Debunking the Myth of the Perfect Man. ~ Stephanie Winn

Via Stephanie Winn
on Jul 15, 2013
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My man and I are pretty happy on the whole, and everyone can see it.

If you were to meet us at a party, we’d be “that couple”—the one that can’t keep their hands off of each other long enough avoid embarrassing our friends, the one people tell to get a room even though between the two of us we have two rooms, thank you very much.

If you were to come to one of the kirtans I lead, you’d hear a perfectly attuned duo.

Mid-song you’d see me shooting him a big smile (yes, that’s the rhythm, I love what you’re doing!) and between songs we’d steal a kiss.

If you were among his friends, you’d ask him how his book is coming along, and you’d hear about how much his writing has flourished since he met me. Who would have dreamed that his beloved would also provide the best editorial support he could imagine, and be able to supply him with the exact word or phrase he’s grasping for?

If you were among my friends, at some point in our friendship you’d probably find yourself turning to me for solace with your relationship woes. You might say something like a girlfriend of mine said yesterday, “Things have been good with James, it’s just that I’m ready to find someone who is like, Yes, Jenny, you’re the one for me, you’re amazing, I don’t need anybody else, I choose you!

You might hear me testify that what you want is possible; men like that do exist and I should know because I have one.

Yep, I have that rumored man—almost mythical in some circles, who knows a good thing when he sees her, and commits to her with a full heart. I have that talked-about man who consistently thinks highly of his woman, who sees the best in her and brings it out, and who is proud to be with her and comfortable showing that to the world.

I have the man whose loyalty is infallibly trustworthy. He is a guy who can go away for a week to a dance camp full of touchy-feely polyamorous people while keeping his boundaries clear the whole time without even feeling tempted and who is so consistent in his demonstration of monogamous devotion to his woman that she feels no fear or worry.

I have that fantasy man who is clear and empowered in his life, driven by a sense of purpose, dedicated to putting effort into meaningful projects each day. I have this type of man who possesses an impressive balance of long-term planning and present moment enjoyment, of goal orientation and flexibility. He is good at many things, from computer repair to plumbing, and lends a hand to his friends and his woman with an easygoing attitude.

I have the kind of man who can make his lady laugh, whose sharp wit keeps her endlessly engaged.

I have that mystical man who does not touch alcohol or drugs, who has never had any kind of addiction, who knows what his body needs and provides it consistently, without self-sabotage. He is aware of his inner process and able to name his feelings, patterns, and capacities-or-lack-thereof as they arise.

I have the kind of man who is so secure in his own strength and masculinity that he is not threatened by the greatness of others. He is the one who respects women, and people in general, and has friends of all ages and genders and walks of life.

Amazing, right? Ladies, that rumored man does exist. There’s at least one of them out there, and he’s mine. I bet there are plenty more of them, too, just waiting to be discovered.

Here’s the deal though: he’s not perfect, but that’s okay. It has to be okay in order for us to grow out of the narcissism that keeps us isolated. I’m here to debunk the myth of the perfect man and replace it with the concept of the good enough man.

Here’s what’s Not Perfect about the Good Enough Man:

1. He needs time and space to himself.

That’s the cost of his fullness of expression. In order for him to be as energetic and expressive and fun and funny and demonstrative of love as he typically is, he has to have enough time alone to connect with his own inner source.

This means that he’s not always available when you want him—or if he does force himself to be available, it comes at a cost, and you’re going to feel it. This can suck sometimes but you learn that it’s worth it.

2. He’s stubborn.

Loyal, unwavering devotion is a personality trait that tends to go hand in hand with stubbornness. The kind of man who knows what he wants and sticks with it when it comes to his companion also tends to have consistent preferences in other areas of life such as food, music, and social activity.

He’ll make his displeasure known if he feels dragged into something he doesn’t want. Hopefully you have enough common ground to begin with, because his preferences are unlikely to change.

3. He’s possessive. Do you want a man who wouldn’t so much as hold hands and eye gaze with a pretty stranger? Then he probably wouldn’t feel comfortable with you doing that, either, which leads to the next trait.

4. He gets triggered. Well, don’t you? So why shouldn’t he? When he’s triggered, your needs are not in the forefront of his attention—his are. When he’s triggered, he can’t access his compassion toward you.

That doesn’t mean it’s not there; it means he needs to feel safe and return to center in order to be able to feel his tenderness toward you welling up within him again. You’re going to have to find ways to get through these moments together.

5. The two of you will argue.

What your fights look like will vary, but there will be times when you’re both less than your best. Name-calling, put-downs, and physical abuse are not okay, but voices may be raised, tears may be shed and feelings of distress may be present.

Each of you may say and do things that attempt to meet your needs but end up pushing the other away, making him or her feel misunderstood or isolated or scared. You might even say or do things that you regret. In the moment, it feels terrible.

How you come back together is what makes the difference between a relationship that’s headed downward and one with the potential for growth.

6. He can be overly simple.

He is fluent in two languages, plays seven instruments, writes software and knows how to change your air filter, but when it comes to matters of the heart he can be simple beyond belief.

You write him a long email pouring your heart out but his response might be a kind one-liner with a “thanks” or “I love you.”

This response can be maddening for the complex female brain, but before you go railing against him for it, consider how it serves him (and serves your relationship) for him to be this way. The truth is often simpler than we think; at least he’s keeping it real.

The Myth of the Perfect Man has served us in many ways.

It has provided reminders of what is possible and what we deserve. At the very least, a woman who chooses monogamy deserves a man who chooses the same and demonstrates his loyalty. A woman who is in touch with her creative power deserves a man who is connected to his sense of purpose. If she   makes health-conscious choices then she deserves a man who takes care of his body too.

A woman who devotes herself to caring for her partner deserves a man who opens her heart and makes her feel safe. All women deserve a man who can entertain their intellect and imagination and no one deserves to be abused, put down, deceived, or to be the one doing all the work in the relationship.

At the same time, a relationship is a meeting of two hearts, not one heart alone in a hall of mirrors. While holding an image of the ideal partner can help us set dating goals or discern when a relationship is truly unhealthy for us, it can also be used unconsciously to put up a wall and keep us isolated.

The myth of the mate who is capable of meeting our needs fully in every single moment, as if never distracted by their own needs, feelings and patterns, stems from a fantasy that we harbored in early childhood when our parents were perceived as omnipotent Gods.

Becoming truly adult in relationship means learning to love a worthy, well-intentioned, sensitive, fallible human being.


Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall


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Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: via Pinterest}


About Stephanie Winn

Stephanie Winn is a dating coach and Marriage and Family Therapy Intern. She’s also an amateur tea connoisseur, and a leader of kirtans in the Bay Area. Follow her on Facebook.


6 Responses to “Debunking the Myth of the Perfect Man. ~ Stephanie Winn”

  1. guest says:

    great insight. thank you!

  2. Narayani says:

    Great article. Thanks Stephanie!

  3. andrew says:

    enjoyed your article, balanced in its approach, taking into consideration men's worldview (hard to do as a woman).

  4. demetra says:

    I have this too!!!! Thank you 🙂 I've been feeling like it's "too good to be true" for a while.. But the fact that it truly exists elsewhere makes me happy

  5. Paul says:

    Thank you for your beautiful article.

  6. Cat says:

    With respect… even though I know it might not sound respectfull.. this is written in a very generalizing way even though it is based on the writers very personal experience. Other "perfect" men may not have the same "flaws" that the writers man has and not for the same reasons either. The first part made me feel a bit sick to read to be honest as it was so overly boastful (sorry) not because I'm jealous, I also have a good relationship with a intelligent, spiritual man who doesn't drink etc, but just because it was SO boastful. In Sweden we have a saying which goes "selfflattery tastes bad". Let others tell the tale of your amazing relationship, if it really is that good they will.