I have a good female friend who just celebrated her 33rd birthday. She, and about ten of her closest friends, got together in New York City to celebrate her day. After the cake and candy and catching-up and presents were finished, talk quickly turned personal as each woman in the room — all successful and all working good jobs and all well-educated and all touching their early 30’s alone in life in the Big City — realized they were all a failure at finding “Mr. Right” and settling down into a marriage and raising a family, even though that’s what they said they wanted more than anything.
Sure, they were having lots of non-committal sex with anonymous, androgynous, youngins. Yes, they were living comfortable, but isolated, lives. Of course they were yearning for more and more and more — and that was precisely their problem.
As my friend shared her story with me — and lamented out loud why she and all of her friends were “so successful” yet “so unhappy” — the answer to their problem was so clear that I could not tell her directly without sounding hectoring, so I softened up the truth a bit and spoon-fed her a reality not of her liking, but of her choosing.
Here’s the redacted, blunt-on, INTJ version of what I told her:
High-powered, successful, goal-oriented women have been raised by a smug, mainstream, society to form the idea that only one man — Mr. Perfect — is right for her and “she’ll know him when she sees him” and so she wastes decades of her life waiting for that Perfect Man to arrive, even though the does not exist.
People are flawed. Most men are irretrievably broken, but a good woman can fix him just by believing in him. There’s no such thing as the Perfect Man or even “Mr. Right.” I’m not suggesting you lower your impossible standards for finding the right mate, but you might want to relax your checklist for acceptable suitors for fathering your children.
Oftentimes, “Mr. Good Enough” turns out, in the end, to be your “Mr. Perfect” — because you are able to live through the flaws to see the real goodness in the man that your previous societal brainwashing had prevented you from directly witnessing.
Would you give up your money and your career for a man? What about for “Mr. Perfect?” If you’d “give it all up” for the Perfect Man, then sacrifice a third of it to settle down with — without settling for — “Mr. Good Enough,” and the happiness you will discover will repay your sacrifice three-fold because you will find earnest feelings and genuine love you only previously experienced in your dreams about meeting “Mr. Perfect.”
When our conversation was over, my friend didn’t quite believe me — she decided she would “wait as long as it takes” to find the “right man” because cheating herself with “Mr. Good Enough” is something she’d never forgive herself for doing — and so I took a pinch of pity on her as I smiled and wished her a good day while also knowing her destiny was to become a bitter old bitty waiting to marry a notion, and not a real man; and so she will continue to sow the ghosts of her childhood imagination and reap the wild wind trying to find a suitable sire for her shriveling dreams of a brood of her own.