This might sound ungrateful but, when my girlfriends and I get together, the conversation often turns to talk of whoever we’re dating and things about them that bother us.  Usually it’s not things that are deal-breakers but things either we wish we could change or things that may be red flags.

The complaints could be as simple as not liking the kind of clothing they wear to him texting the menu and asking what he should eat when he’s out of town.  Complaints could also be things like he’s too attentive, he has to know where I am every minute and tells me where he is every minute.  It could be that he pushes the relationship forward too quickly or something like, “he eats too much candy.”  You know it wasn’t me that made that complaint because I find a man holding a family-sized bag of plain M&Ms to be a huge turn-on.

Maybe he’s too tight with his money or spends too much on something.  Maybe it’s because he lives out of town or vice versa.  He doesn’t recycle, he doesn’t keep his house clean, he works too many hours, he has no ambition, he only has one eyebrow instead of two, he always has a bat in the cave (boogers), he has blue teeth, he talks about his high school years constantly, he has little hands, he can’t spell, he watches TV with his hand down his pants, yada, yada, yada.

Since none of these complaints are deal-breakers, I can’t help but wonder if it’s something that we do to help protect ourselves.  If a guy were perfect for us in every way, our guard would be down, and we would be in danger of falling in love and suffering irreparable damage when it ends.  If we point out these little red flags, we keep one arm out and holding him at bay; kind of a “this is my space, this is your space” kind of thing.  No one ever gets too close, you never have to change your lifestyle, and you will just go on with the status quo forever.  You never achieve the relationship that you were complaining to your girlfriends a few months ago that you didn’t have but, by staying self-protected, you stay where you are:  In your comfort zone.

Our comfort zone is a place that we don’t necessarily like but that we know we can survive in.  If one of us took a boyfriend up on his offer to mow our lawn, we would really appreciate that, and we would miss it when he leaves.  What if we sold our mower and let the guy mow with his mower?  What if, when he left, we were left with no mower and could no longer take care of our lawn?  If we were to never depend on him to mow our lawn and never trusted him to do it forever, we would still have our mower and still be able to survive — I mean mow our own lawn.

Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but I think our complaining is a means of self-preservation.  It’s a way of saying we’re optimistic about the relationship but aren’t quite 100%.  We’re not ready to sell our lawn mower yet.  Maybe we’re trying to give each other a heads-up in case it doesn’t work out so we won’t hear “I never saw it coming” when it ends.

Regardless what the reasoning is behind our complaining, we all know that, when the right guy comes along, even though he may have every flaw listed above, it won’t matter.  All he has to do is hold up his family-sized bag of plain M&Ms, and he’ll look like Prince Charming on a white horse.

* Coming soon, a sneak-peek at Risking The Nine Days, the sequel to Nine Days In Greece.