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Relationships: An open letter to Women


‘Now that I’m with her I feel like I don’t have enough time left on earth with her’ – this is what women want to hear. So where’s it going wrong?

I find it disheartening when great women make, in my eyes, the same mistakes with guys. This post is an honest recounting of these observations I’ve seen over the last twenty years. Hopefully this and my ten points on what to do will assist you to find and stand in your power.

Firstly, my deepest sympathies go out to women with the drivel they have to deal with on a daily basis from ‘so called men’.

Let’s be honest about them though, these are boys – not men.

Time to be real

This needs to be said.

Stop. Trying. So. Hard.

Half of marriages end in divorce in South Africa. So essentially you are running towards a building that could explode. What is the rush? Perhaps it’s time everyone took a time out to think about what they really want and whether what they are doing is working for them; because clearly the standardised framework of relationships is not working for most.

Being with someone because the idea of them feels great is not the same as being with them because it is great.

It’s a very interesting position to write from because I’m 37 and single. Timing just hasn’t been on my side, this year being an example of that when the crème of the crop moved to France three months after we connected. That being said it’s not as though I’m looking to rush into marriage either with the first woman that seems like she could be ‘the one’; something most people close to me felt I embodied in my twenties.

‘No really! THIS is the woman for me’ – fast forward a couple of months… you get the picture.

I get it. When we want something so badly, we focus on all the amazing aspects of a person instead of taking the time to see if they are compatible. Sound selfish? Just ask one of the divorcees what they would have done differently. That’s why we date. It takes time (for most of us) to really get a feeling of whether this person is going to be supportive during tough times and someone we can laugh with every day. Encapsulate all the qualities of human being we can be 100% vulnerable with. It’s easy to be with someone when times are great and laughs abound. Find someone that can hold a safe space for you.

Hollywood has played a part

The worst thing we can do is live our lives based on what movies show us. It’s not real – just like fairy tales don’t share what happens once the prince saves the princess; so too are movies providing false expectations of what love in the real world exemplifies.

Same goes for magazines.

Stop. Reading them. Please.

Especially the parts that say (and I just googled Cosmopolitan right now to see what their latest cover says)

“The Hot secret to love that lasts!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, they actually had 11 exclamation marks on the cover that you can see and OH BOY how clever of them to unearth the hot secret we never discovered all these years) Next: ‘Boys Toys! How to charm the pants off him” – Why not “How to be authentic to find your gem”

Here’s the thing about both those cover stories. It’s generic. It’s (just as the men’s versions are too by the way) backwards to think that these ‘secrets’ they’re unearthing are actually going to work for you. I’m sure there are exceptions here but for the most part, I highly doubt they do – unless you are looking for a casual hook up, but that’s a separate issue altogether.

As a self-respecting guy who knows his worth here’s a novel idea: why not be exactly who you are and chat to me? Let go of any attachment to the outcome and have fun. I’m sure the rank assholes will turn the conversation to ‘your place or mine’ pretty quickly in which case – hit the eject button. If you ever think ‘but maybe he’ll be different with me’ I can recommend a good island you should probably go live on by yourself.

Why start off playing games and pretending to be something you are not because a magazine said so? Wouldn’t you rather find out in six days that I wasn’t in love with the real you than in six months of the magazine you? Why would you want to waste your time?

I’ve had ten failed relationships. Some ended amicably; some broke my heart; one claimed I ruined her life when I ended it only to meet her, now husband, two weeks later and move in with him two weeks after that. True story. If they were the right ones we’d still be together. I hold no malice for any of them. Just plenty of lessons I learned along the way which helped sculpt me into the man you see today.

A couple years back a close friend gave me some advice “Andrew, your problem is you reveal too much of yourself too soon. You gotta play the game and hold some stuff back bro”

The very fact that the word ‘game’ was in that sentence meant that I ignored everything he told me. I don’t believe that at all or really see how holding stuff back is going to make things better? It’s much easier just playing the role of Andrew Mark Patterson

Where does it go so wrong?

So here are a couple of pointers I’d like to share with women.

This is a very good place to start. Two scenarios with the same outcome you tell me which one you prefer:

  1. You sleep with him and you felt such a deep connection and he said all the right things. You never hear from him again.

  2. You tell him you’re incredibly attracted to him but you want to wait. You never hear from him again.

Yes I can safely say sometimes that initial attraction is insanely strong but trust me – the right guy won’t have a problem waiting. There’s nothing wrong with sleeping with him if you are happy to never hear from him again, but Your self worth does not come from between your legs; it comes from your heart. The right guys know this.

The benefit of just waiting it out and not jumping into bed first chance you get, is that the more time goes on the more you will see the integrity and good qualities are genuine. You can fake that over a weekend but not over a couple of months. If he can’t make plans to see you with his friends he has no intention of dating you. Seeing who someone surrounds themselves with is a big indicator (for men too by the way) of the type of person they are. They say we are the sum total of the five people we spend time with. Perhaps a good start is asking him who those five people are in his life.

A real man will know how to respect you; opening doors, find out how your day was with the genuine intent to hear the answer; arrange a date out at a restaurant (doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it’s not McDonalds), will phone you (not just Whatsapp). They may even ask you subtle questions to understand what your favourite colours are to buy you flowers with that information. See what your favourite food is and perhaps attempt to cook you that meal.

Before you think I’m bashing women go read my post ‘Men – start leading by example’. I genuinely want the best for women and, from a young age I wanted to be an example of what guys could be, somehow I think it will take men longer to change their behaviour than it will women; if I could erase men’s memories and replace them with new ones a la ‘Men in Black’ style I would.

What does your behaviour say?

I often come across woman – friends or otherwise – that find validation from guys by sleeping with them. Or at least that’s how it’s coming across to me. Stop that. It’s never going to make you feel good about yourself. Perhaps the problem is not the guys you are meeting, but the image you project by the way you behave.

You say all the nice guys are married or taken? I say all the nice guys are in places looking for women who know their self-worth. Your looks might attract the right guy – but who you are as a person is what’s going to keep him.

I always get asked the ‘how come you still single’ question as a look of bewilderment comes across their face. I think my wife is playing the world’s most insane game of hide and seek. Seriously though, is it so hard to believe that I haven’t met the right women yet? Or that I have and timing dictates I wait a little longer?

My question is: What makes being involved a case to be happier than being single? Shouldn’t we just enjoy whatever phase we’re in and when you meet that someone won’t it be that much more special? Like being wrapped in caution tape on the dance floor? NOBODY… I feel strongly about this so let me repeat that… NOBODY should complete you. You need to be whole to meet someone.

The worst thing that happened to our society is the age of instant gratification. We’ve lost the art of building meaningful relationships. Take pride in building something over time. Be prepared to put in the work; can you really appreciate anything that just falls in your lap? Maybe if you’ve experienced the bad previously, probably.

For me, the very fact that I am 37 and I haven’t married yet is a blessing, because I know when I feel it, and I did this year, you don’t question anything it’s just ‘there’. One of my best friends lives in the States and he married a wonderful woman from South Dakota and he said to me after waiting about 36 years too – ‘now that I’m with her I feel like I don’t have enough time left on earth with her’

Think about that – how incredibly beautiful the last thirteen words are.

If I perhaps haven’t been clear above let me recap what you should do to find the right guy for you:

  1. Be authentic and don’t play games

  2. Nothing is sexier than a self-assured confident woman (doesn’t mean outgoing – means she knows what she wants)

  3. Your looks might attract in the beginning – but who you are is what will keep us

  4. Forget what beauty magazines tell you. Talk to me and discover what I like and want. I’m not generic.

  5. There is no formula

  6. Know your self worth and don’t settle for less, it comes from your heart.

  7. Be whole before you look for a partner – the whole ‘you complete me’ is rubbish. Complete woman find complete men

  8. Just because you had one bad experience with a guy don’t paint us all with the same brush. Learn from that experience to recognise those behaviours.

  9. Sometimes good people are not good together. If you have to force it walk away.

  10. He should celebrate you and encourage you to be the best you can be – he’s not intimidated by your strength. He’s attracted to it.

If you’d like to discuss this further – I’m more than happy to chat about it in more than 2000 words.

Are most guys assholes? Maybe… Does that mean it’s going to be harder to find the good ones? Probably, but catch the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and then hike up – see which one gives you a greater sense of accomplishment while admiring the view.

Just don’t be in such a hurry. It’s not always going to work with the good ones either. We are going to mess up but we’ll apologise, learn and try to improve. We’ll be a catalyst for change for you too. I can safely say I’ve never been with anyone with the intention to hurt them – but staying with someone you know is not right for you is a longer more cruel punishment than being honest. After all – don’t we want to end up with someone who wants to be with us? Make mistakes, it means you’re at least doing something to discover what you want and love. Sitting behind a wall expecting it to fall out of the sky isn’t the answer.

Enjoy the journey and find a guy where the fairy-tale starts when you meet.

Write your best story.


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