Deal breakers and makers

Joey Garcia

What do you do when you’ve met a great guy but you’re not sexually attracted to him at all? The guy I’ve been dating is, on paper, really close to what I asked the universe to send me. But—and I know this sounds shallow—he’s not physically attractive and he has some odd behaviors. I can’t bring myself to fall for him but I think I should. He cares deeply for me and I feel bad that I can’t return those feelings fully. We have been intimate. I hoped it would connect us but it had the opposite effect on me. Am I superficial?

No, you’re struggling to understand the difference between the qualities of a friend and the essential qualities of a life partner. A friend is someone with whom you share your thoughts, dreams, experiences, feelings and Oreos. (OK, maybe I made the last one up.) He might be attractive, but you’re not sexually attracted to him. The connection you share is platonic. So even if you occasionally flirt, you’re not tempted beyond the wordplay.

If a guy only looks good on paper, stop looking at the paper. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings when you’re with him and when you’re apart. You described his behavior as odd. Do you feel anxious or embarrassed or confused around him? Since it’s unlikely that his odd behaviors will change, are you willing to regularly endure feeling off-centered? Can you laugh at his awkwardness or shrug it off? If not, he’s not for you. And without sexual attraction, there’s no long-term potential. For some couples, appreciation grows into love and that inspires sexual attraction. But that’s not everyone’s path.

Compiling an ideal mate checklist becomes an insightful exercise because it reveals how you show up in the world. A desire for a wealthy man, for example, might be linked to wanting someone to take care of you. Or it could be related to a wish for a lifestyle upgrade without actually doing the labor. In this way, the checklist clarifies personal growth areas to tackle before your true bae appears. There are areas where settling is acceptable—you don’t have to enjoy the same social activities—but don’t settle on basics. A healthy relationship requires sexual attraction, good communication and conflict resolution, transparency, an emotional bond and common values. You don’t have those things with the man you’re dating. Hey, the hard truth is you like this guy, but you’re not in love with him. Let him go. Remember, the woman who compiled the ideal mate checklist is not the woman you are now. Renew your search accordingly.

I’m pushing hard for a promotion at work with higher pay and better benefits. Advice?

Carla Harris, a Wall Street banker and gospel singer, says, “All of the important decisions about your career take place when you’re not in the room.” So rep yourself well. Produce a short, detailed document of substantial accomplishments you’ve made that contribute to the company’s brand and profits. You’ll also need to include professional and educational goals and a clearly written, substantiated statement about why you’re ready for promotion. Present the docs to your company decision-makers. Then, prep for negotiation by researching the marketplace for salary info on your current position and the one you aspire to hold. Fingers crossed!

Meditation of the week
“Nobody’s as powerful as we make them out to be,” writes Alice Walker in her novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland. On whom do you project your authority?

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