Dr. Ronn Elmore, Pastor and Relationship Coach, sent me a free downloadable copy of his e-book, “Five Biggest Lies.” It’s been several months since I downloaded it—and actually I had not read it until today. I couldn’t help but reflect on my own dating experience and what ultimately led to my having the most enriching relationship with a man – EVER. I felt it was worth sharing.
Here is Dr. Ronn’s top five list:
1. There’s a shortage of available men.
2. God expects your faith, but not your works.
3. You must date one man at a time.
4. His approval is your responsibility.
5. Your future will be the same as your past.
We’ve all either read or heard the latest statistics about the number of men to women or the census reports that 50% of marriages end in divorce. But here are a few statistics, I’m sure you’d be interested to know:
- After analyzing databases of dating sites dedicated to American and European daters and social networks, as well as consulting the United States Census Bureau, the results are conclusive that the number of men’s profiles trumps women’s 75% to 25%. This is for unpaid as well as for paid sites.
- Divorce rates have been falling over the past two decades. One contributing factor is that people are waiting until later to get married.
There’s a shortage of available men. Look out your window, there is no shortage of men. Go into any barber shop, home improvement or hardware store, automotive shop and you see goo-gobs of men. Sports bars are packed especially during the play offs or other major sporting events. Men are everywhere! Tall ones, short ones, dark ones, light ones. This is the truth. That realization helped to diffuse the lie that there is a shortage. There is no shortage of men. Say it with me, “there is no shortage of men.” There is no shortage of men who give us a second look when we pass by or who open the door for us when we’re entering or exiting a store. So, first things first, adopt a new perspective. Like Iyanla Vanzant says and I paraphrase, “you got to change the way you tell your story….else you’ll stay stuck in the negativity of it.”
God expects your faith, but not your works. This second lie brings to my mind the mantras of countless single women that makes me cringe every time I hear them say it. “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her,” they say, quoting Maya Angelou. This is quite a popular post on Facebook. And the resounding responses they get are: “Yes, cause the Bible says ‘he that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing.’” “Yeah, girl, that’s why I ain’t chasin no man.” Here’s what bothers me. Many of these women either don’t date, won’t leave their homes to mix with men or their body language sends the message: DON’T COME NEAR ME! I challenged a girlfriend of mine just the other day. She said, “well, I’m just gonna let God send me the right man.” My response? How is he gonna find you if you never come out? If you never go to places where men are? If you always hang around female-type venues, then all you gonna attract is more females into your life. Is that what you want? Now, I’m not one to say go to a basketball game if you don’t like basketball, but there are other venues that men come to that women attend. Men like jazz and live music. Men like wine-tastings. Men like home improvement stores. Men buy groceries. Men go out to eat. Men go to gyms. Men walk their dogs. I think you get where I’m going with this. So, like Dr. Ronn says, “make a bold effort.” Get out of the house. Go to coed events. Dang, go online. You don’t have to chase a man, but at least let him know you exist. Let him notice you enjoying yourself. I hear that is very attractive. Annnnnnd, please, please when he walks up to you, be open and friendly. I learned this. I went on www.meetup.com and started going to groups that interested me. I went online and posted my profile on a couple of dating sites. That’s how I met my boyfriend of a year and some change. Best decision I could have made!
You must date one man at a time. For some reason, most women I talk with are turned off by a man who is dating other women while dating them. Some poor fellas have almost been held at verbal gunpoint for it. How unfair is that? Before stoning him, I have learned you have to find out if he is dating anyone seriously. It ain’t exclusive until it’s exclusive. Me personally, I think a man should earn his way into exclusivity with me. So what if he’s dating another woman. My conclusion was she ain’t me. And she will never, ever, ever be me. You have to believe that what you’re working with is unique and worthy. If he doesn’t figure that out, then let him leave or exit yourself. That was so freeing. Equally freeing was dating multiple men kept me from feeling desperate or despairing if things didn’t work out.
Some great advice I heard and followed was to treat dating like a job interview. Here though, you have a dual role. Not only are you being interviewed but you are the interviewer. This is important. You get to decide if a man is right for you. So I learned to be a savvy interviewer. I got my top questions that I asked him, not forcefully but at intermittent times during the date. Good interviewers know how to be genuine, approachable and affirming regardless of whether they plan on hiring the candidate or not. Having said that, like an interviewer, you aren’t going to hire just anybody, you have to feel confident you have found the right man for the job before dismissing equally viable candidates. Steve Harvey had a healthy perspective on this. In his book and movie inspired by the book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, he adds, “[even once hired] you aren’t eligible for benefits for at least 90 days in.” This is so they can see if you are really serious. Why should we treat dating any different?
Dr. Ronn says that there is no assumed exclusivity. If a man wants exclusivity he will say the words. Until then, it’s your God-given right to date, date, and date some more. Be honest. Tell him you are dating other men. If he is confident in what he has to offer, this won’t bother him. He’ll stay the course until he’s persuaded you that he’s worthy of you. In fact, this will probably motivate him to work for you. He’ll know he can’t use the same lame lines and same lame game with you. You are special. This is what I learned.
His approval is your responsibility. We women are quite competitive. Not in the same way men are, but we are just the same. We often compare ourselves with other women. Are we as pretty as she is? Do we look as nice? Trust me when I tell you that when another woman enters the room, we’re sizing ourselves up against her. If we feel good about us, we aren’t swayed; but if we don’t, it will show up in how we hate on her or how we hate on ourselves compared to her. Maybe that’s why we are hypersensitive about what our man thinks of us. Does he approve of us? If he complains about something, does that mean that we’re not good enough? I ain’t gon lie, at 52 years old, I sometimes feel insecure about my attractiveness. I can say that it has absolutely nothing to do with how my man treats me. His eyes sparkle whether I have on a cocktail dress and heels or a T-shirt and jeans. It goes back to my internal dialogue. Am I enough? Am I enough that if I do something he doesn’t like, we get into an argument, I don’t cook like his mom, or any of those other major things, he’ll still be glad he’s with me. If I get a little chubby around the mid-section, if I go natural, when things get more routine between us, will he be perfectly happy or will he dream of someone else? I agree with Dr. Ronn, making someone else’s approval your goal will burn you out. The solution is in being your best self. This is where I go when I feel that nasty inkling of insecurity. I have to work on and rely on what I have inside. Pretty is a dime a dozen but beautiful comes from within. The more I focus on that and demonstrate the substance and grace of who I am, the more beautiful I feel and the more lucky he feels to have me.
Your future will be the same as your past. The future is up to you. I learned that. After 32 years of false-starts, underwhelming dating experiences, two failed marriages and re-entering the dating world later in life, I know this. The future will mirror your past if you don’t make changes. On this, my solution differs somewhat from Dr. Ronn’s. He says that the solution is to be hopeful. I don’t think that’s enough though. I listen to my girlfriends after every dating incidence that goes nowhere. They vent, despair, analyze, square their shoulders and get right back out there. Their determination is admirable. Their efforts, valiant. They are very hopeful. All of us were hopeful. I think hopefulness is important but it has to be directed at the right person. I know you think I’m gonna say that the right person is the right man. To the contrary. Your hopefulness has to be directed towards you. I’ve heard and I’m sure you’ve heard this too, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” Ergo the definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” In order to have a bright future, we have to acknowledge that the game is what it is. We can’t change that. But we can change how we play it. A man is who he is. We can’t change that. But we can be our best selves and educate ourselves. Therein lies our hope.
Please do get up from reading this article with the idea that you are to play the game like a man. I don’t mean that your actions mirror a man or you adopt a masculine demeanor. That didn’t work for me. I learned that my femininity is a gift. I just had to learn to wield it. I educated myself about men by reading books written by men, by talking to respected males in my life and by trial-and-error in dating various men. This is important because many of us women didn’t have fathers that taught us. By learning about men, I also learned the value of my own femininity. This is where I found hope. I learned to honor myself – my truest self. Not the insecure me. Not the competitive me. Not the whiny, what’s-wrong-with-me me. But the me that I am when I feel the most alive, the most joyful, the most in tune.
Do you know who that person is? If you don’t, then I have some hope to give you. If you’ll do the work to find out who you are, attracting the right man will take care of itself. By doing the work on yourself, you get to the root of all the “effects” Dr. Ronn describes. You deal with the wounding behind the passivity. You deal with the unresolved grief behind the frustration. You put some past relationships to bed once and for all. Like the butterfly hidden inside the caterpillar, you emerge with a newfound sense of truth and authentic power. When you date standing in your true feminine power, your dating life changes. You don’t sweat the small stuff. You aren’t hypersensitive about things. You don’t attract unavailability because you yourself have become available. You view men with a new appreciation and openness.
To help me, I decided to seek the help of a relationship coach. One of the best darn things I’d ever done. I discovered blind spots I didn’t know I had and replaced them with clarity and confidence. Instead of being primed and pumped for conflict, I learned to welcome a man’s experience without criticizing him. I let some men go, yes; but it wasn’t angry or irritable. It was gracious. It was me. In short, I became the change I wanted to see.
To sum it all up, I am a witness that you are not limited by anything or anybody. Even if there were only two available men in this world of umpteen thousand women, your odds of beating out your competition is exponential if you are open and willing. Willing to tell yourself the truth. Willing to get out of the house and go where men are. Willing to date multiple men until it’s exclusive (and you have just as much say as he does). Willing to focus inwardly rather than outwardly for approval. Willing to create a brighter future by becoming the change you want to see reflected in the men you date. It might seem like a lot, but trust me when I tell you this. The right man is worth every single lie you have to dispel and every single solution you replace it with.