Advice for women: how to find and marry Mr Right - step 1

Do you imagine your Mr Right being the kind of man who prefers to wear the trousers in the relationship, or do you imagine him being a man who would really rather you wear the trousers? Or perhaps what you want is a man who wants a strictly equal relationship. Or perhaps you think romantic relationships of any kind are irrational, and that you would never want to be married, let alone in an old-fashioned fully-committed sexually and socially exclusive permanent marriage.

Whatever you think you want, check very carefully that your feelings are in accord with your ideas. Spending your life fighting your feelings will hinder or perhaps even prevent you making progress in your chosen field, research, goals, ambitions, career or whatever you think is important.

Many women either disapprove of relationships entirely or they think they want a strictly equal partnership because that is the correct, acceptable thing to want. But deep beneath the surface, and much to their distress if they become consciously aware of it, their heart wants a hero, or a man who will love, protect and take care of them. They may well have a very low opinion of women who would want their man to be in charge; they may even be part of the faculty on a thoroughly feminist Women's Studies program—and yet if they ever allow themselves to feel the feelings underneath the rational intellectual arguments, they discover that what their heart wants is something unacceptable to them. They want to be in a relationship in which the man wears the trousers.

For some women, this inner desire is so unacceptable that they never marry and never quite feel fulfilled; others have a string of failed marriages and a lot of unhappiness. So the first step to finding your Mr Right is to check carefully that what you think you want is in accord with your feelings. And your feelings may well be buried deep beneath your rational intellectual ideas about what you should want. So first allow yourself to feel without judgement. What do you respond to, sexually? What does your silly, irrational, inconvenient heart yearn for? Examine those feelings you feel ashamed of—the ones you are striving not to have. Consider the possibility that your theories about those feelings might be mistaken.

No matter how good your intellectual arguments against monogamy or for strict equality may be, if you are suppressing feelings, needs and what you respond to sexually because these things are at odds with your explicit ideas, the chance of achieving a happy marriage or indeed a happy, productive life more generally is small. Instead of burying your feelings, bravely face them, and accept them and enjoy them, and find a man who fits those feelings rather than going with what you think intellectually you should want.

If you are a woman who is intellectually appalled by the idea of a woman wanting her man to wear the trousers in the relationship, but there is a little part of you that is strangely attracted to that idea, you may be thinking that you can't be that kind of woman and simultaneously be the powerful, intellectual, successful and strong-minded woman of substance that you are or are striving to be.

Actually, you can easily be both those things, as you will see if you read this site. Wanting to be in a relationship with a man who wears the trousers does not mean you have to go soft, or be submissive, or become a Stepford wife, or stop pursuing your career, or your dreams or ambitions. In fact, if anything the opposite is true.

Once you stop fighting your feelings and find the right man, you will find that you feel more yourself, more autonomous, more creative, more intellectually engaged, more alive, and more able to pursue what you want to pursue, because now you will be at peace. And now you will have the love and support of a man who sees the deepest, most private part of your personality and loves you for—not despite—that core part of your being. The right man will also love your brilliant intellect, your strength, and your single-minded pursuit of your ideas, your goals and your ambitions. You do not have to diminish yourself or give up anything, just as you would not want the man you love to give up anything to be loved by you.

To find the right man, first listen to your feelings and what you respond to sexually, and worry about whether there is a meeting of minds intellectually later. If you are sexually and emotionally drawn to the idea of a man lovingly in charge, don't reject a take-charge man just because his intellectual ideas are not in accord with yours. And don't reject yourself either because you think there is a conflict between what your heart wants, and your career as a professor of women's studies, or a social worker, or a CEO, or a police officer, or a rational philosopher or whatever.

What you think is a glaring conflict is no such thing. Being drawn to or excited by the idea of a relationship in which the man wears the trousers does not make you any less of a person than those not drawn to that idea. Nor does being in such a relationship make your intellectual ideas mistaken. Perhaps it is true that at some more rational time in history, none of us will feel drawn to the idea of anyone wearing the trousers in relationships. Perhaps it is true that we will no longer want sexually and socially exclusive monogamous marriages. It may very well be true that things will be very very different in a more rational future.

The trouble is that the future is not here yet, and your feelings are what they are. And whilst feelings can and do change, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to change your feelings by an act of will. People strive for decades to change their feelings and sexual preferences, and fail. It is just not that easy. And spending half your life fighting yourself is stressful and it takes time and energy and creativity that you could better use for something more productive. So instead of fighting yourself, allow yourself to indulge those allegedly irrational, unacceptable feelings and needs with a man who is in accord with them, so that you will be better able to focus on whatever matters to you intellectually or in terms of your career or other goals.

If you want a happy marriage, it is vital that you take into account those pesky feelings and sexual responses, and find a man who fits with those. When it comes to relationships, the personalities and feelings and what draws each person sexually matter more than intellectual agreement. You can agree intellectually and have zero sexual chemistry or emotional draw; you can disagree intellectually and yet be strongly drawn to one another, feel fantastic about each other for a lifetime, and be more able to pursue your individual goals, including intellectual ones, together than if you were not together.

The Editor

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Excellent advice.

Thank you so much for this important and insightful article. It's a good reminder that we all need to use both heart and head in choosing our life's path.

Some good advice I saw recently:
"Follow your heart, and be sure to bring your brain along."

Our feelings help us to know what we really want in life, and the mind or intellect helps us understand how to navigate the circumstances of reality in order to get what the heart wants. Too often people get those confused, and they let their minds dictate what they should want (not the job of the intellect), or else they do the converse and allow their understanding and judgment of reality and the circumstances they are in to be clouded by their emotions.

The heart and the mind as two separate faculties each have their own role in navigating life—the first one telling us about the inner world of the psyche and the other one telling us about the outer world of objective reality. It requires some degree of awareness and vigilance to use both faculties appropriately, and not to get them mixed up.

Well said

It isn't just up to a man to take action on what he says. If a woman wants a taken in hand relationship, she too much take action on it. Self honesty is key... and then gathering the courage to practice "To Thyne Own Self Be True." A taken in hand relationship will not survive dishonesty or inactive participation. Such a relationship cannot survive such emotional unavailability. Our modern society has taken liberties with and skewed biological primordia, favoring "I think, therefore I am." Religiously, secularly, via media hype, surrounded by fear. To step out of the chaos and embrace my own boundaries, and thus allow creation of "who I am," my identity, I find myself helpless to fight my instincts. To allow "I feel, therefore I be." After all my life being told "You feel too much. Stop that and start thinking. Feelings are not valid." There is such freedom in surrender. Much more freedom in surrender, in acknowledging and validating for myself how I really feel and what I really need, than in control and manipulation and coersion trying to "get what I want." I'm glad I am a taken in hand woman, even singularly at the moment. I'm glad I don't have to agree to be what "society" says is appropriate anymore. I'm glad I get to be me, finally.

This is not to say that I just allow my feelings for anyone to just be an open book the minute I meet "him." On the contrary. But I do not shut off my feelings of wanting a man to be IN control in my life. I revel in those feelings, and use those feelings as a beacon to finding the right man for me. If those feelings are not being met, then the man in consideration is left behind. If no emotional attachment is allowed until a man proves his intentions, then there is no pain to endure when he proves unacceptable. But I allow myself to be emotionally attached to my needs. That is healthy. Not necessarily my wants, that is irrelevant. But my needs must be met in a relationship, and I finally, in the prime of my life, get to give myself permission to insist on my needs being met. If a man cannot meet them, then I'm better off alone and meeting my needs in healthy ways, saving myself for the man who can, on his own and without my interference, meet my needs. I never want to be in another relationship again where I have to continually repeat myself, nag, beg, criticize, or otherwise manipulate or control or coerce in efforts to get my needs met. That's just too much work.

Applies to guys too

This applies to guys too. Know what you want and go for that. Don't go after what you think you should want, or what your mates think guys should want—that's a bunch of shit.

What a wonderful post

I am passing this on to a close friend. She is young and is searching within herself for what she really wants in life but has been ashamed of what she feels due to the influence of feminism in the world today. Hope this helps.

Looking forward to the second installment.