How To Get The Man of Your Dreams

how to get the man of your dreamsRelationships have never been easy to navigate. In our highly sexualised culture, which insists on putting the self before others, they have become even more complicated. On top of this, most of the media push perspectives on relationships that are neither sincere nor fulfilling. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, she could read Jonathan Doyle’s book, How to Get the Man of Your Dreams, in which the Australian teacher turned author and motivational speaker calls on his experience and research to offer young women practical answers. It seems like a big promise and I had my doubts, so I pitched Mr Doyle some tough questions. He fielded every one.

You say to girls that “you’ll get the man you think that you deserve”. What do you say to a girl who is convinced that she does not deserve a good man because of the way she’s lived her life so far?

The older I get the more I am convinced that our outcomes in life have a great deal to do with the stories we tell ourselves about how things are. Hitting your thumb with a hammer is an objective reality. What you think you deserve in life is subjective and it can be shifted.

In essence, the girl you are describing is living with a toxic belief system that will cause self-fulfilling prophecies. I think the answer for anyone in this situation is to reach out for real help and access options like cognitive behavioural therapy from a professional who can begin to identify and help shift these patterns.

The other way to create change for this girl would be to gradually have a series of better experiences over time. We sustain our view of the world by experiences that reinforce or contradict it. Opening herself, safely, over time, to the ability to trust a good man may also help to change the negative associations of the past. There are good men out there.

There are many girls who are dating guys they love, but they also know that they deserve to be treated with more respect. What would your advice to them be? Stay in the relationship and try to help their boyfriend? End the relationship as it’s unlikely that he will change? Or try a break until he can respect her?

End the relationship. It’s simple. A girl’s job is not to change the boyfriend. It’s a recipe for exhaustion and conflict. He will resent it and sooner or later become angry and resistant. Also, a guy that does not respect her has years of work ahead of him to become a better man and that is work that he may not even attempt. I don’t want to paint too bleak a picture but a central message of the book is that there are fewer fine men around. Let’s not pretend that is not true.

There is also a slight metaphysical problem with your question. Love must be based on truth. If a girl is dating a guy that she thinks she loves but he is disrespectful he is not responding to the truth of who she is. She may be in love with the idea of being in love, or maybe in love with the idea that he will change and come to his senses, but genuine human love is based on both partners understanding, at least at some level, the value and dignity of the person and responding to that with their words, actions and choices.

You explain how a man at a bar could view a woman in two possible ways: as an individual human being or as a sexual conquest. How can girls help men to see them as an individual rather than a conquest?

Modesty comes in here. Some writers, notably Wendy Shalit, have addressed this topic in detail. Modesty simply protects the value and dignity of the person and their nature as a gift to be given and received in an exclusive permanent relationship. Some cultures and faith traditions take this too far for my liking but modern secular culture has problems with it in different ways. Secular culture worships the body but reduces it to its potential value for sexual satisfaction only, while ignoring the body’s role as an icon or window into deep spiritual mysteries.

My personal opinion is that fine men find women who wear very little less attractive than those who have style, grace, class, taste and what the Polish phenomenologist Karol Wotilja called, the “feminine genius”.

There’s a difference between love and pleasure. I’ve met guys that claim they’d prefer a life of one pleasurable experience after another with different women, rather than even having to settle down with one person. Could they be happy?

It seems you are probably describing sex addiction. Men who chase serial sexual experience are, in my view, cowards. They actually lack the manly virtue of courage to be husbands and fathers. They are little boys, Peter Pans. They cannot do the hard work and heavy lifting of human love which at some level calls us to die to our selfishness.

You coin the term “man-boy” to explain the way that many males are these days (sadly). What are some clear signs that girls can look out for to know if they’re dating a man-boy as opposed to a real man?

The man-boy is pretty easy to spot. Here are a few tell-tale signs:

1.  He lives at home after about 25 years.
2.  He is frequently angry and blames others for his anger.
3.  He spends large amounts of time playing computer games.
4.  He has problems with pornography.
5.  He lies, often.
6.  He is unsure about career, marriage and fatherhood.
7.  He wants sex as soon as possible in the relationship.
8.  He has a poor or non-existent relationship with his own father.
9.  He is the centre of his own universe.
10.He has problems with alcohol or other substances.
11.He is sexually unfaithful and blames either the situation, women or alcohol for his own choices.
12.He lacks a clear and compelling life vision.

OK, so I should avoid guys like that. But what qualities should I look for? Especially if I don’t know any “good” men that I can base my ideas on?

I think you need to look for a man with a plan! I think young men need to be much more focused in getting on with their life project rather than postponing it into their late twenties and thirties. Karen (my wife) always said that life with me would never be boring. She liked that I was heading somewhere. If the guy is sitting on the couch all the time with no idea of what to do, then move on.

Other things to look for are the quality of his relationships with his father, grandfather or other significant men. A man with a strong bond with his own father, grandfather or other significant men can often have a deep sense of his own value and worth which is a good thing because he won’t try and get a woman to provide his only source of validation – that can be suffocating. That said, I don’t want to be prescriptive. Some guys buck the trend and despite painful childhoods can be fine men.

You quote St Augustine in saying that “we esteem but lightly what we gain but easily.” I have met couples in relationships that met by hooking-up at a party or bar. How does this quote apply here?

Couples who meet via hook-ups and are together long term are an anomaly. We need to remember that. We need to look for broad cultural trends because these trends have enormous economic and social ramifications. The statistics clearly demonstrate that relationships that begin with sex rarely do the hard work of deep and sustainable intimacy.

Meeting in bar is not necessarily a problem. It would not be what I hope for my own daughters but I would be unfair to say a successful relationship could not eventuate from such a meeting. However, much research tells us that the best chance of relationship success comes for people who share similar value systems and meet via family, civic or religious events or organisations.

This is all lovely stuff if I’m looking for a committed relationship, but why can’t I just have fun now and take your advice when I want to settle down later?

I guess that depends on your definition of ‘fun’! What seems to be happening to many young women seems to often leave them disillusioned and hurt.

All behaviours have consequences. It may be consequences in terms of mental health, sexual health or a deep cynicism about life. Hedonism does not have a great track record for creating healthy and happy people long-term. Our actions and choices at any point in life are not neutral. They are shaping who we become into the future.

Also, the path of slowly building a deep emotional, relational, psychological connection with another person, what we use to call romance, is a deeply human task. A one-night stand subverts the truth of our personhood on multiple levels.

You mention the threats that pornography can pose to a relationship but don’t go into depth. Why is porn incompatible with a healthy relationship?

Pornography simply strips the many layered, human and spiritual contexts of human sexuality to the base level of sexual climax and self-obsession. Professor Mary Anne Layden from the University of Pennsylvania argues that pornography operates as a curriculum for young men, as a training package. In the absence of good men and fathers, pornography fills the void of sexual discipleship and mentoring that men actually need.

Pornography harms women. It just seems to break their hearts when they discover a spouse or boyfriend is deriving sexual pleasure from horrific content involving the abuse and degradation of other women.

To finish on a better note; there are still good men around. The two-fold task is for women to know what to look for to have a true sense of their own identity, value and worth. This can happen. It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort.

Why is being alone for life better than being with the wrong person?

The book makes a clear value claim that the human person is ontologically (in its very essence) the type of thing that is made for love. Being with the wrong person means being in a relationship that can’t meet this core human need. I am not saying that every relationship will be utterly perfect, we know it will not, but the general disposition of both partners needs to be geared toward loving each other selflessly.

Also, our culture is totally messed up when it comes to basic human interpersonal relationships. It pathologizes singleness and deifies cheap sexual encounters. Go figure!

There is no crime in being single. Neither is it a disease. One Spanish poet said that the ultimate level of human existence is radical solitude. I don’t quite agree but I get their point. If you can’t do singleness well then you will struggle to do relationships well.

Tamara Rajakariar

By

Tamara Rajakariar lives in Australia and is a Journalism graduate from the University of Technology, Sydney. She worked for Sky News in Sydney for a year before taking some time off to travel. She currently works as a writer in the fashion industry. She is also one of three young women running All.u.re Workshop—all passionate about educating women on the meaning of their allure, with the message to be all-you-are. http://allureworkshop.org/

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  • JMC

    “Pathologizes singleness.” I like that. As an introvert and a single fifty-something who is still celibate, I am thoroughly sick of hearing “there’s a cure for that.” I’m also thoroughly sick of having every word one says parsed with a “sexual” outlook, and having double-entendres seen where none were intended. In some circles, even the color a girl uses on her fingernails has a sexual meaning! Enough is enough already!

  • James H, London

    “What do you say to a girl who is convinced that she does not deserve a good man because of the way she’s lived her life so far?”

    OK, I’m going to say it: She may well be right! Which is why, girls should not stack the odds against themselves by following the feminist agitprop, at all, ever. There are women who have played around, accumulated damage to their hearts, souls and appearance through looking for a good time, and expect the man of their dreams to sweep her off her feet, just because she’s tired of fooling around, and wants a family before it’s too late. To make it worse, if she’s been told all her life how Worth It she is, and fed herself a steady diet of Twilight, Mills & Boon and Sex and the City, she won’t be attracted by any but the most dominant, successful men, who have a great many better options than herself.

    For all you 20something ladies – don’t do it!

  • Maud

    Thank you for saying this.

  • John Bush

    Amen and God
    bless you! I like the vocational term “single in Christ” and feel
    that we need to promote this vocation as vigorously as we promote consecrated religious
    and married vocations. Through a life lived in Christ and through the
    evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, the single person
    contributes enormously to the Body of Christ in ways that are different from
    consecrated religious and married
    persons; but just as necessary. For those like myself who have been called to a
    vocation of marriage, chastity means living a unique complementary
    sexual life of life-giving love ordered
    as reflection of the Trinity and of Jesus Christ and the Church as recorded by
    St. Paul. This is indeed a beautiful thing for those called to a vocation of
    marriage; but as we know from the gospel and from St. Paul, this is not the
    highest state of chastity in life – celibacy is, and those who are single in
    Christ share this with those who are called to a vocation of consecrated
    religious life! While single persons live a life of chastity that parallels
    members of the Church who are consecrated religious, their daily labors more
    closely parallel those members who are married, and it is through these labors
    that they can further the Kingdom in ways not typically afforded persons in
    consecrated religious or married vocations. Since they do not have to care for
    a spouse and children, they can dedicate more effort at their profession, often
    achieving greater levels of professional success. Properly ordered and offered
    to God, this is a good thing! They can also dedicate more of their time,
    talents and treasure directly to the Church in ways typically unavailable to
    consecrated religious and married persons. Also a good thing! At the end of the
    day we all need to discern God’s will for us, whether it be living a
    consecrated religious, married, or single life in Christ. The beauty of the
    single vocation has been illuminated by notable saints like St. Jose Maria
    Escriva, and I hope that this continues. Thank you again for your comment!

  • chaco

    OK, I’m going to say it: “The cup is 1/2 full – not 1/2 empty !” [We're instructed to have this perspective; "...take courage, I have overcome the world." (Jn 16: 33). ] Those who start later in the day get the same pay as those who started earlier (see Mt 20: 1-15). [This is fair because working in the Lord's vinyard is a reward in itself.] Also, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they will become white as snow.” (Isaiah 1: 18). And we can’t forget; “I will make up for the years that the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2: 25). The PAST CAN BE OBLITERATED if we have the right “Tools” (Grace/ Sacraments). Not to say that it’s “A Piece Of Cake”, although “Drowning” in the healing of Amazing Grace is SWEEeet !(see 2 Cor. 7: 10) ; It took me until my mid 40s to finally “Get a Handle” on how to distinguish between love for my wife & love for sisters in Christ. I use an acronymn as a quick tool to keep a Godly perspective; E.P.L.S. It sounds like apples which reminds me of Garden of Eden temptation whenever I feel excitement from a lady other than my wife. It stands for E ternal – P eace – & – L ove – S ister. To fan the flames of marital love I recall how it mirrors Jesus love for His bride the Church.

  • Lonelyandunloved

    I married a man thinking he was a christian. I had been introduced to him at church…we were both protestant at the time. We had both been married before and had children. I never really dated him very long before he “pressured” me into marrying him…telling me if I loved him then marry him or he was leaving me. I told him I felt we should get to know each other more because I’d already had several failed relationships/marriages and wanted to make sure we would last. In the end, out of fear of being alone I married him and that was almost 20 years ago.

    Ladies, I cant stress enough to you that if a man is pressuring you to do anything it is probably because he knows he’s selfish and isnt putting you first and knows he’s not who he’s pretending to be…so run! He has always been very controlling and refuses to follow a budget so we stay in debt..even though he has a good paying job. He has all but four of the attributes listed above in the list of 12. We were over forty when we met so I should’ve known better but because of the other failed relationships, I was to afraid that I might be losing a good man since I’d met him at a church, through friends…unlike the others. We have a child together and life has been so hard….from the youngest age our son has asked me why his dad never shows him any love….never takes time to hug him or play ball, etc., with him…or just give him a hug….I try to make up for his lack of caring towards both of us but it is so hard sometimes as I have been so depressed for years.

    You see, I converted to Catholicism a few years into our marriage…and my husband followed me back (where he was actually raised) into the church but his heart has never been into it. I’ve caught him a number of times (so has our son) looking at pornography and yet, he’s seldom touched me since I had our son. It’s been a sad, depressing marriage for me and I feel I’m to old to start over and/or would God even want me to try? I havent worked in years….husband insisted I stay home with our son and homeschool him. It’s a lonely life…I feel as if I’m just a maid for him. He goes to work and comes home and everything else is up to me as far as finding a way to do any home repair/maintenance…he doesnt care about things like that and I do all the cooking, laundry, etc….I wouldnt mind so much if I felt loved and cared about but I feel so much loneliness every day that I can hardly go on. I ofen wonder what I’ll do once our teenage son finally leaves home…and I wonder what kind of husband and father he’ll make now, not having a good role model for a father. My husband actually treats our son like he hates him…the same way he treats me.

    Make sure you know your guy well before marrying…you dont want to end up like me and, if you’re reading this still, please say some prayers for us. Thanks and God bless.

  • chaco

    I sure will pray for ya’ll sis. You’ve got me thinking about Hallie Lord’s pieces, recently posted here; She shared how learning that God’s covenant with His people is the Archetype/ design of what marriage is to be. She pointed this out to show how God’s people straying from the covenant was akin to spouses giving up or giving in to discouragement. She shared how the “ME” must decrease in order for the “US” to increase. [ I compared it to the pupil of an eye enlarging to allow light in, being like the initial infatuation of romance. Then, the pupil getting smaller being like our foregoing our own selfishness & self pity to focus on what "WE" are as a couple.] I know it’s easier said than done (I just finished a bitter exchange with my wife about helping her hang pictures instead of typing this to you). But, as Aristotle said; “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”; The more we look on the bright side and incorporate acts of selfless kindness into our marriage, the more we can experience the love God has for His Church. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have some pictures to hang.

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