Where are all the guys at...?? Pt 1 - For the Ladies

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how and why I decided to step up and commit to Ruth for life. I thought it would be a good thing to try and shed some light as to what is going through a guy’s mind when they decide to commit.  

This article title may have the ladies thinking that I’m about to embark upon a guy-slagging session and dub me Steve Harvey MK II and the guys may think that I’m about to sell out on my entire gender, and be readying the pitchforks (anyone seen Think Like a Man??). On both accounts, sorry to disappoint…!

What I hope you will see here is a quasi-social commentary on the question that I seem to hear most single ladies pose at dinners, at ladies get-togethers and general chit-chat where they lament the dearth of options available to them when considering serious relationships with the guys out there.

I think that the answer to this question lies in a range of considerations and I’m going to try and address the key ones (in two parts from both sides of the argument in two articles). I use the word argument intentionally as I know that this article is unlikely to bring about universal agreement. But, what I hope will happen is that one side will see the other’s side for what it is (well… fingers crossed…). Here goes:

So the general argument for this side of the fence goes as follows… I’m a young professional woman, aged 25-35, settled career path, looking to settle down, but all the guys I encounter are placed within one of 3 categories:

1 | They are nowhere near the mind-set of wanting to settle down.

2 | They are seemingly of the mind-set, but are still trying to establish themselves professionally and stabilise themselves financially.

3 | The guy is neither of the requisite mind-set to commit to a serious relationship or in a stable position career-wise or financially.

I find it baffling that so many ladies are in relationships with guys where they know there is no real prospect of a lasting relationship.

1 | The guy doesn’t have the mind-set or the means to settle down

Let’s deal with them in reverse order, start with the latter which is in my opinion the simplest. If it becomes apparent that the guy you’ve been interacting with is neither in the right place mentally/emotionally or is still trying to establish you on his radar himself then you gotta drop him like it’s hot. You are the last thing he needs right now.

You’ll do yourself a disservice if you are placing your hopes for a stable serious relationship with a guy who in many cases will be still trying to figure out who he is, talk less of trying to figure out how he fits into a complex jigsaw that meshes him with a lady.

For those of you that have persisted with a guy in this situation, I’m sure if not already, you are by now simmering with frustration, as there seems to be no direction to the relationship and even you are unsure of where “this” (assuming he put a name on what you both are) is going. Until recently, I found it baffling that there are so many ladies who are in relationships with guys where they know that there is no real prospect of a lasting relationship.

The reason why so many women persist in this scenario is because of one major flaw I have encountered in many ladies in this situation: The Messiah Complex – namely the desire or need to save the guy from the malaise that he finds himself in. NEWFLASH: It Doesn’t Work! Stop trying to change him! It is a waste of your time, trying to instil ambition, a mind-set for growth and a commitment to a relationship, talk less of trying to secure a financial future for him, when you’re already trying to do that for yourself.

If he’s not demonstrating the commitment that someone who has the right mind-set should show, and on top of that he isn’t in the position to even provide for the family that you’d like to build, then he’s clearly nowhere near where the guys are at.

2 | The guy who is committed but still a work in progress

Now on to category 2, the guy who isn’t yet set financially, but is a gentleman in every sense of the word. I think this scenario is a lot trickier as this situation requires more of an instinctive judgement about the guy you’re dealing with. For all you ladies out there who are getting ready to render TLC’s ”No Scrubs” with additional VIM, please sit down… Lol. It’s not a clear cut thing. Looking at this situation - it's often where a guy is in a position whereby he’s still figuring out things, but is devoted to you, cares for you, is the sort of guy you can see yourself building a family with, but the nagging doubt is the financial aspect of things and the guy’s career.

The reality of marriage and long term relationships is that money, alongside infidelity is the biggest cause of breakups in any relationship, and so due consideration has to be taken to this aspect. I think for me, the acid test has to be whether there is a work ethic and corresponding ambition to yours which will ensure that expectations going forward are aligned and there is no disagreement on destination points for the both of you. A really good nugget of wisdom on this I have heard on this is that you should 'make the determining factor a guy’s ambition, not his salary'. If you meet a guy on a certain salary it might be well and good as a young couple, but will that sustain your future plans for children, an expanding business portfolio, and other ventures you aspire towards if he has no intention on building on that salary in the years to come…?

I think the key thing to consider in this scenario is that the one constant in this life is change. Situationally life is in a constant state of flux, so it is best to not make decisions based on what you can see right now, but on factors which you know will have a bearing on your future position (his drive, his ambition, his work ethic). A tough gauge, but hopefully I’ve given some good directives…

You should make the determining factor a guy’s ambition, not his salary.

3 | The guy who doesn’t have the mind-set.

Now on to Category 1, the category I find that A LOT of ladies find themselves castigating the guys over. “This guy just isn’t serious” they’ll say, “too many mixed signals” is the accusation levied at the guys… And often, the case the ladies present is one that I have no defence for… Sometimes, us guys have done the indefensible and I say that knowing fully well what some of that entails *side eye* …

But before you bash us I have some two pieces of advice that will hopefully stem the flow of curses coming our direction and hopefully give you an insight in to the way a guy’s mind works:

Rule number 1: Focus on what a guy does, not what a guy says… So many ladies have become good at listening to platitudes from the guys, that you fail to take notice of what is ACTUALLY happening… It doesn’t matter that he’s told you that he’s into you but he just needs to figure out things. The narrative should be he’s so into you that he IS figuring out things. If 6 months down the line, he’s still uttering the dreaded words “let’s see how things go” then best know that he knows when the end of the movie is, and the storyline isn’t happily ever after!

If 6 months down the line, he’s still uttering the dreaded words “let’s see how things go” then best know that he knows when the end of the movie is, and the storyline isn’t happily ever after girl!

Rule number 2: You should never be the one (as a lady) forcing the issue… If you find yourself asking “what are we?” or “where are we going?” then it is clear that you are in a relationship with someone who is not thinking about that. Back in the day, if a girl asked me what we were, best know that I hadn’t thought about it properly and my gift of the gab went into overdrive, deriving the most sensual bars to placate her uneasiness. I’d be buying myself time and pushing the canoe ride further down the stream… until you hit that waterfall, where the gentle let down you’d been planning as a guy actually feels like the girl has been thrown off a cliff…  

The fact is guys are actually not that complicated. There is an evolutionary (and spiritual) imperative to how a guy pursues a woman. Guys are programmed to chase and when the hunter becomes the hunted, there can be only one outcome in relationship parlance. I referenced the spiritual imperative in passing and I want to use that to close this side of the argument. (Gents, I’ll holla at you in the next piece).

The foundation that you build your lasting relationship on is not based on ANY of the above categories. It all stems from what lies within that guy you’re considering. What is the basis of his character? Speaking from a Christian perspective, I know that in pursuing who I want to marry, it is very important that a common foundation is being established as that will dictate whether the guy you encounter will be one who will build a sustainable relationship with. The reality is that the often asked question is the wrong way round – it should be a man asking 'Where are the ladies at….?' "The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favour from the LORD." Proverbs 18:22