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What We Tend To Get Wrong About Finding Mr. Right

"More than anything, I want to get it right with someone who is just as tired of getting it wrong as I am."—Unknown

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Mr. Right. While I have absolutely no idea who originated that term, I was surprised to see that it was actually listed in the dictionary. For the most part, the general consensus is it means "a man who is viewed as an ideal romantic partner or potential spouse". Eh. I guess, for the most part, that will do. Well, let me step back a bit. While I do think the definition is fitting overall, it's actually the word "ideal" that trips me up a bit. I don't know about y'all, but on my quest to get to my own so-called Mr. Right, something that I've had to unlearn-to-relearn is sometimes what I consider to be ideal—like basing "rightness" solely on a man's looks, always falling for my type or putting sexual satisfaction over overall fulfillment—hasn't been very ideal (a standard of excellence) at all.

Praise the Lord that I am in a very different type of head and heart space now. I get the areas where I was oh so wrong about Mr. Right and, so that you won't have to go through some of the bumps and bruises that I've experienced, I wanted to share a bit of a "cheat sheet" to help you to figure out what your own Mr. Right should actually look and live like. As life would have it, all of these are based on definitions and synonyms of the word "right". You ready?

Right: in accordance with what is good

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When it comes to this specific definition of the word "right", I personally think that it is an excellent place to start. I say that because, one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of us make when even considering who is a viable Mr. Right contender, is we don't stop and ask ourselves if someone is truly good for us (check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?"). While there are a lot of definitions for good, the one that I really want to hone in on today is if someone is truly going to benefit us. This is important because, when something or someone is beneficial, it means that they are capable of being good to us and being of service to us, all the while helping us to improve (become a better person). While you might not be able to figure that out in the first couple of dates (and that's totally understandable), by date three, you should definitely feel comfortable enough to ask the hard—and by hard, I mean beneath the surface—questions. What are his values? What are his goals? Does he even want a long-term relationship (because if you do and he doesn't, what are y'all doing)? And if he does, why?

Something else that's really cool about this particular definition of right is the word "accordance" which means "agreement". God saw fit to create us with a mind, body and spirit (soul). I call it the human trinity. When trying to decide if someone is truly right for you, take time to ask yourself if your entire being is in agreement that this man is going to be good for you. If some part of you objects, figure out why because there is definitely something to it.

Right: in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle

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Some of y'all ain't gonna like this one very much, so let me just say "sorry not sorry" in advance. Back when I was in a cyclic pattern of dating the same kinds of men, something that I had a big problem with was seeing what I wanted to see while ignoring the facts and truths of how those men were and what we were really doing. I think I've shared before that my third baby's daddy (check out "Why I Named The Children I Aborted" for context) was someone I was good friends with. The sex was also cool and, for the most part, there wasn't any drama. But after about a year in, he pulled my "truth card" when I said that I felt like he was taking me for granted (on the romantic tip) and his response was, "Shellie, you said from the beginning that you just wanted to be friends who had sex. You never gave me the chance to see you as a girlfriend. Don't blame me for holding up our end of the deal, just because your feelings have changed." Ouch. And yes.

You're not going to know if a man is truly right for you if you're not willing to base your decision on facts, reason and truth. Not your emotions. Not the chick flick that you've somehow conjured up in your head. Not all of the theories that your girlfriends (and aunties) have come up with. Get real. Get logical. Pay attention to the actual reality of what's going on—and what isn't going on. Then decide what your next move is, based on that. A lot of women have wasted precious time, effort and energy, by acting like a man did something wrong to them when the TRUTH is that they didn't want to deal with the FACTS. Please don't be one of them (or one of them anymore).

Right: Honest

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Now let's get into some synonyms for the word "right" that I personally believe should apply in our quest for confirming who Mr. Right is in our lives. Honest is one of those words yet here's the interesting thing about it—a lot of people only associate it with telling the truth.

While you should want a man who is going to do that, think higher. When someone is honest, they are "honorable in principles, intentions, and actions". To be honorable is to be upright and credible. When a man is right for you, he is going to be upright and credible (which speaks to the consistency of his character) as it relates to his principles, his intentions and his actions. Not one of these things. ALL THREE.

Another cool definition of honest is "fair". Fair leans towards being objective. He is more interested in both of you seeing each other's perspectives and finding common ground than him being right all of the time. Two other definitions that I think are worth noting are frank and genuine. He isn't cryptic nor does he deflect. He also isn't fake. What you see is what you get, so there's no need to look for things that aren't there (some of y'all will catch that later). And still, another dope definition is "having a good reputation". Have mercy.

Be honest. When it comes to the men that you've dated in the past, have you put forth the concerted effort to see what his reputation is? Is he respected at work? Does he have a healthy set of friends? What does his family have to say about him? What has he shared were his own missteps in his past relationships? So many things can be avoided, if we simply take a man's reputation into account. Even the Bible says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1—NKJV) A guy isn't going to be right for you if he's out here not being right to those around him. Always factor in his reputation. It can be a real life—and heart—saver, if you do.

Right: Suitable

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Anyone who's been rocking with my byline on here for a while now knows that I love to attach Scripture where it applies. Well, when you look at the first documented intimate relationship between a man and a woman in the Bible, the word "suitable" is mentioned. Genesis 2:18(AMPC) states, "Now the Lord God said, 'It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.'" A man who is right for you is a man who is going to be suitable for you. A dope definition of suitable is becoming. A dope definition of becoming is appropriate. A dope definition of appropriate is "set apart for a specific purpose".

If nothing else sinks in from this read, please let this synonym of right dig into the very depths of your soul. The man who is really and truly right for you? He is going to be set apart for the specific purpose of loving you, cherishing you and adoring you. You won't have to worry about competing with other women. You won't have to be concerned with trying to "switch up" to make him like/love you more. And, most importantly, your own life's purpose/calling/work will not have to be compromised for the sake of maintaining the relationship. Since he's the right one, he has been customized to suit your life and your purpose. Period.

That doesn't mean he or the relationship will be perfect (no one, not even you, are perfect). What it will mean though is, unlike the past relationships where you had to work harder than you ever should have? This one won't require that kind of strenuous effort. Amen? AMEN.

Right: Justifiable

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Hmph. I remember once being so into a guy that I really couldn't see straight. I was so engrossed in him that, no matter what questions my loved ones had for me, ones that should've encouraged me to totally pump my brakes, I absolutely wasn't trying to hear it. Listen, the people who really and truly care about you, they have lives of their own. What I mean by that is, their world isn't going to come to a crashing end, just because you got your heart broken or you found yourself in a stupid relationship. So, when they make the time to invest into your life and ask you to consider if some things about a guy might be red flags, you should take that to heart. Hear me when I say that I personally learned this the hard way.

That said, when a man is right for you, you won't have to sneak around. You won't have to be vague AF. You won't have to make excuses for him and/or why you are tolerating (or is it enduring?) all of his BS. The right man will be justifiable in the absolute best way possible because he will be the core meaning of the word—"to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded". Did you peep the "well-grounded" part? Yeah. Me too.

Right: Deserved

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This synonym right here has me excited like a mug! Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that, if a man is right for you, he will be "qualified for a reward because of his actions and qualities"? Now here's something to keep in mind about the word "reward". It's not like receiving a simple gift or prize. A reward is "something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc." A reward is what someone receives after service and sometimes even hardship transpires. While I'm definitely not encouraging you to "test your man" (how would you feel if he did that to you? Ugh), what I am saying is the right guy will be able to stick some things out with you. Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Before that even happens, the right guy will be able to do what it takes to get you to trust him enough to know that he will be able to stick some things out with you (eh hem, as you do the same thing for him, please).

Last year, when I did a story that featured different Black female-owned T-shirt lines, one of the ones that I featured has a shirt that sums up this particular point perfectly. Tees in the Trap offers up a tee that simply says "Earn Me". Again, it's not about game-playing (playing hard to get is a game, by the way) or coming up with ways for a man to have to constantly prove his own worth and value to you. At the same time, what "earning you" is about, is having standards and then giving a man the space to see if he will rise up to them—or not. Because for someone to be Mr. Right, he needs to be deserving of you. And that takes time to discover.

Right: Due

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Last one. While this, too, may ruffle a few feathers, this really is a great place to end this piece. Most times, when people ask me how I feel about being in my mid-40s and never married, the first thing I say is, "I'd rather be never married than on my third divorce" (because I know some people who fall right into that category). Then I follow that up with, "God doesn't owe me a husband." And He doesn't.

Matter of fact, the more I get into the space that the One who gave me life doesn't OWE me anything, that everything is a blessing, it helps to calm my spirit and accept that the right thing—including the right man—comes at the right time. I am not the only one who can determine that. God and my customized Mr. Right both play their own role and I'm perfectly OK with that…finally.

This is where the word "due" comes in. When something (or someone) is due, one of my absolute favorite definitions is, it/he "naturally belongs to someone". Every time I read that, it's like an "exhale" comes over my entire being. The right man for me, the right man for you—he will naturally belong. Timing plays a huge part in that.

Most of us are super grown at this point. This probably means that you've gotten it wrong about who your Mr. Right is, perhaps, more than once. But you survived, you're still here and your heart is still open—correct? Mr. Right is possible so long as you're being literal about "right" and what it entails. Here's to you finding your Mr. Right in the truest sense—and meanings—of the word. To never getting this area of your life wrong. Ever again.

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