When I wrote What I Wish I Knew About Life and Finances in My 20s, one of my readers, American Debt Project, asked me what exactly I meant when I wrote “if you want to marry wisely, marry your equal.”
I emphasized that when I say about marrying your equal, I do not refer to a social status or a paycheck. Equal to me means anything but status. Money, a big house, a sporty car, a big savings account does not make you equal.
When I met Beaker, he was a broke warehouse worker, and I was starting my career in finance. I was making more, I could afford more than him. But it did not matter to me because the first time we had a conversation, I got interested. He made me laugh, he made me a cup of great coffee, and he knew stuff I never heard about. Oh, and he wore glasses. I have to admit that I like men in glasses. Even though Beaker was not wearing glasses from Glasses.com, his still looked decent.
My friends were telling me that I was lowering my standards going out with a guy who worked in a warehouse. In their minds, independent women need to be with guys who can “provide.”
With age people tend to look at relationships differently. My own views on men definitely evolved. A paycheck never mattered to me. I could “provide” for myself. I wanted an equal partner who could share my life and dreams, who wanted the same things.
When I was young and naive I chose guys with:
Good looks. Let’s be honest. Good looks mattered to me. I did not pay attention to short, fat, pimply or geeky looking guys. I, probably, missed out on some great guys because I used to judge men by their looks.
Confidence. I mistook arrogance for confidence. Quite a lot.
Laid back attitude. Relaxed and laid back is so opposite of me.
Sex appeal. So what if a guy could not keep up with a conversation about Dreiser?
Unpredictability. In other words, bad boys.
What an Equal Partner Means (for me)
I want to believe that with age we get wiser. If not wiser, at least a little bit more observant, analytical and logical. Maybe even pragmatic.
When I was dating, one of the things I used to asked myself was how I felt with him when we were sitting in silence? Did I feel uncomfortable because a feeling of ambiguity was hovering over us? Did I try to fill in the silence with nonessential words, empty phrases because our silence was deafening? Or did I feel content, calm and relaxed? Silence with the right person is liberating not constricting.
Your equal partner is someone who:
- Has same values, same goals, shares with you same plans and dreams.
- Knows things that you don’t.
- Is confident in his/her own skin.
- Has better qualities than yours.
- Doesn’t care who makes more money in the relationship.
- Makes you laugh hard because he/she is funny and not stupid.
- Knows what communication really means.
- Lets you be yourself and does not attempt to change you. Even a little.
- Can have long conversations with you, and neither of you get bored.
- Never plans for divorce.
- Passes the silence test with flying colors.
I can go on and on, but I will stop here.
What does an equal partner mean to you?