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Where Are All The Good Men?

I asked myself this question over and over again when I was dating and trying desperately to find a man to marry. For years I was a magnet for men who weren’t good for me, men who were not the marrying kind.

I couldn’t stop myself from dating them and getting involved in unfulfilling and unhealthy relationships. I felt like a victim, a walking target for men who were narcissistic, self-centered and cruel.

Then one day I had a wake-up call. I got involved with a particularly cold and aloof man. He acted charming when we were out socially, but when we alone he would become another person. I didn’t know there was this other side to him until it was too late.

At first he acted like a gentlemen, he was very attentive to my needs and concerned about making me happy. But within a few months his real personality started to emerge, but by this time I was already “hooked in.”

I didn’t realize that his treatment of me had changed the way I thought about myself. I got used to feeling unhappy and worthless around him.

He was sullen and uncommunicative, making it seem like his unhappiness was somehow my fault. I often got the silent treatment, and could not coax him out of his darkness. I was at a loss as I got sucked deeper and deeper into his dark world. A part of me knew that being in love is supposed to feel good, so I kept trying to make our relationship “work.” But I couldn’t do it by myself, it takes two, so I’d end up being dragged into his bad moods and negativity and I’d lose myself.

Fortunately, I had a good woman friend who finally took me out to dinner and challenged me to look at my life. She pointed out how much I had changed over the past months, so much so that I had to admit it was true. This is what she observed about me:

  • I stopped being social
  • I had no time for my friends
  • I was always tense
  • I seemed perpetually distracted
  • I seemed sad

She reminded me that life was too short to be stuck in a miserable relationship with a cold and heartless man. This woke me up and after going through a lot of angst and self-doubt, I broke up with him. It was hard for me, but he didn’t seem to care that much — more validation that I was doing the right thing.

Once again I felt the disappointment of another failed relationship. I was back at square one, as far away from getting married as ever. I had been dating the wrong men for years, and I again asked myself where were all the good men?

Then I had an ah-ha moment. There was only one common denominator through all these years of disappointing relationships…me!

My happily married friends found good men, why hadn’t I? I was going through life like a horse with blinders on. I was like an alcoholic who knows the location of every bar and liquor store in their neighborhood, but doesn’t have a clue where the bakeries are.

To help me find the good men, I decided to observe my friend’s husbands to learn about the kind of men I should be dating. Here are just a few qualities I discovered:

  • they were supportive and respectful
  • they were reliable and worked hard to take care of their families
  • they were openly affectionate and attentive

Where were all the good men? The good men had always been there, I just hadn’t been looking for them. I decided to take my “blinders off” and I make an effort to look for the men I would normally pass over. Now that I knew what to look for, I began to enjoy their company and want to be around them, even as friends. It was like the world had changed; where I had only seen the bad boys, I now saw good and decent men everywhere!

The wrong men didn’t disappear; they were still out there, showing up everywhere and tempting me to give them a chance. But I could now smile to myself remembering how I used to fall for their bad behavior. Thankfully, those days were gone, I had a choice and a great many good men around me to chose from.

If you can’t find the right men to date, do yourself a favor and take the time to take stock of yourself in the same way my good friend did with me. You just may find that you have your own ‘a-ha moment’ – one that could lead you down a new and completely different relationship path.

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Rori Raye December 23, 2010, 7:38 pm

    Virginia, You SO Rock!!! I love everything you have to say, everything you are – calm, insightful, lovely, incredibly compassionate, brilliant, transformational – everything you've done for all my clients and friends I've referred to you, and how utterly inspiring you are.

    It's easy to give advice, to talk about how to do things. But when you've actually DONE it yourself – as you have gotten yourself from the single life you had to the amazing married life you have now – THAT'S when you can truly help other women get the love and marriage they desire and deserve. Love, Rori Raye

  • Jennifer December 30, 2010, 1:04 am

    I found your story about breaking it off with this dark aloof guy to be really helpful to hear. My friends also have observed that i look sad these days. It just seems like you broke up with him so easily. I wonder if you could say more about how to make that step. Ive never broke up with anyone before.

  • Anonymous January 3, 2011, 5:29 pm

    My husband of 50 years died January 1, 2010 and about 4 months ago, I started dating a man who told me right up front on our second golfing date that he has been separted from his wife for 37 years and said he never planned on getting married again. He loves his family and spends much time with his children, grand kids and mother, which I feel is good, because I love my family and am doing the same, having my 82 years sister-in-law live with me. He tells me to date other men, which I am. But it is hard for me, because we have become sexual and I want more of a commitment, that being either going back to his wife or a divorce. Moving on with his life the way I have since I lost my husband. Should I break up with this man, that I feel I really love or continue dating other men hoping that he will become commited to me?

  • Anonymous January 3, 2011, 6:04 pm

    This article is really insightful and eyeopening for me. I have started to assess my life and have put out there that I want to be married. I believe I deserve it and am worth it but I am not willing to be with certain types of men. Particularly the type with the soul sucking ex still hanging on. I value myself and believe that I am a 50 year old woman who has never been married when I do get married the guy will be incredibly lucky because I am a great catch who is constantly working on myself.

  • Anonymous January 3, 2011, 7:02 pm

    I for one absolutely can relate to your story and it's remarkable the change you can make in yourself when you stop dating cruel self centered men and date yourself. Things become so much clearer. I am worth it and the day I get married whenever it is I know walking down the aisle it will be the right thing because I am worthy of a man treating me with respect, love, affection and all that comes with it, Including loving my 3 amazing children. There are no perfect men or women out there but there are still amazing people in the world and it just takes time to find them…When it is time I will know!!! LOVE ALWAYS TO THE AMAZING PEOPLE THAT STILL KNOW WHAT IT IS TO LOVE YOURSELF!!

  • Anonymous January 3, 2011, 11:27 pm

    All you nice women out there, I have a word of advice…Read the book, Why Does He Do That, by Lundy Bancroft. Then find out more about what the word narcissim means. So many men are just all about themselves. Also, before you head down matrimony lane with this man, take more time to get to know him. Is he having problems with alcohol? If so, study what the personality traits of an alcoholic are. Read about "King Baby" syndrome. Look for books on Amazon.com. It has taken me years to learn. Now I will not let all the charm and sex in the world convince me that I need to have him. I can finally detach and look at him for what he really is. Smart girl aren't I??? DF

  • Anonymous January 4, 2011, 3:38 am

    Hi there,
    May I ask a question? Are there subtle clues you can look for in guys who aren't good for you? You mentioned what the "good guys" have that we want. But a lot of the narcissistic guys can mimic that type of behavior.

  • Brenda January 4, 2011, 5:28 am

    I have yet to find a good real-life answer to my big question:

    How do I fall out of love?

    I don’t understand how you all move on from a man. I seem to be the only one who can’t just lean back all the way and not contact Ryan. Huh… I just don’t see if I’m sposta be true to my heart and honest with my feelings how I can pretend it doesn’t matter that Ryan rarely contacts me.

    And when he does contact me, I’m supposed to pretend I’m fine and everything in my life is peachy, in order to be an invitation. I do that, but then I have explosions now and then when all the lava of loving and missing him surface. Am I supposed to be honest with my feelings or not? I feel fake saying I’m doing well. I’m not doing well.

    I am in love and I haven’t seen the man I love for a year. How do I say otherwise and truly move on?

  • Anonymous January 4, 2011, 11:40 am

    Thanks for your post… it makes total sense to me. I have a history of falling for the 'rogues'.. and passing by the good men. I am trying to work on myself to 'catch' myself when Imeet a new man, but I have again allowed myself to become 'captured' by an aloof, 'mixed signal', unavailable emotionally, man. My triggers ( having had yrs of counselling.). are men who are sensitive, conservative and emotionally unavailable… those traits and I am like a magnet to them….I am now involved with a man like that. It is a roller coaster ride and I do not know how to get off it,unless I completely walk away. When I do, he 'reels' me back in and I think 'there is hope'. Oh and he is completely honest in saying he has ADD… been single for 15 yrs (5 of those yrs in relationship)… I am wondering if the ADD is just an excuse for bad, thoughtless behaviour. What's so ironic, I really know I am not doing myself any favours with this situation. How do I move forward??? I feel 'stuck' emotionally.. .. it's been almost a year,and it is long distance, both live alone, both older in late 50's.. .. Thanx for any comments, suggestions.

  • Virginia Feingold Clark January 4, 2011, 9:32 pm

    I want to thank you all for contributing to my blog. As you can see it is rather new and I am just now getting the hang of things. Infact, this is my first comment in the posts. Please bare with me as learn the ropes and if you have a specific question you would like to ask me, you can always send me an email at virginia@itsnevertolatetomarry.com. Thank you!

  • Virginia Feingold Clark January 5, 2011, 8:19 pm

    Hi Brenda, Thanks for writing. It sounds like you feel stuck. I think it would benefit you to start being more authentic with your feelings with Ryan and not pretend that you are doing Ok when you're not. As you become more honest with him the relationship will naturally change and you can see where it takes you.

  • Mercedes January 7, 2011, 2:55 pm

    This was a beautifully written article. It's funny how sometimes our friends can see what we can't…even when we're the ones living it.

    Good luck with your blog Virginia…I like it!

    Much Love,
    Mercedes

  • Anonymous January 9, 2011, 4:18 am

    Good information. Please continue to share.

  • Anonymous January 9, 2011, 10:06 pm

    I totally related to this. My boyfriend of 6+ yrs and I just broke up this past weekend. I was "too emotional" for him, and he thinks we're "too different in too many ways to stay together". I will be 45 yrs old next week, and I feel lost, like he was my last chance. He and I grew up together and he found me on Classmates. One thing led to another, and after a year of dating long-distance I ended up packing up my kids and moving to Idaho with the understanding that we would end up living together. I would leave my kids home to go to his house or to watch him bowl so we could spend time together, when we did stay at his house I slept in a separate bed because he had 3 dogs he shared his bed with, he never wanted to get together with others or be social…needless to say, after 4 yrs we still weren't living together. The last year and a half there I was unemployed and we had broken up (again!), so I moved back here to Calif. After a few months he was down to see his mom (she had cancer surgery and is doing well), and we had several long talks. Last January we decided to give it another chance, and he moved down here in Sept (a yr after I moved back). Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to make the changes he needed me to…not being so emotional, wanting to talk about the future, planning a life together. Even knowing that it's for the best, I still love him and can't help wanting him back. How do I move forward, and if I was so wrong about him, how do I trust myself in the future to pick someone else?

  • Virginia Feingold Clark January 10, 2011, 12:55 am

    Hi Anonymous from January 9th.

    I know you must be suffering a lot from your recent break up, as the song says, breaking up is hard to do.

    I encourage you to use this last relationship as a learning tool, a way to hone in more on what it is you truly want from a serious relationship. When you do that you won’t make the same mistake again.

    I also suggest you write down the most important qualities you would want in a future husband and look for a man who embodies them- I hope one of them would be a man who for the most part accepts and appreciates who you are.

    I know you are discouraged right now, but never think that the right man isn’t out there waiting for you, he is!

  • Anonymous January 10, 2011, 8:29 am

    Hi, I found this blog through Rori Raye's site and I'm very glad that I did. I recently dated a guy for about a month, and he is as Virginia is describing this guy–initially charming and attentive, but then emotionally unavailable. He was also recently divorced and I think that perhaps he wasn't as ready for a relationship as he thought he was. One thing that consistently turned me off was the way he talked about this ex-wife of his, and how he didn't seem to take any responsibility for the demise of that marriage. I can't judge this other woman since I never even saw her or met her, but I have a difficult time believing that the break up was all entirely only HER fault, and that he had NO responsibility for that at all. To me, since two people are involved in a relationship, it takes two people to either make it or break it–I rarely see a situation where only one person was at fault, so to speak.

    I'm going through a dating dry spell right now and I wondered if perhaps he was my last chance. I never thought I'd still be unmarried at 31, and I'm fighting the panic of time starting to run out on me to find someone. It's so difficult to see my friends getting married, one by one, and for me to struggle with something that comes so easily to everyone else around my age.

    However, after reading this blog of Virginia's right now, it actually validated my decision to move on and find someone else. I was becoming this needy, desperate person around him that even I didn't like any more.

    At this stage, it really feels like I'm meant to just be alone. I've tried online dating, going to every party I know of, etc. but nothing has worked so far. However, between settling for someone who isn't right for me or being alone forever, I guess I'd prefer the latter and will find a way to deal with that.

    I'll look forward to more entries on this blog. As you can see I'm just very discouraged right now and could use some positive energy. I'm trying to renew my hope and faith that there might be someone out there for me. Thanks for all the positive words and keep it up!

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