NADINE NICOLE, from the international hit series The Expanse on Amazon, Hulu’s Casual, and NBC’s The Village. Nadine also is the co-founder of True-Connection.org, an educational movement to raise society’s collective empathy.
I definitely can’t speak for all women, but I’m happy to share my personal perspective. What feels “safe” is so different for everyone and changes with new chapters in life and newfound needs and wants as we evolve. The one thing that has always been deeply important to me, though, is trust and honesty. I don’t feel I can fully trust someone if honesty isn’t genuinely one of their top core values. Otherwise, it’s too easy to hide parts of ourselves, casually lie or be subconsciously manipulative. There are limitless opportunities for distractions and unconscious, negative habits or patterns. Not the kind of partnership or friendships that I want or need in my life anymore. Finding someone who is self aware and wants to do the work of creating feel-good boundaries together, so that the relationship can flourish, is priceless.
As for lifestyle, the “safe option” for me would be a family-oriented man who loves nature, adventure and travel, but isn’t into the party lifestyle. I appreciate community, spontaneity and wild, fun times, but find myself more stable and happier the less I dip my toes into toxins and hedonistic escapism. Not what most women in their late thirties are attracted to. Being healthy, goal-oriented, relaxed and at home with yourself is very sexy. Fantastic if you look and feel good, but if you are intellectually stimulating, mature and emotionally available, you are a keeper. When it comes to the j.o.b. aspect, what they do isn’t as important as why they do it. As long as they have a sense of purpose or meaning in their life, and are resilient, adaptable and ambitious, then I can trust that no matter what comes our way, we’d figure it out and thrive.
On a similar note, I don’t mind being with someone who has opposing beliefs or totally different passions. I’ve purposefully surrounded myself with lots of people that are dissimilar to myself. It opens my world to new perspectives and growth. I welcome the challenges, surprises and benefits of bringing contrasting belief systems to the table. It’s like diversifying an ecosystem, thus, becoming stronger. Still, one of the most attractive beliefs a man can hold is the belief in himself to lead and feel secure, confident and reliable. This and a natural light heartedness, sparked with curiosity and a wonder for life. A man that has a natural playfulness adds so much joy. What’s better than that? I love a man that can make me laugh. Especially during these tough times, resilience has shown itself in humor and optimism. It’s so important to be able to live in the moment, enjoy life and connect through play. Also, a knowledge seeker and a student of life who loves to read makes me swoon. If you are well rounded and versed in multiple topics, you can empathize and get along with all types of characters in this world.
Another mindset that feels safe for me is that of a sexually evolved man. One thing I’ve noticed is that social media has incited a lot of dark behaviors and addictions in both genders. A guy who is aware of the patterns that disconnect people from deeper personal connections makes me feel I can trust his psychology and shows me that he is attracted to women with self-respect. Chasing a high or sexual gratification can seem harmless on the surface, but over the long haul, can turn into a big trap leading to more anxiety, isolation and shame that may have fueled the habit in the first place. It’s like chasing ghosts. I love when a man can be real and open about this.
All in all, I appreciate a man who is not afraid to open his heart fully, speak his mind and stand up to me and the world around him. A man who knows his mission and life and stays true to his own moral compass, who has an understanding of healing and how to hold space for me when I’m in need of it and allows me to hold space for him as well. Humility can be the surest sign of strength. One of the best practices I’ve learned along the way is responding with validation and empathy, even if you disagree with what they are feeling or experiencing. Every feeling is valid in its own right. Instead of reacting with ‘deflect, defend and blame,’ saying something like, “I hear what you’re saying and see that you’re feeling (insert emotions here). Do you want me to just listen or help problem solve? What can I do to support you?” And go from there. It may take some time to get used to, especially if what they come to you with triggers you, but this practice prevents miscommunication, escalating conflict and paves the road for deeper bonding and mutual respect.