Saturday 21 March 2015

Good Mental Habits

It's Seraphic Singles Saturday, and I have just read a wonderful email from a long-term reader who has met the Perfect Man for Her. She gives me part of the credit, which is really nice of her. One of the great comforts of my nulliparous life  is contemplating the number of marriages and babies I helped to bring about just by blogging from my home.

Here are the things I recommended that helped her find the Perfect Man for Her:

1. Giving a man a second or third chance even if initially there are no great fireworks. When I met X, I was not looking for someone to date and although he seemed nice, very friendly, and a happy person, I thought he was (superficial, I know!) too Y for me. On the first date, our conversation was okay, but nothing very special, I went out a second time and his kindness and gentlemanly behaviour entranced me, and by the third date I was smitten! Now I never think of Y. 

2. Listening to men when they talk about themselves. This probably applies more to filtering the bad men out, which is a skill I really had to learn - I used to believe all sorts of stories and not heed certain communiques from men. Once I actually started listening to what they were saying instead of building romantic stories in my head (usually ones where I would rescue them from something), I very quickly realized they often DO mean what they say, particularly when they say "I'm really not looking for a relationship".

3. Appreciating the good men around me. For a while I didn't think they existed or that they all had to be boring, and then I started trying to note in my gratitude journal instances when a man was nice/good (even if it was just a kind cashier or bus driver) and I realized there were so many! I told X that I wouldn't have appreciated his solid character a few years ago, and it's true, I was generally falling for the bad guys with complicated stories. But the daily exercise in appreciating character and goodness helped me quickly realize his true worth!
To be honest, I don't remember anything about a gratitude journal, although I have recommended writing down all your cynical thoughts about men and then writing the exact opposite. Therefore, I will not take credit for that. But I think it is a GENIUS idea. GENIUS! I would recommend it to Single men, too, to keep about women who are nice/good--even if she is just a kind cashier or a bus driver!

When I was a teenager, I was sometimes tempted by a book advertised in the back of Seventeen magazine that was all about "How to Make Boys Like You." I never ordered it, but I always wondered what it said. If I were to write such a book, number one would be that to "make" boys like you, you must LIKE boys. And when I say "like", I don't mean finding them sexually attractive. The vast majority of you girls will find at least a few boys sexually attractive; that's a given. But in order to be attractive to normal, healthy, happy men, you must actually be the kind of woman who likes men as people.

You have to get over being frightened of them, and so give the well-behaved of the friendly ones--i.e. the ones actually interested in beautiful you--the benefit of a second date. You have to listen to them with as much attention as you listen to women, so as to learn who they really are. And sometimes you have to learn to appreciate the good ones for their good, human qualities, not think "Argh, boring, I deserve a man with a motorcycle and a dangerous past."

As for men, I am suddenly reminded of the Health Club Killer who kept a diary in which he obsessively complained about women. He got himself into such a welter of hate that when he finally met a woman who was kind to him, he blocked her out. It is possible that he drove himself insane with his negative thoughts, and it is also possible that he could have become a decent, normal man had he kept a "gratitude journal" instead.

What a wonderful world if, instead of complaining about all the social slings and arrows, young men and women jotted down every time a member of the opposite sex, from age 3 to 93, said or did something kind for them. This would help them appreciate and attract KIND people instead of getting trapped in their own fantasies about external stuff.

The biggest revolution in my own life was training myself to appreciate men for being, not intelligent or well-educated, but KIND. And once I did that, someone I began to attract kind men who were ALSO intelligent and well-educated, and now I am married to B.A., the kindest man I know.  


  1. Those tips are super legit. I myself need to be reminded of number 3 these days. I've been encountering some very intense men these days, one of whom is a slightly crazed SSPX young man who really mustn't realise how he sounds to women!

    BUT! I know far more good guys than troubled guys.

  2. Michelle (Long-time reader/lurker)21 March 2015 at 18:41

    Does it really have to be three dates, Seraphic? What if by date #2 you realize that he's far older than you'd realized (at least 10 years) and that whereas you're not really looking for anything besides friendship, he's intensely pursuing you in a seemingly-romantic way? And what do you do if this is basically your first experience with dating? I'm not trying to sound flippant, but actually asking this rather desperately. Just about on the verge of emailing you for advice after poring over the Seraphic Singles archives! Does one have to keep giving apparently-decent-good-and-kind-Catholci men chances to impress them when one fears leading them on and really has no interest beyond being kind?

  3. I think sending me an email is the best way forward. There is nothing wrong with older men, per se, unless they out-and-out lie about how old they are, or they are patronizing, or they are looking for an unpaid nurse. Meanwhile, any man who risks dating a woman ten years his junior is not going to be knocked senseless if, after the second date, she tells him she's just not interested in him that way. Nobody should ever go on a date with someone to "be kind", by the way. You go for coffee because it's just coffee, and you go on Date 2 because almost nobody is at their best on Date 1. Date 3 is just to confirm your feelings from Date 2. Giving a man just two or three days (especially if he is so much older) is NOT leading a man on. It's giving him a chance.

  4. I would add that you should really only give a guy 3 dates if you feel you actually like his company, if no attraction yet. I talked myself into a date with someone I found completely dull because I thought it would be kind, train him to have more confidence, I should give him a chance, etc., and then spent the whole week leading up to the date desperately wishing it were over already. It's not the best attitude to have going in.

  5. Yes, I agree with Stellamaris. When I say "3 Dates", I mean with a guy who is a nice guy, funny, would make a great friend, but you just can't see him (after Date 1) as your boyfriend or eventual husband. I think all great Catholic guys--who would make awesome friends if not, you know, deserve three dates.

    Meanwhile, I don't think any guy deserves a pity date. Okay, coffee. I think any Single Catholic guy who is not actually a jerk or a lunatic and has the courage to ask a girl out for coffee should be honoured with your attention for the duration of one coffee. It's just a coffee!


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