On dating men with “potential”

It’s hard to know where to begin. You’ve announced your intention in writing this article to be a morally reasonable one; you want, after all, to help other women make better choices than you did.

Yet the narrative reads as though men are props in a play that is essentially about you. In every vignette, you are the hero and the man plays the fool.

Allow me to share something with you: Whether they’re CEOs or alcoholics (sometimes they’re both), men are human beings, not props.

To fully appreciate this, imagine that this article were written by a man, a man who delivered the following message to younger men:

Avoid those women who seem interesting, but aren’t; disregard those females who seem caring, but are really just covert narcissists; eschew women who cannot simultaneously cook and recite Homer; and avoid potential female partners who haven’t learned how to deliver you the fantasy you have been socialized to expect.

If a man had written such an article, we all know what the prevailing response would be. The author would be attacked for reducing these (female) human beings to caricatures, to props deprived of the opportunity to speak for themselves. And the prevailing response, I’m afraid, would be bang on.

That brings me to my final point:

To authentically decide to avoid certain types of partners, that choice must be made from the inside.

Why is that so? Well, the difficult work of determining whether a particular person will treat one’s heart with kindness and compassion cannot be handled by a third-party.

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