The Non-Negotiables

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The other day, a family friend’s kid (‘kid’ being the applicable term here, as the guys is forty going on twenty-three), ended a relationship with the woman we were all praying he was finally going to settle down with. His reasoning? She had a kid. My dad, analyzing the situation, offered an interesting insight: “The problem is that you kids all become way too rational with age.” Hearing this, my mother gave me a long, pondering stare that made me realize that I was quickly becoming part of this equation.

It’s true that the older we get, the less likely we become to get swept away by emotional infatuation, basing our selection on a certain internal checklist as much as instinct and attraction. By our late 20’s, most of us have been burned at least once, and know perfectly well that there is more to a functional relationship than a bunch of hormone-infused sparks. We also know ourselves well enough to determine if certain attributes will work with our lifestyle and personality. However, I can’t help but wonder if we are becoming too pragmatic in our relationship judgment, to the point where it overcomplicates everything and halts us from making decisions altogether.

Case in point – I recently went out with a guy who told me that he had to marry Jewish. I asked him, hypothetically, what would happen if he were to fall in love with a non-Jewish girl. His response? ”At this point, I know who I should fall in love with.” That’s right, possibly the least romantic words ever uttered by a human being in the history of the universe. Please keep in mind that this guy hadn’t been in a relationship for the past six years of his life.

We all have our qualms. One friend of mine will never go near a guy with an artistic job, viewing them as completely self-centered. Another one refuses to date men with kids, not to mention men who “cannot support her lifestyle”, whatever that means. Personally, I love kids and couldn’t care less about the religious background (I myself am a Jewish – Russian Orthodox mutt). However, over the years I have come to establish a few things that I consider my non-negotiables.

1. He doesn’t want kids. To be frank, I am often unsure if I even want a husband, and consider the marriage part mostly as a mean to the kid part. Hence, a husband sans children completely defeats the purpose.  Plus, men who don’t want kids freak me out – don’t you have enough vanity to yearn to continue your kin? C’mon.

2. He has mediocre ambitions. I once dated somebody with mediocre ambitions, and it didn’t work out too well. I spent the entire duration of our relationship swinging between bullying him and apologizing for bullying him, slowly degrading into a monstrous creature that I myself did not recognize. The day we broke up, my brother told me that, had we stayed together, I would be pulling him through life. Unfortunately, this is something I am not Alpha woman enough to manage.

3. He wants to live in the suburbs. I have seen a friend’s marriage fall apart because the guy was intent on living in New Jersey, and she wanted to stay in the city – consider me scarred for life. As silly as this sounds, I can state for a fact that placing me in any sort of suburbia will result in Adderal-Klonopin morning milkshakes and wine sippy cups at the playground. Purely for the sake of society, I am better off living in an urban metropolis with fellow neurotics for the rest of my life. (I’ll make an exception for Malibu, but only due my profuse love for Joan Didion.)

4. He doesn’t travel. I find travelling to life’s biggest gifts to humans, and am confused by people don’t feel the same. Therefore, a person who doesn’t want to explore remote locales for as long as we can walk sans walkers does not the right partner make. I was recently on a plane with a couple so old that I got worried each time one of them went to the bathroom and there was turbulence. They were coming from their last trip around Asia, one out of many throughout their demi-century together. If that’s not f*cking amazing, I don’t know what is.

5. I’m not attracted to him. You are going to have to sleep in a bed with this man for the rest of your life (or at least until your 60s, when it officially becomes acceptable to have separate bedrooms). Unless you are a very materialistic young woman who can dream of diamonds while starting at the fat back of a human werewolf, I suggest you find somebody that you actually want to f*ck cuddle with.

These are my five. Now what are yours?

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