Q: Dear Rachel,
Is it a crime to like tall men? I meet nice guys, but they’re just too short. I need a guy who’s a minimum of 6-feet tall. I’m looking for Mr. Right, but I also want him to be Mr. Tall.
— Signed, “Height-Lover.”
A: Dear “Height-Lover,”
It’s great to know what you want and trust me, sister, you’re not the first woman to tell me she likes tall men. Just make sure that your preconceived ideas of your perfect partner don’t decrease your chance of actually finding him. As I mentioned, height is a concern for many women. When I lead dating workshops, women consistently tell me that they want to date a tall man, “over 6-feet tall.” So I say, “Have you ever dated a tall man?” And they say, “Oh, yeah, every guy I’ve ever dated was over 6-feet tall.” Then I say, “How’s that workin’ for you?” In other words, height, alone, is obviously not enough to make a relationship last. That’s why it’s so important to aim for deeper personality traits like affectionate instead of more superficial qualities, like athletic. If a man’s good qualities don’t affect your daily life, then they’re not doing you any good. You could date an Olympic gold medalist, but the majority of your time together will be spent without a track, field or toboggan in sight. Your day-to-day moments must be enjoyable and compatible or you won’t be satisfied.
Sometimes our perfect partner arrives in a slightly different package than we expect. If you narrow your line of sight by clinging to arbitrary qualities that you think you need, you may miss the most compatible person for you. It’s not about lowering your expectations; it’s about shifting your priorities to personality traits, which have the most bearing on the success of a relationship. I’m not saying that your best match won’t be tall. He may be, but focus on how a man treats you and makes you feel, and you may be pleasantly surprised if your ideal man turns out to be 5’10” and the love of your life. I always say, if you must have six pack abs in your life, develop them yourself because toned abs are poor criteria for choosing a life partner.
Q: Dear Rachel,
Do men really like bitches? I consider myself to be a good person, but my ex told me that I’m too nice. Do I have to change my personality to get a boyfriend?
— Signed, “Too Nice.”
A: Dear “Too Nice,”
Although there are probably some dysfunctional men out there who actually prefer bitches, referring to the well-known derogatory term for a woman, (which compares her to an aggressive, female dog) there is also a newer slang definition of the word. In an attempt to turn a negative into a positive, some women now use the term to refer to a strong, confident woman. So if you’re referring to the second definition, then yes, I think men like bitches. In my experience, when someone tells you that you’re “too nice” they usually mean that you don’t have strong, personal boundaries. It’s human nature to respect people who respect themselves, and a man can sense when a woman is desperate or unsure of herself to the point that she’s willing to sacrifice her own well being to please him.
What’s the solution? Don’t help a man be a man. This means you should never try to fix, save or change the people you date or give too much. Practice setting healthy boundaries by making your own needs and desires a priority in your life. If you don’t, no one else will. This can take some soul-searching if you have habitually devalued your own needs over a period of time. It’s a woman’s nature to want to nurture those she loves, a great instinct when dealing with children or pets, but not when interacting with a grown man in a romantic relationship. Overly accommodating behavior causes your partner to lose respect for you and eventually lose interest in your relationship altogether. We teach others how to treat us. If you take the position, initially, of doing more than your share in a relationship, that dynamic will usually continue until the relationship ends. Develop a healthy give and take rapport with your next partner by giving him space to meet you halfway as an equal participant in your relationship from the beginning.
Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice Beach. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For dating advice, contact Rachel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.