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by Jennifer Brown Banks

The Perfect Man
(And The Trade-Off)

Relationship gurus often say that women do themselves a great disservice by searching for the “perfect man,” saying that he doesn’t exist. I beg to differ!

The problem? For most of us women, “The Perfect Man” would be a composite of all the good qualities in guys that we’ve loved in the past, in varying degrees and combinations!


Am I right? But for the sake of explanation, I’ll give an example of who he would be for me, using some well-known public figures and household names.

Jen's Perfect Man:
A Romantic "Wish List"

My perfect man would have the sex appeal of Keanu Reeves. The sense of passion and purpose of Nelson Mandela; the sense of humor and sense of family as Bernie Mac; the warmth of Tony Danza; the empathy and integrity of Dr. Phil; the intellect of Anderson Cooper, the spirituality of Joel Osteen, and the body of bad-boy rapper 50 cent!

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Actually, I’ve found the “perfect man” in bits and pieces of men I’ve met, loved, and in some cases, lost in my life. But never in dosages substantial enough to be just what the doctor ordered.

What I am finding, though (and you will too), is there’s always a trade-off! Life is constantly forcing us to choose. There’s a constant battle of heart against mind; a reckoning of what feels good to us vs. what really “is” good for us. And there are many gray areas. You get some of the criteria you want, coupled with traits you could live without! Life is constantly forcing us to choose.

Should we stay with the guy who’s amazing in bed, but has the emotional maturity of an adolescent? Should we opt for love over financial security? Should we give ultimatums or go with the flow?

Should we wait for that “free spirit” to one day grow up and be grounded? Should we gamble on a guy whose longest relationship has been with his cell phone contract? Should we pray for a mate or pray about the one that’s making us crazy? The trade-off always rears its ugly head. Life is constantly forcing us to choose.

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning, faced with this exact thing. She’s met this wonderful guy. He’s caring and compassionate. He makes her feel cherished. They’re compatible in many areas... except one. He doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Even so, she’s decided to stay. She’s willing to sacrifice her physical needs for her emotional ones. It's a tough call for most.

In a “perfect world” things wouldn’t be so difficult. We’d have the option of choosing preferences in a potential partner like we would amenities in a car, or features of a new home, or meals in a restaurant. And there is, to some extent a degree of choice.

But unfortunately people come to us in relationships in “as is” condition with very few negotiables. And I’ve discovered to my regret, and through trial and error, that “if it don’t fit, you shouldn’t force it!”

That’s why it’s so important to do a little soul searching before searching for a soul mate. That’s why it’s so important to recognize that for every gain there will likely be a sacrifice.

What matters most to you in a mate? What are you willing to compromise? Are your expectations realistic? Will you even recognize what you want when you find it?

Here are a few other things to consider in your quest for the right mate:

» Our needs change in different stages of our lives. Be willing to consider that what was right for you in the past, may not work for you today, depending on where you are in your life now. Is your biological clock ticking? Are you less concerned about looks and more about substance? Should he be goal oriented? Settled? Ask yourself the tough questions.

» Do you have the qualities that you are seeking in someone else? One of the best ways to find what you want is to also offer it yourself. It’s a form of equal yoking.

» Don’t settle. Ultimately it causes bitterness and a sense of dissatisfaction and longing.

What ever you decide, never trade your happiness, essence, and individuality just to be coupled up with someone. Remember that two halves does not a whole make!

And we are the sum total of our choices.

What’s your take on this topic?
Send me your thoughts at

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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