent part-time, they identify themselves in various ways. Dating these men comes with the implicit agreement that you will be meeting and eventually spending your time with a person under the age of eighteen.

Until now I never considered a man having children to be problematic. After all, there all sorts of families, many of them featuring stepchildren. I’m now realizing that the situation is far more complex than it may at first appear. Men with children, rightfully, can prioritize their children. As a woman in the beginning stages of a relationship, it can be off-putting to know that you are in second place by default. Then there is the issue of having the relationship become long-term and essentially becoming a stepmother and assuming all the responsibilities of mommy long before having any children of your own. And of course there are the issues that can arise with the child’s mother. She is free to interrupt your plans with emergencies, call at odd hours, and otherwise impose.

Dating a man with children has its upsides. Such a man is likely more stable, responsible, and past the stage of having his world center around his selfish needs. A woman can be assured that such a man will make a good father because he already is one. In many cases he is more than capable of sustaining a long-term committed relationship because he likely has already been in one.

Is the extra work of dating a man with kids worth it, however? Single women without children, I’m interested in your thoughts in particular. Other women and men are also welcome.

Advertisements

Why The Man Has to Chase, Part Two

black-woman-phone-laughingThree years ago I wrote Article Response: Why The Man Has to Chase. Since then the post has received over 100 comments on why men should or should not be the ones to pursue women for a romantic relationship. A few comments claimed that people should be more open-minded and not be so old-fashioned; women should be able to pursue men when they want.

I agree. Women should be allowed to pursue a man that they are interested in. However, this idea brings to mind one question: why wouldn’t a man chase, if he were interested? Wouldn’t he want to go after what he wanted?

To understand, women: imagine, you meet a man you like. 

You are mesmerized by his presence and dream of the things you will see and do together. When not with him, you often think of him. Would you then choose not to contact or be around this same man? Would you choose to do most other things over spending time with them? Of course not.

Interest and liking of a person is naturally followed by a desire to be in their presence — physically, emotionally, mentally. Disinterest or ambivalence, on the other hand, leads to a lack of desire to be in a person’s presence.

Many women have experience the barrage of contact from a man who is interested in them. Calls, texts, the man finding ways to show up where they are. Sometimes the situation may not be extreme but the general tendency of the man is to seek out ways to spend time with their love interest.

So another strong reason why a man should pursue a woman is quite simply because if he were interested, he would pursue.

Having a man chase doesn’t mean a woman simply waits around and does nothing. It can mean allowing a man to take the initiative once interest is established. Enthusiastically responding to his contact and keeping communication going is good, as is occasionally initiating contact. Pursuing and eagerly contacting a man who isn’t showing reciprocal interest, however, could easily result in undesirable circumstances, as discussed in Part One.

So once again, women, let a man pursue you. You won’t be sorry if you do.

5 Signs You’re Dating a Jerk

dating-jerk

Dating a jerk? How to know?

It may seem obvious when a guy you’re dating might be a jerk — a rude, selfish boor lacking in even the most basic of manners. However, some jerks are much more subtle, and only reveal their true selves when alone with you or in certain contexts.  It can be difficult to tell if you’re dealing with someone who is angry, honest, or just a garden variety jerk.

That said, the jerk has a few tell-tales signs which are evident in much of his behavior. Over the years of dealing with a variety of jerks, I’ve found that these signs are common to all, and are dead giveaways that you are dealing with a jerky guy:

1. He is always right

Jerks, who usually have an unrealistically positive view of themselves, tend to think they are always right as a result. Or at least mostly right. And always when it counts.

I know, I know — no one is always right. The jerk was never let in on this secret, it seems. Or he disagreed with the person who said it, and since he is always right, well, we’re back to where we started.

2. He criticizes…often

Relationships are about learning and growing but the jerk doesn’t realize that this is a gradual process and a two-way street. He will give “kind” hints that something is not to his liking, and mention it often until it the situation is altered to suit his desires. His criticism is general, extending to people, places, and things alike, and never-ending.

3. He is rude to others

PSA to all women: Any man who is rude to others, regardless of how he treats you, is a jerk. There is no use in denying it or protecting him, because his true jerkish tendencies will be directed toward you, sooner or later. If not, his jerk behavior will make your relationships with others a constant battle.

4.  He ignores your opinion

Ever get the feeling that you’re talking to the air? Are conversations a contest to see who can best the other’s statements? Does your guy ask for your opinion and then do whatever he wants anyway?

You may be dealing with a jerk.

5. He dictates

Confidence is a great trait to have. Don’t confuse a confident guy with a jerk: a confident man is assured of his abilities and does not need to control others. The jerk, on the other hand, is less confident and builds a false sense of security on overtly or covertly bending others to his will. Beware.

See also:

Attractive Personality Traits in Men

man-intellectual-crownA previous post, Attractive Features in Men covered the physical features I find most attractive in men. But what about a man’s mental and emotional traits? Which personality characteristics increase a man’s appeal? Here is my personal list of the most attractive personality traits in men.

1. Intellectually Curious

Intellectual curiosity adds tremendously to a man’s attractiveness. The eagerness and willingness to learn new things and increase one’s knowledge makes a person that much more interesting. There is more to discuss, share, and do.

2. Open

Related to intellectual curiosity, a man who shows an openness of mind is receptive to new ways of being and is able to adapt and accommodate the unfamiliar or unknown. Such a trait makes it easier to deal with all the changes life brings.

3. Independent

While independence of body is great, independence of mind is most attractive. Independence of mind means being able to absorb and analyze information and come to decisions without needing the input of others. An independent man knows his own values, wants, and needs, and doesn’t mind if others may disagree with them.

4. Committed

It might seem obvious but being able to stay committed to what they start is a trait which distinguishes certain men from others. Too many become distracted, lose focus, or can’t muster the will to stick to see something all the way through. A man who can stay the course has wide appeal.

5. Quirky

Just a pinch of peculiar makes a person more exciting to be around. I enjoy a man who is a bit offbeat, one whose behavior and way of being isn’t quite expected. A man who is different from the crowd catches my eye and holds my interest.

6. Emotionally Intelligent

A man with emotional intelligence understands his own emotions and how they affect him and those around him. He is able to foster positive relationships and minimize conflict with others. It goes without saying that this is a very valuable trait to have in an intimate relationship.

7. Loving

A man who is truly loving has depth of feeling for those close to him and isn’t afraid to express these feelings from time to time, in the way he knows how. He considers it important to make sure that those significant in his life are reminded of his love for them. Whether that be through words or actions, a loving man is attractive to women and in general.

Which characteristics are on your list? What make a man attractive to you?

See also:

Open Question: Should Women Pursue Men?

equal-courtshipSince publishing the response article Why the Man Has to Chase I’ve received several comments and emails from men and women alike explaining why, or why not, they agree with the premise of the post. For the most part, the men who have written in do not agree with the idea that while women can initiate contact, women are more successful in dating and relationships if they leave the pursuing and chasing to men.

In contrast, the vast majority of women who have given their responses agree with the article and have given their experiences with dating that support the theory behind it. In the females’ experience, for a variety of reasons, pursuing men they have found attractive has been mostly unsuccessful.

Now, I ask readers, considering all factors: your experiences, personal beliefs, and any others: do you think women should pursue men?

One part of my view is contained in the earlier post — no, women should not pursue men because men don’t want to be chased. Men, if they’re interested, will show this interest in some way, thus making chasing men unnecessary.

However, the idealist in me does believe that women should pursue men. After all, this makes securing the man she finds the most attractive, easier, instead of choosing from the men who show interest. In a world without gender bias and norms, women would and should approach men. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world.

What is your view? Should women pursue men or not?

Do Men Like Curvy Women?

curvy-woman-attractiveSkinny, thick, slim, thin, full-figured.

…Curvy.

It is often said that men like curvy women — “Only a dog wants a bone.” Some women deride a decidedly skinny female form as boyish and less sexually appealing than the curvy silhouette. While popular culture features mostly thinner figured, many women and men alike praise the curvy figure as more natural to women, suggesting that it shows youth and fertility.

Those who disagree with this view mock such praise as invention of overweight women to feel better about the fact that their figures are not highlighted as beautiful. But what sort of figure do men truly find the most attractive — does the curvy form stand above all? And what exactly is “curvy”?

Shape vs. Size

A curvy figure is defined as one without a straight, continuous surface; a curvy woman has a shape which is rounded or contoured. Thus, curvy is a shape rather than a size, as some would believe — a woman can be curvy and thin, or curvy and heavy, and everything in between.

A better indicator of curviness, some say, is bust size (the larger, the curvier) and the Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR): the waist measurement divided by the hip measurement. The ideal WHR is said to be 0.7 or less, usually corresponding to a a hip measurement that is 10 inches larger than the waist. In combination with a larger bust size, this equals the revered hourglass figure, one of the rarest figures in Western society.

Body Mass Index vs Waist-Hip Ratio

If anyone was looking for proof of the reliability of the WHR in determining beauty, many studies have tied the ideal WHR of 0.7 to overall attractiveness, across cultures and centuries. However, other studies suggest that while WHR might be an important factor in judging female attractiveness, overall body size as indicated by the Body Mass Index (BMI) might be just as important, if not more.

In the United Kingdom, a large study containing over 700 men found that, among women of all sizes and shapes, BMI was a better indicator a woman’s being deemed attractive than her WHR. Men were presented with real images of female figures and asked to rate their attractiveness. They found that WHR, in other words, curviness, only accounted for a quarter of a female’s attractiveness rating while BMI was much more indicative. And the most attractive BMI was found to be 20.8 — a lower BMI than most women and roughly equivalent to a trim US size 4.

A smaller study, conducted in the US among male students also found that BMI was a stronger indicator of males’ perception of a female’s attractiveness than WHR. This time WHR accounted for only 2 percent of a female’s attractiveness rating, while BMI accounted for 75 percent. Again, the most attractive BMI was found to be the lower 19-20, on the edge of healthy weight.

Which Wins?

So do men like curvy women or do they prefer thinner figures? It’s likely that many variables must be taken into account and there will never be a definitive answer that stands the test of time and culture. Researchers believe that WHR is a biologically wired feature of attractiveness while BMI is a socially ingrained determinant of attractiveness, hence its leaning towards the more lauded thinner figure.

In the end, no size or shape has ever been considered attractive by all men studied, and an individual’s perceptions may not always be in line with what society believes should be the most attractive figure.

7 Types of Men I’d Never Date

do-not-pass-goMost people have a “type” — a particular look or personality that they find appealing in others. I’m the same — I also have types, but what I have more of are non-types — those that I do not find appealing or even repelling.

These types coincide with general personality traits I find disagree with my own, but in romantic relationships they take on an even greater importance. At a distance you can pretend everything’s fine, but in close quarters, you can only pretend for so long. Perhaps this should be titled “7 Types of Men I’d Never Date (Again)”:

The Argumenter — The Argumenter is that great debater you found so attractive at first. Just so informed, intellectual, and worldly, isn’t he? He’d never lose an argument…Including one with you, and he spares no words.

Also known as Mr. Know-It-All.

The Passive — Easy enough to get along with, begin a relationship, and deal with in a relationship. You’ll think the fact that you never disagree with the passive guy means you’re meant for each other. What it really means is that the disagreement will happen later, perhaps much later, when the Passive Guy grows tired of pretending he agrees with everything you do and say.

Not for the straightforward.

Bob Bummer — In a word, negative. This guy isn’t usually the most attractive, but can find himself in relationships with women who think they can make his life a little brighter with their presence. What actually happens is Bob Bummer makes your day a little gloomier by killing any excitement or happiness you feel by bringing in thoughts of doubt and urging you to think of the”worst case scenario”.

Of course if your name should be changed to Debbie Downer, you’ll find Bob Bummer to be perfect.

The Player — We all know of the Player. He says all the right things at all the right times, and he can do no wrong. Except he’s say all the right things with every woman he’s ever dated. And just when she’s convinced he can do no wrong he finds someone else to say all the right things with.

Don’t hate the player..

RomeoNot exactly a Player because unlike the Player Romeo actually feels as strongly about you as you do about him. That is, he thinks he does. But Romeo loves romance more than any particular person, and when the sparkle and glitter are gone, so is Romeo.

There isn’t much else to know about Romeo because he usually doesn’t stick around long enough.

The King of the Throne/Breadwinner — Lovely, if you like being the equivalent of a nice-looking suit or enjoy being told what to do, say, and think. He is convinced a man should be a “man” in a relationship. The King of the Throne makes the rules, even if his throne consists of an armchair.

Often extremely judgmental, as an added bonus.

The IntellectualizerIf you have emotions, and would like to express them, then look for another partner. Some Intellectualizers just don’t get emotions, theirs included, but others actively ignore or belittle them. To the extreme Intellectualizer emotions are just irrelevant. The only upside is that if you ever have a problem to solve, they can fix it.

It’s hard to decide if the Intellectualizer is the least problematic of the types, or the most.

Which of these types have you dated and which do you find the most and least appealing?

Gender: The Nature vs. Nurture Debate

gender-boyI’ve posted several times on the topic of gender — the social and biological aspects of what determines a man or a woman; the subject is one I’ve been interested in for a long time. Learning more about the topic has made it clear that the origins of gender and sex are not as simple and uncomplicated as some might believe.

There are generally two sides to the nature versus nurture debate of gender. There are those who believe that sex and gender are for the most part, biologically determined and that the two sexes think and act differently, often in opposing ways. This group also tends to believe that gender is fixed and not much changing across cultures and time periods.

On the other side of the debate are the nurture folks who hold that sex –the physical characteristics of a person– may be biological, but gender — the way that sex is shown in the outside world, is socially manufactured. They believe that men and women are taught explicitly and implicitly how to be men and women. This group also tends to believe that most gender stereotypes are false.

Nature via Nurture

Enter a third, smaller but growing group. Those who believe in the nature via nurture origin of gender think that both biological and environmental aspects combine to create what we recognize as men and women — the way they think, act, dress, and even how they look. Many who are partial to the nature via nurture explanation also assert that what is determined by a person’s sex chromosomes and what is determined by environment is not entirely clear and can’t be separated.

My thoughts tend to fall more within this group. Although I may view things differently in the future, I tend to think that nature and nurture both influence gender, possibly to the same extent. This is because most aspects of sex and gender,  when looked at closely, either show both biological and social roots, and the entirety of them points neither to biology or culture, completely:

  • gender-girlWithin gender, there is a range of behavior that spans time periods. Throughout history there have always been women who just weren’t ladylike enough, and men who weren’t tough enough. This suggests some biological roots, but not a binary one of two separate sexes determined by an X or Y chromosome.
  • Traits that have largely been shown to be genetic can vary with surrounding factors. Height, for example, is influenced by environment and nutrition, even if it is inherited. So if gender is biological, this does not rule out culture playing a big role in how gender is shown.
  • Gender stereotyping begins even before a baby is born — male babies are thought to behave one way and female babies another. With such stereotyping early on, it seems nearly impossible to say which behavior is actually biological and which are nurtured through beliefs about gender.
  • Sex hormones have been shown to influence men and women to differ on things such as hearing and verbal fluency. This suggests a strong biological component, but hormonal levels also depend on environment, such as the mother’s surroundings, health, and nutrition.
  • Attempts to raise children in the opposite sex –raising those who were born physically male as girls and children who were born physically female as boys– has turned up mixed results. Which could be taken to mean that both genes and environment ultimately create gender.

These, and more, leads me to believe that sex and gender, like many behavioral and physical traits, is a product of nature and nurture, often working together. Without one or the other, what we know as men and women wouldn’t be quite the same.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of nature and nurture when it comes to gender? And why?

See also:

Objectification Is Not Equal Opportunity

male-objectificationHaving previously discussed objectification of women and the female beauty bind, I was once asked the question, “What about men? Shouldn’t men be included in this topic? To which my first thought was “Yes, what about them?”

In the interest of fairness (or in other cases, diversion), some believe that the increasing sexual objectification of men should be considered along with the well-known issue of female objectification. After all, there are male strippers and prostitutes, the bodybuilding industry is held afloat almost entirely by men, and plastic surgery among men is at an all-time high. This is true — more than ever before, men are being judged and assessed for how well their appearance fits a certain beauty standard.

However, objectification, and particularly sexual objectification requires that a person be seen as simply a vessel or a painting — to be admired primarily or solely for their beauty and the physical pleasure it brings, with no regard to their humanity. Are men made into objects whose worth is based on their looks? Perhaps on an individual basis, but on a wider scale, my answer would be no.

Appearance may matter, but other factors come into play in determining whether a man is “high value” or not. Personality, confidence, education, and of course career and income. All of these factors can and do override a man’s physical appearance, and looks are not generally considered more important. The same simply can not be said for women and their daily experiences.

On the other hand, as a group, women are sexually objectified — that is, their sexual attractiveness and beauty (or subjective lack of) is considered to be one of the more important aspects of their being, if not the most important. Personality, charm, and other attributes are considered later, if ever. Any woman knows this; regardless of any personal accomplishments, the first question to be asked is, “But is she good-looking?” If the answer is no, then everything else about her falls by the wayside. If the answer is yes, then again, all other traits are overshadowed. That is the definition of objectification.

So again, what about men? Male sexual objectification is on the rise, and shouldn’t be dismissed. Men getting regular eyebrow waxes and pedicures can be considered a topic of interest. But the issue is simply nowhere near that of women — there are more pressing issues for men in today’s society. In other words, sexual objectification is not equal opportunity.

What do you think — agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.

Article Response: Why the Man Has to Chase

man-chasing-womanA couple of years ago at the Insanity Report, a social commentary blog, founder Kriss created a response article, “Why Does a Man Have to Chase a Woman?” in reaction to an article advising women to never chase men. I’ve only recently come across the post, and thought that it would be helpful to have an answer to his question — why women want men to chase them, and why women should not chase men. From a non-traditional point of view.

Kriss’ stance,

While I still believe there are certain things men are suppose to do, when it comes to approaching someone you might be interested in, I don’t think that is gender specific.  Why should it be?  You have an interest, express it.  That’s not desperate, it’s natural.

Yet there are some women who believe this.  They believe men are supposed to “chase” after the women they want.  I have to be honest, if you’re one of those women who believe that and you are finding it hard to meet a good man, this strategy could be the problem.  I think my biggest problem with this is that it’s so counter intuitive.  So you are interested in the guy but you can’t approach him first or call him first because then he’ll know you are interested in him?  Wow…that makes no sense.

Kriss’ opinion makes sense logically, and from a man’s perspective. Why wouldn’t you show your interest in someone who you’re interested in romantically? Wouldn’t keeping your interest under wraps prevent you from getting exactly what you’re seeking? Well, yes and no. Showing some initial interest would in most cases help, but any more after that is probably not so helpful.

One thing that Kriss did not make clear in his article is the difference between approaching a guy and chasing him. Approaching a man is one thing, while chasing him is something else entirely. The former may speed you along your route to getting the guy you seek, while the latter will not. In fact, in my experience, and that of many other women, chasing a guy will usually cause you to lose any chance you might have had with him.

Continue reading