Hey Dr. Buckingham,
I am a 35-year-old single professional guy and I keep running into women who do not meet my expectations. I am looking for the total package. I am looking for a woman who is extremely attractive, humble, childless, down-to-earth, educated, professional like me, understands her worth and role, funny, feminine, spiritual and God-fearing, and freaky, but not in public. I understand that relationships are about giving and I want a woman who is willing to give me 100%. I don’t think that I am asking too much. My last female friend told me that I want too much and I am not willing to give much. At times I can be reserved because I have been hurt before, but I am not settling.
For a long time, I did not give females an opportunity to get in my space and I still do not now. I don’t want too many people to get in my space because I don’t want to be hurt. I always have my defense up and I am always on the defensive regardless of how sweet a woman might be. I am not going to give a woman an opportunity to hurt my feelings or make me feel bad again because at the tail end I still have to take care of me. So in the back of my mind, I tell myself to only give 75% to women because I am probably going to get hurt anyway. If they cannot live with my 75% giving, then I keep it moving.
At times I can be hard on women, but I want to be in a serious relationship and eventually get married. I am not getting any younger and I know that I can make a woman happy. What Advice Do You Have For a Single Man Looking for Lifetime Commitment?
Waiting to hear from you Doc,
Dear Mr. Ready,
It is not my intent to offend you, but you are not ready for lifetime commitment or marriage. You have two issues that need to be resolved before you enter into marriage.
The first issue has to do with your unresolved pain. You stated that you have been hurt before and still hold back because you are afraid of being hurt again. If you cannot love freely, you are not ready for marriage. Being guarded and feeling anxious about being hurt is counterproductive in marriage. If you enter into a relationship with fear, you look for things and will occasionally argue about petty things.
If you cannot love freely, you are not ready for marriage.
Dating with fear is not the same as dating with faith. You have to trust that the woman you decide to marry will not hurt you, at least not intentionally. You cannot build a healthy relationship based on fear.
There is nothing wrong with being cautious, but everything is wrong with being overly anxious. Given this, my first piece of advice is to get professional help and explore your spiritual walk with God so that you can work through your fear of being hurt. Before you can get a total package, you have to become a total package.
My second piece of advice has to do with your unrealistic expectation about giving. You described your willingness to give 75%, but you expect the woman in your life to give 100%. If you want a healthy relationship and lifetime commitment, you must eliminate this unrealistic expectation.
Relationships are about giving and receiving and it is irrational to expect to receive 100% of unwavering support and only give 75% in return and expect to have a healthy relationship. Selfishness and self-centeredness has no place in relationships.
Emotional intimacy, trust and mutual respect can only develop in relationships when two hearts are joined and both individuals are giving 100%. One of the most difficult challenges single men like you face in regards to entering into and sustaining relationships is learning how to be team players who give 100%.
Some people say that relationships are 50/50. I disagree. Relationships are about being willing to give 100% and understanding that some days 50% is all that can be given. Some days we fall short and need help—that is the beauty of having a partner. The willingness to give 100% is what makes relationships work.
If you want lifetime commitment, you must resolve your fear issue and eliminate your unrealistic expectation about giving. Getting into a relationship is easy, but sustaining a relationship requires work.
If you would like to learn more about how to resolve fear and work through unrealistic expectations, secure copies of my books, “Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and 99 Strategies for Making Your Marriage Last Forever.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.