Well, I should say, "older man."
In my 22 years in Kuwait, I've had 2 relationships where I was head-over-heels, madly in love. That's not to say that I haven't had other relationshits, but these 2 were the biggest and meant the most to me.
It's easy to find "love" (or a perception/idea of "love") in Kuwait. When you first come here, if you are dating someone from the Arab culture, you are charmed by all the flowery words, even poetry, that you hear. They make it sound as if they've never seen a woman like you. But you quickly realize that that's the culture: everything is OTT and you're not so special. All the females are special. And princesses. You're just girl-of-the-moment waiting to be won over (and most likely, inevitably "screwed over" at some point in the future). The same flowery poetry that he's quoting to you, he's quoting to the next few females he calls or texts. Or picks up in his car driving down the street. Or meets in the mall. Or at work. Or standing in line at the co-op. Whatever.
When I first came here, I loved the hunt. I wasn't into anything serious. It was fun (and an ego boost) to go out and see how many numbers that I could go home with. More than likely, never to be called. It was a game. Hunting on the Gulf Road on a weekend night with my BFF was what we looked forward to.
But somewhere either I got older and more jaded to it, or realized what a tiresome and even cheap game it was. It lost its appeal. I didn't care about the ego boost. The novelty had run its course.
So, I met the occasional potential through going to parties with friends. But that lost it's lure too. The music was too loud. The smoke was too thick. The lights were too low. You couldn't talk to anyone and even if you did, they were more about hooking up for the night with the hoochies in the room than talking to respectfully-dressed good-friends-of -their-good-friends.
And my good guy friends who had guy friends kind of put the block on anything. Their guy friends wouldn't go near me for fear of offending my "brothers." They would sit there and give me longing eyes all night, ask a few questions about me and then I might or might not see them the next weekend when the group got together for barbecues or whatever. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't the one with the problem (was I too ugly or too something or what?); potential guys weren't talking to me because it was ayeb: the Arab brother respect code.
So, back to my story about intentions and the 2 long-term relationships:
The Man: He showed me his intentions within the first 2 months of meeting. "I WILL marry you." Followed by a ring. I had met most of his group of friends by then. To be followed by his family - including his sisters (mother and father were dead). We started talking about having kids. We lasted on/off for about 6 years, but we had a major issue: He was already married. (Say what you will about me, but she knew and I like her a lot.) I just couldn't do the second wife thing and the logistics are really hard! We tried for a while, but it just wasn't happening. To this day, I love his kids and we send messages once in a while. His wife is a dear person and I wish her well and I hope that they're happy. He and I no longer speak and that is probably for the best. Although I miss his advice and his sense of humor and perspective on life.
Why was he different? Because he made me feel secure from the start. I was included in his life with family (even though ok it was weird by Western standards). Some of his friends didn't approve of our relationship and he stood up for me. I felt secure with him.
Mr. Clean (who I later referred to as Mr. Dirty or something like that): He showed his intentions within the first 2 months of meeting also. This time, he didn't ask me to marry him, he started with his father, the head of the family. Then I was invited to their home to meet everyone (and to get their approval). I think inevitably, his father loved me more than Clean ever did. We hit it off immediately and he told Clean to marry me. We dated on/off for about 3 years, but we had a major issue: He is a cheating, lying, money-stealing asshole. (Tell us how you really feel, DG.) I caught him at too many things. He eventually got away with around 2,000 KD of my money which I haven't been able to recover, and asked me to buy him a Lexus.
Why was he different (in the beginning)? Same reason. I was not only included, but immersed in his family life. His sister was a best friend. All the little kids in the family loved me. I knew his whole extended family and they all accepted me. It was about security.
So here I am now. I have someone in my life that doesn't make me feel secure. This guy literally walked through my door with a big smile on his face. He is a cousin of my dear friends. It started off like a honeymoon, but at this point, I don't know if his parents even know about me. "When someone tells you who they are; believe them": He has also told me that he doesn't want to get married for 10 years.
And look - let me just stop right here and say that I'm not a big fan of marriage. I sincerely admire people who can make it work, but I haven't seen a lot of that and I can only pray that I'm that kind of person who can make it work. But I know I have a short Aries/Irish fuse and it isn't always pretty. Regardless: It's about the intention. It is about knowing that you want to be with someone for the long run (regardless of the "type" of marriage or how it will turn out).
So when I don't get the security I want, my mind and my heart start to wander. Faith is a bad thing to lose in someone. It has a domino affect that makes other pieces fall. He has redeeming qualities: He's faithful and loyal and my family loves him (he's Arab-American and works for my family's business). He's got his security, but I don't. ... and he's starting to fall off my radar. And that's where I'm at.
Disclaimer: After Clean, I took a vow to stop having relationships and concentrate on my dog and K9 training. To set the story straight: My dog is still the most important man in my life.