I love love. But at the same time, I embrace being single. Being in relationships has taught me a lot about what I am and am not willing to accept. But being single has taught me a lot about myself and what I want in my future.
Thanks to a combination of my past experiences in and out of the single ladies club, I have a pretty strong idea of what love means to me and what I want in my next relationship. I’ve observed, I’ve reflected, I’ve learned, and I’ve decided that there are some non-negotiables. It turns out the list isn’t all that long, but it still might be a challenge.
We’ve talked about how to approach a woman, and then how to build a foundation for love. Now let’s talk about how to keep a woman, because this is the place where some of the best men seem to be getting stuck. Once we have a foundation – based on respect, communication, and love – boundaries, vulnerability, and effort become even more important.
This is how to find a good woman and keep her.
This past year, I read an incredible book called Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I’ve always admired couples that could spend time together but also spend time apart doing their own thing, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I understood why. There’s this misconception that being in a relationship means losing your individual identity, but I prefer the book’s definition: “Each participates in the relationship, and each has his or her own life.”
Men I’ve seriously dated have lost me when they tried to take away my freedom to be my own person. Hint: these are the guys who think you should conform to their beliefs or be present for them every second of the day. I can love someone and have different values, choices, or habits than them. And they should accept an occasional “no.” Likewise, I have to accept times when my man wants to workout alone, go on guy trips, have a different faith, or do other things apart from me.
Being single has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself as an individual. It has also taught me that I can do things alone – sometimes I prefer it! This means that when I get the opportunity to be in a relationship, I’ll be that much better at setting boundaries and loving someone without trying to control them.