I grew up thinking the ideal man was a good leader. Strong. A good provider. Successful. Confident. Decisive. Protective. Loyal. And, today, I realize so much was missing from that picture.
It is not hard to find men who believe they are meant to be the authority in the home. It is not hard to find men who believe it is their right and duty to lead and govern their women. It is not hard to find men who believe it is their duty to make the household money. It is not hard to find men who believe it is their responsibility to focus on work. It is not hard to find men who hold themselves to a standard of physical and mental strength, and refuse to show any perceived weakness. It is not hard to find men who believe they are the decision makers. It is not hard to find men who believe it is their duty to protect their women. It is not hard to find men who believe it is their obligation to stay faithful. I realize my perception of the “ideal man” did a lot of harm in my relationships. Because I thought these were ideal roles only for men to play, I attracted men who did NOT like to see leadership IN ME. They did NOT like to see strength IN ME. They did NOT like to see success and confidence and decisiveness IN ME. They did NOT like for me to protect MYSELF through boundaries, assertive communication, and self advocacy. They did NOT like for me to be responsible for MY OWN loyalty and instead employed ways of controlling. I have now learned to value and look for other characteristics in men. I desire men who are strong enough not to be threatened by my strength. I desire men who can lead and also celebrate my own leadership. I desire men who don’t need to dominate me in order to feel powerful. I desire men who don’t see my success as a threat to theirs. I desire men who believe in my ability to provide for myself and hold me to a standard of equal contribution. I desire men who take responsibility for emotional and spiritual growth and relationship connection. I desire men who love it when I make my own decisions. I desire men who celebrate when I stand up for myself, set boundaries, and speak assertively. I desire men who offer their own loyalty while trusting me to manage mine. Admiring masculinity in a partner is healthy. AND our partner’s masculinity does not take the place of OUR OWN healthy masculinity within ourselves. It’s taken me a long time to realize my strength does not in any way detract from the strength and success of my partner. Goddess, don’t be afraid to set your standards unapologetically high. It’s not about finding the perfect man. It’s about finding a man who celebrates and craves your radiance and power just as much as embodying his own.