Every woman has a list.

The list often contains any number of criteria that a man must meet in order to be considered boyfriend/husband material. Standards tend to vary exponentially. A woman may say, “My ideal man must be 6 feet tall, partial to kittens, ambitious, Jewish, etc…” and God help him if he doesn’t like kittens.

I’m not knocking women who choose to give a detailed description of the men they wish to date. I also refuse to use this post to cite the argument that this causes women to seriously limit their dating pool. To each her own! Besides, that leaves more men for me.

I have never personally been partial to creating such lists. . .that is until I dated a few bad apples. My list is not really what I DO want so much as what I now know that I DON’T want. With that said, here is what I hope to avoid in future relationships:

1) The Clash of the (Religious) Titans . . .
During my early 20s, I, coming from an ultra Christian family, dated a devout Sunni Muslim. He was attractive, smart, kind, worldly, and understanding – at least until it came to talking about religion. He was the first man I could see myself settling down with. However, when our discussion came to family, he refused to even consider letting our (future) children attend a Christian church. Apparently, my religion was good enough for me but not for his unborn seed.

Surprisingly, I didn’t break up with him because I wanted to raise Christian children (I was 20 and kids were far from my mind). I broke up with him because this fundamental difference led to a number of other arguments. Our ideals constantly clashed throughout our one year relationship. Finally, fed up, I told him that our relationship could not continue. Men and women already occupy two different planets. Why bring the afterlife into the mix?

2) One Brady Short of a Bunch . . .
I almost didn’t write this for fear that the guy I’m referring to may one day read it. Oh well, full disclosure…

My college boyfriend was a sweetheart. He was also fun to be around and had a killer body. But I wasn’t always excited to take him on group dates. There’s nothing quite like that awkward moment when your significant other asks an airhead question or makes a less-than-astute observation in front of your witty college friends. Because I loved his personality (and other attributes *wink wink*), I put up with the constant public embarrassment for almost two years. I finally ended it when I realized that I was wearing the pants in our relationship. I wasn’t allowing him to make decisions – small or large – because I simply didn’t trust his intellect. After ending things, I realized that mental capacity should be a non-negotiable on my list. It wasn’t fair of me to carry on the relationship when I didn’t view him as my intellectual equal.

I feel like a horrible person for saying that. Speaking of horrible people . . .

3) Sounds Like a Tyler Perry Movie . . .
In my early to mid 20s, I dated a guy who had just broken up with his long-term girlfriend (or so I thought…until the “ex” became pregnant while we were dating – oops!). This man was an expert at lying to me and actually made me believe I was crazy for suspecting that he wasn’t being honest. But the fact is there were red flags throughout our entire courtship. He had a reputation for being a player and had deceived multiple women in the past. He regularly cheated on his long-term girlfriend, had an uncontrollable temper, was self indulgent, and vindictive. Although, he had done horrible things to people in the past, he was never anything but sweet to me. My naivety allowed me to think that I was different and, perhaps more stupidly, that he had changed. I should have recalled my favorite Oprah-ism: “When people show you who they are, believe them”. He showed me that his character was rotten.

I believe that bad character can be changed, but it usually takes no less than an act of God to do so. When it comes to character, I now err on the side of caution and steer clear of the asshole types.

Do you have a list? What’s on it and why?

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  • African Mami

    Lists are the work of the devil!!!!! I’m not saying you shouldn’t hold him to standards, but I’ve come to find out that lists are the work of the devil ladies!