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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I am a work in progress. And while I am reasonably physically and mentally healthy, steadily climbing in my career, and able to take care of my own finances, there are a lot of things that need a little extra attention. I have an obsession with french fries that usually keeps me about two pounds away from being beach-body ready. I have yet to reach the peak of my career because I’ve flip-flopped jobs more than most “normal” adults. I’m not yet making as much money as I’d like but sometimes forget this fact and go shopping and traveling anyway. Again, I’m a work in progress. I’m still building. I’m working to set myself up for a better future. And for a while, I didn’t want to date a man who was doing the same. I wanted a “ready-made” man when in actuality, I wasn’t ready. I soon learned that building with someone can be better than coming in after their life has been built.

Let me be clear….really clear. Though I am a work in progress, I have accomplished a lot and work extremely hard to attain more opportunities. Again, I can sufficiently take care of myself, and not to toot my own horn but my future looks bright. As a woman over 30, I refuse to date a man who isn’t at least at this stage in his life. However, I am now more open to someone who isn’t where he wants to be but is working towards getting there, just as I am. I am willing to build with him. For some women, building is not an option. To them, a man who has himself together financially and professionally is more ideal.

One of my friends refuses to commit to a man she’s been dating because he is over 35 without his own place. He lives with a family member while saving to buy a home. “I’ll wait,” my friend is quick to say about being in a relationship with him. “I have to see that it will actually happen. He needs to get himself together.”

The idea of him not yet having it turns her off. And the fact that he is working to get it simply isn’t enough for her; but she isn’t alone. I know plenty of women who simply can’t take a man who is figuring out his next career move. They want someone already climbing the ladder if they’re in corporate America or running a thriving business if they’re an entrepreneur. So what if he has recently made a career change and has to start over from scratch? Or what if his business has potential but isn’t there just yet? Is it not enough?

The word “potential” means different things to different people. The dictionary defines the term as having the capacity to become something in the future (emphasis on future). For some, this hope is enough, but for others, it’s just a word.

The reality is that everyone, even Oprah, is a work in progress. All of us have room to grow and build. My expectations for a man are based on my expectations for myself. A man who is still building used to be a deal breaker for me, until I realized I was being a hypocrite. While I’m definitely not in the business of settling for just any ol’ body, I am now a bit more understanding. If he has potential and is progressing, I have no problem helping him build.

How about you?

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