Today I finished the first chapter (finally!) of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Finding Mr. Right.” And after reading about the “Nine Mr. Right Archetypes” and five myths regarding Mr. Right, I now have some insight on a recent encounter I had with a potential “Mr. Right.” I use quotes in this particular instance because upon completion of this first chapter, I now realize that this person is in no place to be dating–at least, not me.
Let’s take a brief look at each of the archetypes. I found them all fairly relevant and interesting. I’ll try to make connections between my own experiences and each of the archetypes, without incriminating said exes, dates, etc.
Archetype No. 1: “Father Knows Best”
This person is invariably your “first love,” who had no flaws, and made you feel safe and secure. While this person wasn’t the first guy I dated, he was probably one of the first guys that I ever had a serious relationship with. Well, I thought it was serious, at least. We dated long distance–both of us were going to college at the time–and it was only for a few months. But, the time that we spent together was memorable. I even tried rekindling that flame several times after we separated, but to no avail. As I have learned, though, while he is probably that person that makes me feel safe and secure, he isn’t ultimately for me. He doesn’t want to be my protector, nor should I rely on him to be my comforter. The takeaway from this archetype: I need a man who doesn’t want to control me (not that this person was very controlling), but sees me as his equal.
Archetype No. 2: “Prince Charming”
Ironically, archetypes one and two seem to be the same person for me. When I first met this man, he swept me off my feet. I was awed at his good looks, his composure, intelligence and level of confidence. There seem to be a lot of parallels between archetype 1 and 2. Key takeaway with this one: know that the man you’re looking for will not be perfect. He will have his own flaws and you must understand that this is part of who he is. And of course, I have my own flaws. But recognizing each other for both the good and bad experiences is what will make us more compatible. These traits create depth in character.
Archetype No. 3: “Harry Potter”
Apparently this is the cute, sweet, and “stand-up” kind of guy. The one you’ve always had a crush on because he’s too virtuous to even think of trying to get to first base. The best example I can think of for this one is an ex who I dated who I had a crush on for quite some time before we actually started dating. I remember there being a strong attraction to him, but we took things slow and steady–he definitely didn’t want to round the bases until we had shared a level of commitment with one another that warranted the “perks” if you will. This archetype specifically talks about him being focused on a cause at the time, and not you (or me in this case). Which is very much on-point with this particular person. He was on a mission to complete other aspects of his life, and I was not at the top of the list (and rightfully so). Would I date Harry Potter again? I think so. But not until we are physically closer to one another.
Archetype No. 4: “Justin Timberlake (or the Boy Band Boyz)”
Once again, with this archetype, the priority isn’t you or me. The funny thing is, I know exactly who this person is. We had a great relationship. In fact, I applaud him for the effort he made to include me in his life. But, we were in different places, and in particular, he was still in the “party” stage. I was beginning to settle down with my studies in college, preparing for my career. He was still in college and needed to experience all that it had to offer. Unfortunately, I didn’t make some of the best decisions while I was with him, which ultimately ended up with us separating. Once again, would I date him again? Yes, particularly now that he’s also in career mode (though by following him on Facebook, he still knows how to have a good time). Key takeaway: You need a man, not a boy. (Not that this person was a boy, but we weren’t in the same place.)
Archetype No. 5: “Mr. Darcy”
Wealthy, handsome and mysterious are the traits that define this one. Well, archetype number 1 and 2 are the same as this guy. So I don’t think I really need to go into much explanation here. But here’s the key takeaway: find a man who is not afraid to show his own emotions. And I must say, I never really quite knew where I stood with this guy. Sometimes I felt like I was the center of his universe. Other times, it was all a big mystery.
Archetype No. 6: “Mr. Tolson (from The Great Debaters)”
This is the person who is more of your mentor than a boyfriend. The best example I can think of in this case was a gentleman who I dated several years back. He was kind and courteous, had a strong head on his shoulders, strong morals, and definitely goals and the drive to attain them. Our relationship ended up being more platonic as it progressed. More and more, we became pals rather than boyfriends. I think we both eventually realized that. Unfortunately, though, after our separation (both physically and geographically), all attempts to reconnect with him have been fruitless. In fact, last I knew, he was dating one of my exes. Perhaps that’s why neither of them have ever bothered to reply to my attempts at making contact. Key takeaway: you need someone who is there to cheer you on and encourage you to do your best (which he always did; in fact, he provided some of the strongest support that I ever needed at one point in my life). But, this person needs to be your partner, not your coach or crutch.
Archetype No. 7: “Ross, Chandler, and Joey”
These are, ultimately, the friends with benefits types. They are fun to hang out with, both in social situations and one-on-one, but what happens when it moves beyond that? Are both parties ready to do so? The key takeaway here: while the friends with benefits situation may fulfill an immediate need, it doesn’t provide you with the man who is your lover, soul mate and life partner. In brief, I’ve come across a few of these in my “dating career.” And while they do fulfill the immediate need or those gaps in between more serious relationships, you must be careful about what happens here. If you part ways, will you still be able to maintain your friendship? Or will it just become awkward?
Archetype No. 8: “McSteamy”
He’s smart and sexy, but he’s also a player. Well I know who that is right off the bat. This person played me after we dated, and to the point that it even affected a couple of other relationships that I had. But I always kept coming back to him. He is the true “Mr. Right Now.” Key takeaway here: you need to find a man who isn’t looking for “the next best thing” to come his way. Oh, and for the record, he wasn’t all that smart.
Archetype No. 9: “McDreamy”
This is a sensitive one. I met McDreamy not too long ago. At first, I was enveloped in his suave persona, his intelligence and the prospect of having a great career before him. I had visions of us owning a wonderful home together, or maybe a condo with a great view downtown, or even both. But this person has baggage…and I think I was the unfortunate handler this time around. He disappeared without even acknowledgment of what the issue was. He discontinued all lines of communication (it went from the cute, random text messages on a daily basis to blocking me online). The key takeaway: find a guy who is wiling to work on his issues for you. I’d like to modify this: “find a guy who is willing to work on his issues with you.” I’m acknowledging the fact that I have my own issues/baggage that needs to be worked on, and that we can address them together.
And now, the myths that were covered in this chapter, with some brief notes/commentary to accompany them.
Myth No. 1: “He will be perfect in every way.”
Well I think that at some point, we all realize that he/she/it will never be fully perfect and fill all the expectations we have set. The key takeaway here is to not hold each other to unattainably high expectations. You have to be willing to compromise. What’s ironic is that just recently, like as in a few days ago, I experienced this one. I was actually “put to test” to see if I would meet someone’s expectations of how we would interact with one another in a relationship. Yup, our future was boiled down to practically an algorithm based on a conversation we had–which was introduced to me in the form of a conflict. Apparently I didn’t pass the test, because after the argument subsided, I was informed that we needed to call it quits. This person needs to realize that humans are dynamic creatures. And no matter how much you try to boil them down to a finite set of behaviors based on calculated circumstances, there will always be variables (aka, humanity) that will throw off your equation.
Myth No. 2: “He will have to work hard to win my attention.”
I’m probably the opposite of this, in that I think I try too hard to give him my attention. I’m not a believer in “the game,” where you have to take specific steps to show interest and lack of interest in order to move the pieces further along the game board. Instead, I express my interest in someone…and often times, I think this is seen as being overbearing.
Myth No. 3: “He will always be romantic.”
Yeah, I know that’s not true. I remember when I was younger and perhaps less jaded. I was a hopeless romantic. I bought flowers for my dates, sent cute messages, called just to say hello, and expressed other random acts of kindness and affection. Sure, it’d be nice to find someone who is just as romantic as myself, but I need to know that not everyone has the same level of romanticism.
Myth No. 4: “He will always do the right thing.”
Well I know that I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, including those revolving around relationships. The key takeaway here is that you need to find someone who is willing to compromise. This reminds me of the said person in the first myth. The man who epitomizes that one did not want to budge on his perspective at all. I even agreed to disagree, and he was not content with that.
Myth No. 5: “We will never fight.”
I think just about every relationship I’ve been in has had a fight. And going back to the guy who recently tested me with a conflict scenario, his claim was that he wanted to see how I would react in a fight. I think his test was flawed though. We had only been talking for a matter of about 24-48 hours (granted, we once talked years before and even hung out once). But, he was trying to apply all of his theoretical knowledge of human behavior and “user testing” to relationships. He claimed that he wanted to see how I would react in a conflict–that was going to determine our level of compatibility. I think what he negated to understand was that a researcher/observer should also take these instances as an opportunity to learn about him/herself. The key takeaway here is that you should find someone who will be open and honest with you about his/her needs, wants and desires. I feel like I was open about my feelings, and he couldn’t acknowledge that. I must say, one of my exes was very, very good at this. And I appreciate how forward and direct he was, particularly in a few specific situations, although towards the end of our relationship, I think his frustration with his feelings started to deteriorate his ability to be direct with me.
So, what have I learned from this chapter? Well, I know that there are a lot of archetypes that we’ve been taught to look, and even yearn for, but that these aren’t necessarily what we want, nor need. They are, for the most part, mythical…or just not for us period. They are also constructs of expectations that we’ve been made to believe (the myths).
Up next: sabotage, sins and virtues. Should be interesting.