Reposted from GoodMenBook.org (November 18, 2009)
My mother used to pressure me to settle down. “Get married,” she pestered. In spite of this being the modern world and all, it’s still not as easy for a woman to get a husband as it is for a man to get a wife. And I don’t mean finding the “right” spouse. I mean getting someone to say “I do” before witnesses. Let’s face it, women, in general, want to get married before men do.
Granted, people overall take more precautions today before jumping over the broomstick than they did thirty or forty years ago. Just look at the median ages of first-time wedders. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1971 (when I was born), the median ages of Americans marrying for the first time was twenty-three for men and twenty-one for women. Thirty years later–when Mom really started bugging me–the median ages were twenty-seven and twenty-five. I’m sure those ages would be even higher if not for the increasing number of women doing the proposing. Perhaps these women are tired of being kept up at night by their biological ticking.
A few years ago, my boyfriend of four years broke up with me. My thought was, “Cool. I’m glad I didn’t have to do it.” Don’t get me wrong. We had a great four years, and I was sad. But it was time to move on. He was and still is a good man. He just wasn’t for me. You see, I think a lot like a guy; I’ve tested in the top percentiles in subjects men tend to do better in, such as mechanical comprehension. I enjoy working on my Honda CL360 and watching the Giants kick the Patriots’ asses. But my boyfriend watched football only when the Super Bowl was on–and only when the Steelers were playing. Baseball? Forget it. He wouldn’t even watch the World Series.
At age 36, the age my mother gave birth to me, I decided it was time to consider what she wanted. So I dated–a lot. I had a date almost every week, sometimes two or three in a week. I don’t remember how I met most of those guys, never mind their names. After about six months of this, I started asking my dates, “Can I give you a suggestion?” Then I’d tell them what bugged me about going out with them. I did this as much to help them as to figure out exactly what I was looking for.
All these men were great guys. I saw something endearing in each one, even the guy who didn’t want to hear my suggestion–definitely can’t remember his name. But none of them lit my fire long enough to consider marriage. Relationship, yes. Marriage, no way.
Their grateful responses to my dating suggestions encouraged me to write a book that these great guys would want to read. I researched high and low for issues to write about. I Googled dozens of keywords and read articles six-links deep. In the process I came across a book by clinical psychologist Dr. Alex Avila, LoveTypes: Discover Your Romantic Style and Find Your Soul Mate.
In a nutshell, Dr. Avila says that each of us has one of 16 personality types based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that is romantically compatible with another particular personality type. One out of every 100 American women has my personality type. Go figure.
Six out of every 100 American men have the personality type that perfectly matches mine. So that means that six of the last 100 men I dated were my type, right? Not. A man with this personality type marries earlier, and he is compatible with other types besides mine, the types belonging to seventeen out of 100 women. The math = not good for me.
After I learned about the MBTI, how relationships work made more sense to me. It was as though scales had fallen off my eyes. I could see why that good man I was with for four years never rang marriage bells to my ears.
To test Dr. Avila’s theories, I decided to look for my perfect match. I found an abundance of my perfect match at my favorite hangout, the Soho Grand Hotel in New York, but all those men were married. Not so perfect, actually. Then I looked online.
I realized that it’s possible to determine a guy’s MBTI type by examining his online profile. Once in a while, I’d find someone, but he either never responded, was much younger than me, or he was married. Yes, married and dating online. At this point, I just wanted know if Dr. Avila is right. So I wrote to a guy who was married but separated. He wrote back. Twelve emails and two phone calls later, we met. It was eighteen months after breaking up with the Good Man.
The doctor is right. And not only is my now-boyfriend my perfect match, he is also a good man. His story is another blog.