When I started dating again at age 47 following the death of my husband, I had no idea how much the dating culture had changed.
I have always been a person who places importance on deep connections with a small group of people, so being thrust into today’s casual dating culture left me frustrated and deeply unfulfilled. Many of the men I dated had been burned by other women and as a result were so guarded with me that it was impossible to really know them. And quite frankly, I just wasn’t interested in surface-level conversations with men who obviously weren’t interested in really knowing me. Just as I was preparing to take a break from dating, I met a man who restored my faith in finding the kind of connection I was seeking.
He is handsome, intelligent, charming—all the things a woman hopes to find in a partner. But the most important trait this man possesses and the reason he captured my heart is because he is an audaciously vulnerable man. He is twice divorced with every reason to be guarded. But since the day we met, he has never been afraid to show himself to me exactly as he is: perfectly imperfect.
He knows, as I do, that time is the most precious commodity we have, and he doesn’t want to waste his or my time putting on pretenses. It was the most disarming moment to realize that this guy is totally comfortable in his skin and in his life, and he is open to letting me read every unedited page of his story. A man who knows who he is and what he wants and shares all of himself openly with you is the Holy Grail of the dating pool—especially at my age when everyone is traveling with considerable baggage.
Here are my top 10 reasons the audaciously vulnerable man is the only man into whom you should invest yourself:
1. He has spent and will continue to spend a lot of time in self-reflection. He knows who he is and who he is not.
2. He owns his story—all of it. He recognizes his successes and failures but emphasizes the importance of his personal growth throughout the journey.
3. He honors his spark. He makes time for the passions that bring him joy. He loves to play and understands the importance of feeding his spirit.
4. He wants to share himself with you. He wants you to see him. He needs you to see him. The greatest gift you will ever give him is to never stop trying to understand him.
5. He genuinely wants to know you. He listens to your stories and your music. He asks probing questions. He makes you feel that you are completely safe in showing him who you are.
6. He is kind and respectful to everyone and continuously seeks opportunities to lift others up. He is totally secure in who he is; he doesn’t need to make others feel small to make himself feel powerful.
7. He is intellectually humble and curious. Although he is incredibly intelligent, he knows there are so many things he doesn’t know. He is thirsty to continue learning.
8. He perpetually wants to be better and to do better. But he is competing with himself—not with you or others. He knows how far he has come in his journey, and he will never stop trying to be a better human.
9. He is comfortable both in taking the lead and in following yours. He is confident in his own abilities, but he also sees the smart, powerful woman you are. He recognizes that you bring different strengths to the partnership and complement each other. When you embrace your power, he finds it sexy—not threatening to his ego.
10. You will always know where you stand with him. There are no mind games. You will never own this man, but you won’t feel the need to because he makes you feel loved and secure every single day.
The secret to finding this elusive, beautiful man is to be audaciously vulnerable yourself. We must hold ourselves to the same ideals we have for a partner. It takes a courageous spirit to really put yourself out there for each other, especially the parts of you that are not shiny and pretty. But my God, when you look deeply into the eyes of a man who truly sees you and who lets you truly see him…pure magic.
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