A lot of articles on Elephant talk about the “right” man. What to look for in a relationship, and how to walk away from “toxic” people. Red flags, deal breakers, and “how to tell” if he’s the right one. Also, what to do about it if he’s not.
It isn’t all that difficult to discern the right man from the wrong man.
The right man is the one who quietly pumps up your bike tires simply because he thinks they need air. He does it without talking about it, without seeking credit, without fanfare.
The right man is the one who remembers you like toast when it’s raining, so he brings you a slice, slathered with butter, just to be nice.
He knows you are terrified of storms. He holds you tight; he takes a moment to comfort you because he knows you are a little embarrassed and you are not trying to be dramatic at all, but it is what it is, and you are scared.
The right man is one who talks to babies and dogs and little children and birds. There is a song in his voice, and love in his words.
The right man is the one who says, “what she said” and points to you, after you’ve said something important or brilliant or funny or cool. Lord have mercy, that’s the man for you.
The right man is the one who shifts when he knows he’s wrong. But he also sticks to his convictions when you are—wrong, that is. Because sometimes you are, and it’s okay to admit it.
He doesn’t leave you guessing because he doesn’t play games. He has a sense of humor, but he never calls you names. Not even humorous ones. And, he tells you to stop mocking yourself so much. You practice humility, while he lifts you up.
The right man is the one who walks around your father’s funeral with a box of tissues because he knows everyone needs them. He wants to be helpful during your helpless moments, and he reacts with purpose when he sees them.
The right man runs to the action, not away from it. He is all fight, zero flight. Cowards run away from problems, and your man, the right one, is no coward.
He’s the one who loves mustard but hates mayo.
He’s the one who loves boxing movies but hates musicals.
He’s the one who puts your daughter’s feet on his feet and dances her around the room to Elton John songs.
He’s the one who doesn’t correct you. The one who lets you process your reactions and correct yourself.
The right man looks at you like you are a puzzle. He cocks his head to the side but doesn’t try to understand your ways. Instead he just accepts them, and you, just as you are. He lets you be. The right man isn’t your captor, quite the contrary—instead he sets you free.
The right man does his own goddamn thing, and makes no excuses.
He laughs at his own bad jokes.
The right man might forget some things, but he shows up when it’s important. He is accountable and reliable and stable. He is all the “ables” and he’s right there, by your side, during your frenetic times.
The right man for you is the one who listens. The one who validates. The one who doesn’t try to change or fix your feelings. The one who enters the hot space with you when you’re raging, when you’re crying, when you’re laughing. The right man for you does not want you to tone it down; instead he wants you to turn it up, even if it’s too loud for everyone else.
He tries. Tries to do right by you. Tries to be right for you. He wonders if he’s “doing it right,” and that’s exactly what makes him right.
The bar is set quite high for the right man. He sure as hell isn’t living down by the river in a van. Well, maybe he is. Living in a van is pretty f*cking amazing, actually.
The right man for you does not give one whit about what’s trendy or saving face. He practices patience, and kindness, and he freely gives grace.
He’s no rocket scientist or mathematical whiz.
The right man, darlings, just is.
And you’ll know it when you find him.