“Attraction is beyond our will or ideas sometimes.” -Juliette Binoche
When Sarah suggested a guest post for her blog, as a take/follow-on to her recent post on ‘pretty little white boys’ and how she’s primarily dated white men, and no other cultures, for the most part. As my ex-husband is Lebanese (and she notes a bit of a ‘thing’ for middle eastern men) I figured a take on that, combined with a post I did recently on looking for my RIGHT, and not my EX would fit in nicely. Following me so far? ;-)
What is a pretty natural reaction – to want to date someone so polar opposite your ex that you possibly can – isn’t necessarily the reasons why I no longer truly find Middle Eastern men attractive, and why I don’t ‘look’ for qualities in my ex in men that I date. I don’t explicitly look for them at all, nor do I draw parallels to any prospective dates to my ex, because for me, it’s because I want something new and different, more so than the fact that I don’t want a mirror image of my ex. He had some great qualities, and sure, some of those that I wouldn’t mind in the man that sweeps me off my feet (being handy around the house, for example, was a great quality of his, but it isn’t a quality that is unique to him whatsoever, but heck yes I want that again! ha).
Similarly, I think adjusting to any new culture when dating a man is very difficult sometimes. For me, it became paralyzing at times, because I felt I wasn’t liked in some cases purely because I was not Lebanese. I was this “American” that will eventually throw him out, or make him sleep on the couch (as if? Does that really happen that often anyway, ladies, let’s be honest. A total stereotype!). Or they discounted me because I was more headstrong, had a career and wanted it that way. I’m not a homemaker (not that there is anything wrong with that), and they were much more traditional in that the man is to lead the home, the woman is to clean it, cook, and keep after it. That just wasn’t me. Nor would it ever be.
And I don’t think these things are culturally unique to the Middle East. I’ve seen it in my own Italian family to an extent, and other Mediterranean cultures. It’s just ingrained, in some cases, no matter how many generations of family live in the United States. So for me, it became somewhat of an ultimate downfall of our marriage, because there wasn’t enough allegiance to me, by them, to support the marriage and trying to sustain it. All of that support was thrown right to him, and I firmly believe they were a pretty big influence into why my ex-husband didn’t try to rekindle our marriage with me.
But I digress. Because for me, and for both of us, it ended up being the best case scenario. And what I have learned – from our relationship, the qualities he had, and how impactful cultural differences can be – is that they all play a part, in some way, big or small, into what I look for – and don’t – in a new relationship.
What about you? Have you learned from past relationships and want and/or run away from certain characteristics or qualities in a potential mate? I guess it’s a normal reaction, either way, and for me, any qualities that are similar to my ex-husband’s are purely accidental.