Tisk. Tisk.

by mssinglemama on May 24, 2010

While he was in the midst of folding towels tonight I remembered the first time John had attempted to help me with laundry. He had offered and I had agreed – reluctantly. And then, in my true defensive and self-protective fashion, I snapped something at him like, “you’re not folding them tight enough. Just let me do it.”

And then tonight there he was, months and many tests later, folding a massive pile of laundry – perfectly. That’s when I realized he’s been folding it perfectly all along. Okay, well maybe not perfectly, but close enough.

“I was so mean to you when we first started dating,” I told him.

And in true John Bear fashion he answered without defense, “No, you weren’t. You were just scared.”

“I was testing you. So many tests.”

“But you had to, because you wanted to make sure I wasn’t like him.”

By “him” he meant my ex-husband. My ex-husband who was less than helpful in all aspects of my life, not just with the laundry pile.

“And besides, I needed a good kick in the butt to snap me out of my bachelor lifestyle.”

“I know. But still…”

“Listen, Babe. It’s fine. We’re here now and everything worked out.”

He was right. It has worked out but, how? How did we survive all of that stuff at the beginning, all of those growing pains?

We both had to change, to compromise, to accept each other and all of our baggage and to learn that things like loose towels and a defensive reflex are not deal breakers but traits, things that can be improved with practice and in time. And having issues up front, hammering all of this away before moving in together, getting engaged, even allowing him to discipline Benjamin, in my eyes, doesn’t make our story any less romantic – it makes it practical and less risky.

We’re all single moms. We know the consequences of ignoring the obvious, of not working through relationship issues, of being with the wrong men for the wrong reasons.

Perhaps, that’s why I’ve become so engrossed in Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him: The Case for Setting for Mr. Good Enough.  I bought the book at a time when John and I’s relationship had reached a turning point. We were either going to work through some issues or… well, the “or” would not have been pretty.

The ultra condensed version of Marry Him is this: if you have a laundry list of traits you’re looking for in a man (like “perfect laundry folder”), there’s a good chance you’re eliminating just about every guy out there. You may just be too picky. And who can blame you? We’ve all had the Prince Charming Complex cast upon us since birth.

A classic example is this, women often say they want a man who is spontaneous and romantic but who also has a stable career and income. Or they want someone who is over 6′ tall but he can’t be balding or have any excess body hair – and don’t forget about his shoes – he has to have nice shoes.

There are so many reasons we can find to cast men aside. We have so many choices and also the ability to survive just fine without a man around. But, is there a consequence? Are we throwing away perfectly good men for reasons that, when you think about it, are really quite ridiculous?

Gottlieb isn’t asking you to settle for someone. She is just asking you to take an honest look at yourself and how you date. If the controversial title ruffles your feathers, ignore it. Seriously. You and every other woman on the planet – married, single, young, old – needs to read Marry Him.

Marry Him - Gottlieb

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a copy. Deadline to comment is Friday the 28th at Midnight (EST).

And… by the way, I didn’t always feel this way about Gottlieb’s theory.

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{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila May 24, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Sneaky Alaina ! Congrats!!!! :)

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 7:27 am

We’re not engaged. But, man, it does read that way.

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Zacky May 27, 2010 at 6:00 pm

MSM, I’ve just recently come across your blog, kudos to you! I too share of the single mom situation. Different angle however. I’m still single, just finding my groove. Do you think the gist and title of your blog may change at some point? Interesting items to ponder, as our lives evolve, though not quite set in an ‘A’ slot or a ‘B’ slot….
I hope I can carry on with this endeavor and build as you have, how wonderful. I’ll continue to follow.

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Angie May 24, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Glad to see things are going so well for you!

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Ciara May 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Congrats Alaina, you are an inspiration to single mothers out there!

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Ellie May 24, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Could you stop posting while I’m trying to study for test, lol!
Very truth! How easily we forget that there is no perfect man and how imperfect are we. However, there is some stuff I’d draw the line at because as the relationships progress the little stuff will bother you more and more. Trying to change someone into a person he isn’t makes for the most miserable life for both of you.
btw. I don’t need the book. I know I’m going to marry him.

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Karissa May 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I finally let my sweetheart fold the laundry – he is so darned adamant to help out! – but I still won’t let him wash the dishes ;)

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Jess May 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I’ve heard this book was a good read. I’m guilty of having a list, myself. And I think the older I get, the pickier I get. That has to be an okay thing though, considering what I settled for the first time, right?
I’m sure my list could use some scrutiny, though. I think alot of women fall into that ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality when it comes to picking a mate…I do, ashamedly.

I’m glad things are still going so well for you!

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Angela G May 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I think the title of this book sends shivers up some women’s spines and immediatly puts us on defense mode because as you said we have been conditioned to not “settle”. We had maybe but up with way more in our past marriage/relationships than we should have and now some of us are hell bent on not repeating the same mistakes. But with that, I think we are quick to rush by the guy that might not be the knight in shining armor on a white horse, but the decent guy in a Toyota. For me, I am ready and waiting for that decent Toyota guy.

I totally am buying this book if I don’t win :O)

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Jeff May 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I think this blog entry is hilarious. Mostly because I, a single father, dated a single mom who used to chide me and often criticize me so strictly for not loading her dishwasher ‘the right way’ after I scrubbed the plates in the sink. Or, when bringing home dinner for her and her son, “putting the chicken on the wrong cutting board”. How small that made me feel, after all, here I was, showing my gratitude in what way I could for her taking the time to cook my son and myself a home cooked meal. I still find myself, a year after her dumping me for someone who “had his s#@t more together” organizing the dishes in my dishwasher the way she scolded me for not doing so. It’s not settling for Mr. Right, or Mr. Adaquate, that is the issue. It’s finding someone who does those things, however imperfectly, for the person you love. It may not be noticed, it may not be appreciated, it may not even be considered, but it should be. Especially if you are a single parent, because those are the times, those are the moments when you give yourself as much as you can to the person you are with. I don’t need a book to tell me that, I just need to see that it’s appreciated.

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 9:52 am

Everyone should read Jeff’s comment. Crazy. Thanks for sharing Jeff and I’m sorry she couldn’t see clearly that she had a good one.

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anon May 25, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Jeff. I only own one cutting board and you’re welcome to prep a chicken on it any time.

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Megan May 28, 2010 at 12:45 am

Jeff – someone will find ya and snap ya right up! My sweet husband – When we were first dating I had a moment where I was tempted to correct him on folding the laundry – just because I have a bizarre need for all items to be square – any way, I stopped just in time. He helps. That’s what matters. He tries, he turns things pink, but I have never once said a word, plenty of women have no help at all.
Go find a girl who just wants a partner in laundry folding and dish washing – not one who is looking for domesticated perfection! Who expects a guy to even know how their particular folding method goes, anyway! Sheesh!

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mommybella May 25, 2010 at 12:19 am

did you hint to us that john popped the question? are you engaged?

about the post, I use to see all the bad in my ex, things that I didn’t like or was just bad, but I kept telling myself that nobody is perfect. I made excuses to my self and my concerned family. Now that he is my ex, I see that those things that I saw should have been red flags for me…. Then again now that I’m single I’m open to a lot more… if only one would ask me out! I know what your saying, that we can’t close ourselves off to a man just because we are fearful of it!
I totally agree

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charity May 25, 2010 at 1:03 am

I will go pick up this book tomorrow. I am a big fan of Gottlieb’s work, the first being her published journals from when she was a young girl caught up in anorexia (Stick Figure). She co-wrote another amazing book, “I Love You, Nice to Meet You”. I can’t wait to see where she is now in her life!

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Amanda May 25, 2010 at 1:11 am

Well, it wouldn’t get here in time for me to read it if I won, I’m getting married Saturday! But I agree with the sentiment behind the book. You can’t be incredibly picky but you do have to have certain traits that are necessary for the functionality of the relationship. I learned what traits I need to work on and also what I don’t want in a partner from my daughter’s father. I am thrilled to be married this Saturday. I have your blog to thank for guiding me through the difficult times you experience while dating as a single mom. Thanks Alaina!

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Glenda May 25, 2010 at 1:35 am

Did you just say : And having issues up front, hammering all of this away before moving in together, getting engaged, even allowing him to discipline Benjamin, in my eyes, doesn’t make our story any less romantic – it makes it practical and less risky.
Moved in… John popped the question… woohoo… congrats!
I lived with my hubby for 6 wks before we got married. We learned a lot in those 6 wks, but I learned even more after I had my first child. It didn’t matter that he didn’t fold laundry like I did, what mattered was that the laundry was folded and put away. Don’t sweat the little things!

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 7:16 am

Nope. He has not proposed and we have not moved in. (yet)…we shall see.

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kristina May 25, 2010 at 1:42 am

I’m struggling now in my relationship because my boyfriend has commitment issues and mommy issues and major fear about progressing our relationship. But he’s sweet and passionate about life and loves me and is great with my daughter. He’s enthusiastic about being in both of our lives. He’s supportive and just plain great to be around. However… how long do I continue to hold on hoping he’ll get himself together and move here (he lives 900 miles away) like he’s been saying he’s going to do for the past year? If I give up, am I quitting too soon? Am I not putting the work into the relationship? Or am I being true to myself and not wasting time waiting for him to get himself together. He’s finally starting therapy. Anyway… I babble for no reason other than to express interest in the book and to say thank you for your post. I hear ya…

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 7:19 am

I would give him an ultimatum. You can’t wait forever. Than… move on and keep his friendship in the picture once the flames die down. Just my opinion, from the outside looking in. And then go buy this book.

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Ricci May 25, 2010 at 2:36 am

Not only did I have to do that, now being a divorced single mommy, but I had to also not let the family dictate who I was dating, and their qualities be a factor. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I’m doing it. I saw this book on the “Bonnie Hunt” show, when they had the author, and a panel of ladies one talking about the book. Though, the title is one of those “slap you in the face, grab your attention” titles, its serves it’s purpose, and I hope I win it, either way one of these days, it will be one of my summer reads.

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Gitte May 25, 2010 at 3:29 am

I wonder as well, did you get engaged? :-)

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 7:19 am

Nope… not yet, ladies. Sorry for misleading you there.

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Momma Sunshine May 25, 2010 at 5:28 am

I haven’t read the book. The thing that bothers me about it is the controversial title. I guess it’s done on purpose…to get people talking, but it’s just off-putting for me. I don’t expect any many to be “perfect” for me….I have realized that there are more important things in a relationship that he be able to fold laundry perfectly…

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Barb May 25, 2010 at 6:15 am

This will have to go on the list of summer pool reading. If I don’t win, I’ll have to buy my own copy that I’ll be able to share with friends.

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Star May 25, 2010 at 6:53 am

WOW! That was one subtle and sneaky admission…I had to read it twice to get the subtext! John Bear deserves something bigger than that!!!!! He deserves his own post and a PICTURE of the ring for goodness sakes!!!!

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Mely May 25, 2010 at 7:01 am

I’ve never had a list, but that is a problem all in itself. I’ve dated wherever the wind took me. Leading me from one bad relationship to another. Now, I’m taking a good look at my single self and discovering who I am. Then, once I finally find me, ill be ready to see every potential date for who they are, instead of who I want them to be

Thank you for inspiring me to do that with your blog.

And, Congratulations!

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C May 25, 2010 at 7:20 am

I think of relationships the same way I think about moving. Stay with me here: I grew up ALL OVER. California, Japan, England, and then a half dozen US states by the time I was 26. And I moved to each of those states looking for the “perfect place.” I finally stopped moving when I realized that every place is the same. Not the same, mind you, but that my happiness level was the same. There is always a trade off; some things are better, some are worse. Nothing is ever perfect, and all that moving just meant starting from scratch each time and losing money and energy.
Relationship are’t the *same,* exactly, but I do extend that logic to relationships: Each guy will have things you like and things you don’t, and no one will ever be perfect. Hell, my idea of perfect changes with my moods anyway. The trick is to find a good guy who treats you right, and then to learn to appreciate that person and know him better. The better you know him, the more you find to appreciate. Certainly not all guys are worth keeping around, but if you wait for “perfect,” you’ll just keep hopping from man to man and finally end up exhausted and either alone… or learning the lesson spelled out in that book above.

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Dawn May 25, 2010 at 7:30 am

I am currently in a relationship and not sure if I am being too picky or ignoring the obvious. Wish there was some way to tell! :)

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

The book will help with that.

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Bitten Bech May 25, 2010 at 7:35 am

I think you are absolutely right, here! Testing a man may be good enough – for a while – and once the testing is over I think a lot of women know deep down inside if she is living with Mr. Right! I do – I seriously do!

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Misty May 25, 2010 at 7:37 am

great post!!! I found your blog through desp seeking me and I am so glad that I found it!!

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jlh May 25, 2010 at 8:52 am

i love this blog but have to disagree with the post and the book. I’d rather be single than settle, personally. There HAS to be chemistry. If there is chemistry the little things on the list missing will not matter.

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jlh May 25, 2010 at 8:52 am

as someone else said, Mr. Perfect for Me, not Mr. Perfect

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Rachel May 25, 2010 at 8:58 am

I need to get this book! It’s like you said, those tests.. they’re for self protection and because of what we’ve been through it’s understandable.. But it’s definitely a fine line of being unreasonable too. Good food for thought! Thank you!!

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Sarah Warren May 25, 2010 at 9:11 am

This is great stuff.

I think that we can all benefit from allowing our mates– and ourselves– to be “good enough.” It’s a hugely tough concept for most of us– but also hugely helpful!

Thanks!

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Shae May 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

Running right out to get this book, maybe I can finally put myself out there and do some dating, yikes!!!

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Courtney May 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

I need this book. My boyfriend and I have been together a year and a half. I am beginning to feel like I am being way too picky and expecting too much.

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Jen May 25, 2010 at 9:39 am

I’m not a mother, but I am in my first serious relationship since getting divorced. I have a much bigger “laundry list,” but also much different now. I think knowing exactly what you need to be happy – and remembering what you’re flexible on – is the key to finding a satisfying relationship. And as long as “putting up” with him is a privilege, not a chore, then you’re in a great place!

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Diana May 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

How I wish I could be given another chance to not make the same mistakes I have made in my last 2 relationships. I know I am too picky but i am too afraid not to be. I need the book for sure! I dont want to grow old alone because someone had a bad habit i didnt like.

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Lori May 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

I wrestled with my descision to settle down for years all because of that Prince Charming BS. I expected to be swept, romanced- daily. Or at least thought I wanted it. Then we spent a month apart. And reuniting was all I needed to know I wasn’t settling. It’s just no one is perfect enough to satisfy ever bullet point on a list of qualities/traits. Part of love is learning to see past the small stuff, like socks with sandals or his inability to color coordinate his outfit. Life is so much more than that. The way I put it is this- everyone dishes out BS. His is the only BS I’m willing to put up with.

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Jennifer May 25, 2010 at 10:16 am

I am guilty of being too hard on my significant other about really stupid things, like laundry! I am learning to let go, to not be so guarded all the time. To be loved … I am sending her (yes, her, sometimes Mr. Good Enough is actually Ms. Good Enough! ha) this link so she can understand a little more of where I’m coming from … Thanks Alaina for your insight as always.

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Mary May 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

I am really interested in reading this book! I’ll be buying it even if I don’t win! Thanks for, as always, sharing such good thoughts!

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Sang D May 25, 2010 at 10:37 am

Great Alaina! This is a great book to read. I passed this along to my sister when she was in a slump. Very thought provoking!

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GreenInOC May 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

I have never understood the fairly recent turn-off of men’s body hair.

Men removing chest hair? What, leaving nothing to grab on to?!

Men waxing their backs? Hello? I don’t want to date a woman! Besides, it has been my experience, that back hair is a great indicator of, how to put this delicately, of…

GOOD FORTUNE!

If that’s too subtle, back hair is a great indicator of a much larger “fortune”! Oh and the double bonus of shoulder hair only adds to the girth of the pot o’ gold!!

Anyway, picky is a waste of time and most often when men fit into our superficial requirements the most important character flaws are completely overlooked. Bad temper, verging on rage? Eh, he has great taste in shoes!

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mssinglemama May 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm

OH my god. This is hysterical. I’m with you – have always been a fan of the hair laden dudes. Never understood the male waxing or shaving phenomenon. Male grooming is a huge turn off.

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Megan May 28, 2010 at 12:56 am

So, so have to agree here – yuck! A man should be a man – hairy and all!
I recently read an article on the new Fox Lifestyle IMAG site that said men prefer women more natural, too – as in boob jobs, removal of hair on nether regions, etc.

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Calleah May 25, 2010 at 10:54 am

I am constantly second guessing myself, whether I’m settling or asking too much. I’m picky, but I don’t think I’m over-the-top picky. And you did have me re-reading this post a few times before knocking out the thought that you hadn’t gotten engaged yet. :)

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goin-crazy May 25, 2010 at 11:44 am

I feel as if I am being too picky sometimes. But the longer I date as a single parent, the wiser I get on what is a realistic expectation vs fantasy. Who doesn’t want Prince Charming? But more than likely, he is not going to be the Prince Charming from our childhood fairytales. But he will be amazing anyways.

I have found that dating as a single parent has made me more tolerable to traits, etc that I would not have been ok with pre-kids. I have to relinquish some of the strict control I have on our lives because there is just not enough time in a day. Maybe the laundry piles up or the dishes don’t get done. Oh well! That attitude has carried into dating and I have seen lots of improvements in the quality of the men I am seeking.

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Anne Younger May 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I’m so glad things are going so well for you and John Bear, you deserve all the happiness you can find!

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Sharesa May 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Thank you so much for sharing with us. You have given me the courage and strength to get through what I once called the “single mom curse.” Now, I consider it an awesome responsibilty and have finally met someone who thinks that being a single mom is not a “curse”! I always had a running “list” of things I wanted to change about each guy I dated previously dated, but after reading your post, I came to the realization that I didn’t need to change them, I needed to look at what exactly I wanted in a man… basically I was settling and wanted to turn them into what I really wanted.

Now, I have found the man that I have always wanted. There is nothing about him that I want to change. He treats me better than any man I have ever dated. He loves me for me and all my “flaws.” Don’t settle ladies! He is out there!!

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lauren May 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm

i think that this would be an excellent read for me (and lots of young, single/co-habitating women i know!). after 6 years of dating, is he ‘the one’? i sure think so, but i also hate the fact that he doesn’t do more around our house, put out the garbage cans and shut the GD kitchen cabinets after opening them….meaning, he’s not perfect. well, neither am i!! i’d like a nice reminder of that every now and then…just in a pretty, polite way!! ;)
*

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Molly May 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Mr. Perfect. For you.

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Lori May 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I love reading all of your posts about my book, and I totally understand why the title trips people up! But, as Alaina said, it’s not meant to get people to “settle” (not at all!). It’s meant to get people to think about what’s important for long-term love and what’s not. There’s a survey in the book where men and women were asked what would be a deal-breaker for going a second date. Men named 3 things, but women named 300! For a second date! They wouldn’t spend another two hours with a person because he didn’t meet some (usually trivial) item on their mental check-list at first glance. And yet when happily married women I interviewed for the book were asked if they knew on the first date that their husband was “The One,” most of them said, “No – I almost didn’t go on a second date with him, and now I’m completely in love with him!”

MARRY HIM isn’t at all about lowering your standards (recipe for disaster) but about having very high standards about the right things and not the trivial things that don’t matter (like the laundry-folding!).

Oh, and you absolutely must have chemistry and attraction and passion. If you read the book, you’ll see what I’m talking about ;)

Thanks again for all of your interesting posts.

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jlh May 25, 2010 at 2:28 pm

i agree with what you say here
about the delabreakers second dates and all
ive tried and tried to like guys who are “great on paper” but no chemistry
I havent read the book but based on this article, it specifically states “settle”
Maybe the theme is different in the book?
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/marry-him/6651/

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Lori May 26, 2010 at 1:10 am

I explain down below what I mean by “settle” and how it has nothing to do with what you might think of as “settling.” The book goes into great detail about this, while the article doesn’t. In fact, the Atlantic article was really supposed to a humorous rant (I don’t literally mean marry the guy with halitosis; I mean, c’mon!) — with a serious message, of course. And that message was, maybe I, and many women who were single and wondering why, had unrealistic expectations about relationships. And maybe we’d been looking for the wrong things and not spending enough time looking for the right things. But in the book, it’s not just my observation. It’s a thoroughly researched journalistic exploration — filled with interviews with dozens of scientists, researchers, and other experts, as well as with hundreds of men and women (single and married; happily and not) — that seeks to find out, “What really matters for long-term romantic happiness, and are we looking for those qualities when we’re dating?”

I talk to neurobiologists about chemistry, marital researchers about what makes for happy and unhappy relationships, sociologists about how the culture influences our ideas of who Mr. Right is, behavioral economists about whether the choices we make are consistent with what actually makes us happy, psychologists about why we otherwise smart, savvy, competent women might make very stupid decisions when it comes to men, etc. And then I try all this out in the real world, to see how it all works.

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Erin May 25, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I’m slowly working my way into someone’s heart…. should be a fun summer. :) I am so glad you decided to work through all the potential problems. It is wonderful to see you so happy. Gives me hope.

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lyzzette h May 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

WOW!!! I know this book would be soo helpful for myself and my single and attached girlfriends! thanks for the recommendation.

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Kait May 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm

“I wanted to share with everybody that I found a great way to meet guys through Precision Dating. The guys I met were able financially secure, stable men with good careers and good values, and eventually I met the one I’d been looking for my whole life!” Check it out: http://www.myprecisiondating.com

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Julie C. May 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

WOW! I was JUST reading about this book on Amazon. I feel like maybe it was WRITTEN FOR ME!!!!! I went through not one but two marriages where it left me with a different opinion about men. Let’s just say I have set my standards a little too high now. I am hoping to read this soon. I am in the dating pool and I sometimes feel like I am sinking. LOL! Thanks for this post though. :)

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Abby Carter May 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

As I am confronting a variety of “issues” in my latest relationship, it would probably do me some good to take a peek at this book. I would be curious to know what she says about “hanging in there,” perhaps even when its not right. How do you make that decision?

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Lori May 26, 2010 at 12:53 am

Abby – The book definitely talks about that but the short version is that you should never “hang in there” if it’s not right. The book is aimed at helping people find the person who IS right; it’s not at all about hanging in with the wrong person. It’s about knowing how to recognize the right person. I hope you’ll check it out.

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Restless Mama May 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I’ve been meaning to buy this book back when I first heard about it and from what I’ve heard I think I just might like it. Congrats on coming this far and keep enjoying your beautiful journey.

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Tami May 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Sounds like a book I need to read for sure. Almost 1 year into my relationship after being a single mama for 7 years I find myself, scared, questioning, sometimes self sabotaging, the list goes on….. Tricky & challenging, but loving it none the less.

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Jennifer May 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Please enter me in the contest for the book! Great post again. So happy you decided to stick around.

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Andrea May 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I would be interested in reading the book. I’m known to have a long list of qualities I’m looking for, and the list only seems to grow with every guy I date! It’s deciding which items in the list are the most important to me that I’m still sorting out. So far, I’ve scrapped the idea of an ideal age – which is good because it has led to a great new relationship that has potential with a guy who probably wouldn’t have been on my initial radar!

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eb May 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Was JUST talking to another mom today who I met who was a single mama and is now happily remarried for seven years with another child. Our situations are eerily the same. Don’t you love meeting other single moms? And I was telling her how it was so nice to meet someone on the other side! So it’s great to come here and read your post after I met her today. I was telling her that I read your blog so I didn’t feel so alone! I was telling her how I ignored the redflags or like you said was “ignoring the obvious” (bingo!) with my ex, and she concurred she did the same. She actually advised me not to settle with my next relationship. I guess this book means not to settle for less than, but just to be realistic in my choosing. Hope I win, the book should be an interesting read!

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Lori May 26, 2010 at 12:59 am

I think as single moms it’s even more important to look for the right qualities in a partner. So it’s not about settling for less; it’s about getting so much more by finally being with an equal, somebody who shares your values and world view and life goals and truly values you for who you are, too. (And yes, he should also be smart, funny, cute, etc.)

Just to explain, since a lot of posts are asking: The word “settle” comes from a survey in which women were asked if they got 80% of all their ideal qualities in a partner, would they be happy? And the majority of women said, “80%? That’s settling! No way would I be happy! I want it all!” But men said, “80%! I hope I find 80%! Eighty percent is a catch!” So the book looks at what we really need to be happily in love versus what we think we need (and what often turns out to make us miserable in so-called love!).

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Kelly May 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I completely agree with the sentiment of this book! I haven’t read it yet, but I will. I will also give it to a few of my friends who need something like this. A few years ago I took my “laundry list” of things I was looking for in a guy and brought it down to two must haves and three deal breakers- Everything else is “negotiable”. The must haves are basic- treat people with respect, and be able to have fun with me AND the kids. The deal breakers are smoking, consistently unemployed and someone who says everything right but never follows through. The tricky one for me has been the last one. It can sometimes take awhile to see/realize that. I’m getting better at it though.
I’m sure that my Mr. Good Enough/Right is out there. Right now, I’m working on making myself a healthy and happy person to be able to attract him. Being the right person is more than half the “battle”…

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ali May 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm

curious about this one….

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laura May 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm

i have recently begun to throw parts of my “laundry list” away… and i’m meeting some amazing people because of that.

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mary May 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

the day i threw my laundry list away i met my mr perfect.

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Susan May 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I would love to read this book! Alaina I think your great!

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Jen @ follow my bliss May 25, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Sometimes I watch my sweet boyfriend trying his very best to do all the little and big things I throw in his path. I can easily focus on how he doesn’t do them perfectly. But recently I’ve been trying to focus on the fact that he tries to do them at all. He takes all my to do lists, quirks and “can you pleases” in stride. THAT is a real man. So many men want to make the women they love happy. They aren’t experts at doing so, but the effort has got to count for something (or for everything).

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Karen May 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Awww I was really hoping it was a ring!! The book does sound interesting!

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Shiang May 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm

So, what’s the big secret?? Don’t think you’ve thrown us all off the trail with this blog post :)

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mssinglemama May 29, 2010 at 8:59 am

Did you see the next post?

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Erika May 26, 2010 at 12:41 am

Thank you so much for this post. I read Lori’s article at the Atlantic, and between this and the comments on this thread, I took a long hard look at myself. And promptly called my best girlfriend, who like myself, is a single professional woman in her early thirties. At lunch today, we were bemoaning our single-ness…the refrain being: “We’re smart, successful, stable, fun, interesting women…why are we still single?” (I of course added in that I have an awesome son too).

And, reading these things, it hit me – we are so, so picky that it borders on ridiculous. My friend, for example, has been casually dating a funny, interesting, smart, caring guy who is so into her it’s not even funny. But he’s short, chubby, and bald. So she went out with another guy this weekend – attractive and magnetic – and he was a douche. I went on one date, a month ago, with a smart, interesting, successful guy who I talked to for hours and enjoyed every second. I then promptly didn’t speak to him again. Why? Because he “works too much” and is “skinny.” Oh, he also called and apologized because he was going to be 5 minutes late for our date.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

So an hour ago I texted Mr. Skinny Works-a-lot, apologized for dropping off the face of the earth, and asked him out. He immediately responded how glad he was to hear from me and then asked me how my day was.

Yeah, think I’ll give him – and the other guys I date – another chance.

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mssinglemama May 26, 2010 at 8:25 am

YES!!! This is so awesome. Come back and let us know how it goes. Works a lot is goooood… better than spends the entire day at the gym getting all buff and ripped so he’s not skinny. Right?

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Michelle May 26, 2010 at 1:55 am

Shouldn’t men also settle for Ms Good Enough?

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mssinglemama May 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

Good point. But I think Lori’s book illustrates with stats to back her up, that men typically are WAY less picky than we are. Therefore, men – by default – settle for Ms. Good Enough. Read the book and it will make sense.

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Ruby May 26, 2010 at 5:38 am

People always ask me about “what I look for in a guy” and though I have a few things in mind, like the way he makes me feel, but I never can “list” out the things… maybe it’s not about the list but the overall performance?

I don’t really think listing would help me find him, at least, not a man who matches perfectly to my list.

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MKT May 26, 2010 at 9:27 am

Interesting. Love your blog!

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Jill B May 26, 2010 at 10:03 am

I’ve been thinking about this book off-and-on since I first heard about it. Receiving a copy would help that decision. :)

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Kris May 26, 2010 at 10:31 am

I’m torn between being “too picky” and then trying to hard to make something work with someone that is great but not the one for me. I tried for a year to make a relationship work with someone who was so sweet to me and would’ve done almost anything to make me happy EXCEPT quit his drinking. When we started dating, I didn’t realize how different our lifestyles were and although I enjoy an occasion night out (drinks included), I am in no way willing to have my daughter around someone who drinks nearly every day! Well, almost a year later I do sometimes wonder if I will ever meet anyone who is right for me and hope that I didn’t throw away my chance at having a family with a sweet and caring guy. I think I need to read this book!

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Single Mom in New England May 26, 2010 at 11:24 am

I love how John Bear shares your photo at the top of your website now!! Gives me hope that we’ll all end up with our soulmate. I would LOVE to read that book. Thanks again for sharing your life with us!

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Carrie May 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

I would love to win this book! It has been on my radar for a while and after reading your post and all of these comments, I think it’s time to finally read it. I have a history of breaking up with guys because they are “too nice” (what?!), and then I married someone who was a selfish narcissist. This time around I’m being careful to make better decisions for me and my son.

I’m so glad things with you and John are going well. He is definitely a keeper!

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Jamie Council May 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I defintely think that many women have too specific a “list,” I know I used to. I thought I had won some sort of lottery when my ex-husband WAS my list-He even could recite my favorite Shakespearean sonnet. Well, since the end of that marriage I’ve decided to narrow my “needs” down to only 3:
1-Not an alcoholic or addict of any kind. (Yeah, forgot that on my last list.)
2-Honest
3-Accepts and loves my children

I don’t think those 3 items are too much to ask for, do you?

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christine May 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm

YES. number 1 is on my list, too. i made so many excuses to ignore that not so little fact last time. disastrous.

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Amanda May 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I dont think that your list is too much to ask for but then again its uber stressful for me to date so i choose not to as a single parent. Those qualities are important to anyone who has children. My needs are just a man who treats me right all the time and treats my son right. Otherwise anything else is just wasting my time.

Alaina, I am glad things are going good for you and John. It makes dating somewhat hopeful for us single moms.

I am completely mean to guys that are interested in me… I can soo relate to your laundry story

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jody May 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

you sold me – i wanna read it…i am married & have a special hub…i put every relationship through every test before i met him. when i met him, the games were over, the laughter stayed & the love continues – we’ll be married 10 years this fall. be with one who reminds you how special you are – not who makes you feel this way – but reminds you. you should feel special on your own.

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mssinglemama May 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

This is great advice Jody. Thanks for chiming in.

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Kim May 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

How do you ever know? If he is Mr. Wrong, Mr. Not good enough, or Mr. Good Enough. I guess I am still hanging onto to my sons father, in hopes that will work out. Is love enough?

I started talking to a new guy and was enjoying it, then he said something about me eating at Mc. Donalds and that broke the deal. Was he Mr. Wrong, Mr. Right, or was I setting the standards way to high?

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christine May 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm

i’ve been thinking about this post a lot, and i just don’t relate. i guess that’s because i don’t date. i never have. even in my mid 30′s, “dating” freaks me out. i meet someone and end up in a 7+ year relationship. i spent from 17-23 in one relationship and 25/26-32 in another. i went out with three guys in the 2-3 years i was technically single, and was so not emotionally ready to even hang out with someone that i pretty much sabotaged the whole process. but it had nothing to do with being picky. more like extreme insecurity coupled with being extremely guarded. i scared them off.

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violet May 27, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I’m going through a similar phase in my relationship right now. I think reading that book might be really helpful.

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Jen May 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

I will definitely give this book a read if I win it! My divorce (after 15 years) was yesterday (took over a year to get it, but I have SOLE parental rights!). Though, the reality of it is that I’ve been a single mama for quite a while now. I have already had one poorly chosen relationship (but did learn a lot from it…about myself) and am determined to take some time to just be with myself and my children. There is a very nice guy in my life right now (and very hairy…hahaha!) who is interested in my children and me…but I am just not ready (and, really, not sure I am even attracted to him in that way). Putting in for the book and wanted to let you know that I appreciate your blog and the hope it gives me…for myself! I think we need to go through what we’re going through (some of us) to really root out some stuff in our lives that goes real deep…and isn’t so healthy. I’m truly enjoying becoming a healthy and whole woman!

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Jen May 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

(P.S. I am with you that hairy is GOOD!!!)

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Another Lara May 29, 2010 at 12:37 am

OOOH, I have wanted to read this and have heard the good, the bad, the controversy. So bring it on… and, since I am reading a book a week this year as one of my personal and creative quests, I know this would fit into my 52 in 52 just perfectly. Plus, I just got back into the dating world and think I might be approaching the playing field a little too narrow-mindedly. Thanks for the opportunity!

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mssinglemama May 29, 2010 at 9:07 am

A book a week? That’s incredible. This should definitely be one of them.

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jlh May 29, 2010 at 9:23 am

ok so ive been thinking about this alot. I think I am going to give the book a try.
I met a guy. I do find him attractive. I can tell he’d treat me very well. But something is missing. Is it just me?
Am I afraid? Am I afraid if I “settle” I’ll miss out on Mr. Perfect?, Mr. butterflies in the stomach, tall dark and handsome, and treat me like a Queen? The things I don’t like are little unimportant in the long run, bad grammar, misspellings, a little country, but pet peeves of mine.
I’m confused. I think before
I would have just told him I wasn’t feeling it, and moved on or tried to just be friends. I think I’ll read the book , continue to spend time and see if anything develops. Maybe I AM too picky?

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Cathy June 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm

There is settling for a bad man and then there is understanding that you have to have realistic expectations.

We can’t expect men to be perfect. Goodness knows we aren’t perfect ourselves. We have to accept men for their foibles if we want them to accept us for who we are.

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jlh June 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm

yeah i havent seen him again yet supposed to this weekend
but the more i talk to him on the phone, im just not feeling it
I’m not gonna settle for no chemistry
I need it

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jlh June 14, 2010 at 7:26 am

i want to suggest a book i thoroghly enjoyed which gave me hope instead.
“meeting your half orange” by amy spencer
I also bought ms gottliebs book but have only read a chapter or two its not for me as the half orange book is!
it renews your hope reminds you not to settle

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girlplease June 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

Ok see, this is why I’m lawyer shopping and going to therapy to decide whether or not to divorce.

The bad: never admits he’s wrong, lazyyyyyyyyy with housework (clothes next to the laundry basket; finished yogurt left on the counter; cat box cleaned once a week), arguments can last up to 8 hours, yelling at me in front of our son, doesn’t really make much, bad with money, in short retirement is going to be a joke, smokes weed, is more concerned about being social/out with friends/doing

The good: calls every morning saying “hi mamma” from him and our son, voice mails of love and being told “you are the woman of my dreams”, protective if someone else gets out of line, used to do a lot more fawning, caring such as starting a hot bath with candles, getting me a puppy on my bday, custom made son’s birthstone pendant which was too expensive for him to afford, surprise birthdays, etc. Like I said, a lot of this has gone to the wayside.

All I want is someone to think I”m the greatest, be my partner with decisions and in life, not get yelled at, bring home a decent/steady paycheck, enjoy being with us (me and our son) and not making plans every second with friends and inviting us like we’re the 3rd wheel, not being a lazy slob where it makes me feel like I”m a mom to a 40 year old, admitting his faults, seeking help when he needs help, active, loves animals and our son more than life itself.

So am I being picky?

Nothing is making me lose hope than comments like “A classic example is this, women often say they want a man who is spontaneous and romantic but who also has a stable career and income.”

God forbid I want a guy to treat me well and is able to have us retire instead of ME working until 75 and he golfs.

So I’m pushing 40 with a 2 year old and me wanting the above is being too picky? Please do explain.

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YouGoGirl September 1, 2010 at 6:55 pm

You are NOT being too picky! A call/vmail here and there does not make up for all the other bad stuff. Arguments lasting up to 8 hours? That is waaay too much. Yelling at you in front of your son, NEGATIVE!!! Smokes weed!!! Definitely bad!!! All this, not good at all.

I was married 10 years to a lazy man and on top of being lazy, always forgot our (kids included) birthdays, not even a flower, etc etc and I do not regret for one minute being divorced. I also felt like a had a 3rd child that I had to pick up after.

With that said, girl get that divorce lawyer and move on with your life. Concentrate on raising your kids and having some peace in your life.

I’ve been on my own now for 5 years and I have never felt better. I am happy, relaxed, and there is lots of peace and love in my life.

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Cheryl August 17, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I am LOVING this book x infinity.

Seriously! Why didn’t I see this post sooner?

I’m a 43 year old Single Mama by Choice (of a 4 year old) who ain’t exactly in her Dating Prime anymore. Please, to the younger (under 40 women) who want a husband and kids… READ THIS BOOK. LISTEN. ACT.

Yes, I DO know better than you. Duh. I’m older! I’m wiser. And I have better insurance. Towanda! :-)

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