Thursday, October 3, 2013

Is He Worthy of Me?

When I began blogging, roughly around four years ago, my purpose was to explore ideas or feelings that may be occupying me and have some sort of release, hence the title 'Catharsis'.  Not in a million years did I expect that a reader would actually write to me and ask for advice.  (I must admit I have fantasized about it though and secretly wished it!)

Well, that day has come and I thank this dear and fabulous reader for giving me an interesting material to explore this week.  She wants to remain anonymous so I'll just refer to her as "Rarity", just because my son is currently watching 'My Little Pony'.
*Photo Credit: Master isolated images/*

Anyway, Rarity wants to know:  "How does a woman know that her man is for real?  How does she know (not feel) that the man she's in love with is being true to her and isn't just playing a game or sticking around until the next good thing comes along?"

Oooohhh, this is a tough one.  But I'll do my best so just bear with me because there are a lot of things here we need to break down...

The first point I want to make to Rarity is that with this question, what I actually hear you asking is this:  How do I know this man is worth my time, attention and investment in feelings? Can you give me signposts so I can easily identify which men won't be a waste of my time, which men are truly worthy of me?  How can I be sure that this man's intentions are true?

I definitely hope you are not asking what to look for in terms of spotting men who will not hurt you because that's a totally different field, I believe. Someone can be 'for real' and 'worth your time and feelings' and still end up hurting you, whether inadvertently or otherwise.  So for now, let's separate that issue, shall we?

Rarity, do you remember the story of the Velveteen Rabbit?  In this story, the rabbit learned what 'being real' meant. Do you remember that it had only to do with love and being loved?  That things (or we) become 'real' once we are loved and that it's something that can't be ever undone.  I will apply the same here to try to answer your question.  I think that finding someone 'real' has to do with someone who possesses love and is capable of truly loving, and so most of my answers below will ultimately have to do with what loving means or how it is to give love.

Now, I want to be clear that I don't have a ton of experience when it comes to relationships with men.  What I'm going to share now is knowledge gained from personal experiences, others' experiences shared with me, as well as insights gained from books.  These are subjective and here it goes...

I think someone is 'for real' when ---

...he makes your happiness a priority; when he shows that your happiness is important to him even if, or especially if, it presents no clear gain for him.  I believe it's important to be with someone who really wants to make you happy, wants you to BE happy and he shows a clear willingness to make that possible for you.  (Note that this assumes that both of you know what can make you happy so you need to know your self, and allow him to really know you).

...he shows a clear, unwavering certainty that he wants to be with you; that it is YOU he wants to be with and that he's willing to move heaven and earth to make that achievable.

...he will never allow you to challenge your sense of self-respect; will never push you to sacrifice your personal boundaries in terms of values, and dearly-held beliefs / morals (e.g. spirituality, your moral compass, people who have always been important and supportive of you, etc).  Someone who truly loves you, and therefore is 'for real', will never demand that you sacrifice something that has always been integral to your healthy sense of self and well-being. Someone who really loves you will only endeavor to enhance your self-love and not the other way around. When you have some discomfort about a person who wrongly or unhealthily challenges you in this way, listen to your gut and walk away.

...he truly sees you for who you are (with all your flaws, insecurities, and demons) and still wants to be with you, not to change you but to journey with you.  

(and by the same token)---
...he trusts you enough to be able to expose the inner layers of his life to you (details about his family and meeting them; his past, whether good or bad; his intimate thoughts, dreams, disappointments, pains and joys).  In other words, once you feel that he is willing to engage in genuine intimacy with you (not just physical, but a real opening up and willingness for transparency and mental and emotional 'nakedness') can you see him as being 'real'. 

...he is consistent, reliable and self-assured.  You wouldn't want to be with someone who is hot and then suddenly cold, and then hot again; someone who is completely unpredictable and has no sense of constancy.  Such a person will not only drive you mad, but also exhibits a sense of uncertainty whether about you or himself.  Either way, you don't need to participate in that confusion.  Remember that it is not your job to convince him of anything. You want someone who is already sure, secure and mature, instead of someone who still wastes time playing games.

...he is able to put his ego aside for you, and, to borrow a line from '10 Things I Hate About You', would be willing to 'sacrifice himself in the altar of dignity'. I'm not asking that you expect him to humiliate himself and demand that he forsake his self-respect.  But someone who has true intentions and really wants to offer his love knows that his ego is not as important as being able to honor you, and express to the world just how much you mean to him.  To love is to be vulnerable and embracing that vulnerability is only possible when the ego is put aside.

I think those are some of the 'sign posts' I can give you, Rarity.  That said, I still want to emphasize that as much as you probably hate hearing this, it is true that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to love and relationships.  Two important things to remember at all times, though, is to know yourself/ your boundaries, and trust yourself / your intuition. Experiences are subjective and you don't want to be perpetually second guessing yourself. I'm afraid that the reason why you want 'sign posts' is because you have somehow lost the ability to simply trust yourself to just know, to simply feel and believe in the saying that 'when you know, you know'.  But there is wisdom in that saying although it does assume that you trust yourself enough.  You also need to trust that no matter how things end up, you will be fine, that you will survive; that no matter how painful things turn out, you will not be forever broken and that you can still feel whole and come out of it stronger and wiser.  As they say, Love is not for the fearful, but only for the brave.  It always is a risk, and one that is worth taking.

There's one last note I'd like to make.  If you noticed, I did not include the element of time on my list.  I was tempted to say that time is the only good predictor for someone's sincerity; that you should stay clear of whirlwind romances. But that would be hypocritical of me, wouldn't it?  I only had two romantic relationships, both extremely serious, and both developed very quickly.  Was I just lucky?  Maybe.  I don't know.  So you need to understand that though GENERALLY, time is a good predictor and that it is almost always wise to wait and take it slow, I also won't deny the possibility of exceptions.  

I hope I made sense to you, Rarity, as well as to anyone out there who might have found this useful.  Thanks again for the opportunity and if you guys think I did not entirely suck, please feel free to send in other interesting questions that you might want me to mull over!  Here's a link to my 'Contact Me' form if you want to send something over privately.  

If anyone else wants to add any other advice for Rarity, please feel free to comment below!  



  1. Lovely post, Joy, congrats and I can fully understand Rarity's turning to you for advice.

    I think the most important thing is that you accept yourself for what you are and love yourself. When we feel worthy of ourselves most of the doubts and questions concerning a relationship will dissolve. And in a relationship: keep a healthy balance of intimacy and distance, do not think that you have to share everything, have your own interests, friends.

  2. Very sound advice. I have nothing to add, really. Except maybe that, in life, we are never sure of anything. At some point, we make a decision to continue with someone. Or not. And it is a bet.

  3. Great advice! Loved the quote you used.

  4. Stunning story there. What occurred after?
    Take care!


Let me know your thoughts!