So after all the crap that Frank put me through in the past month, you’d think I might have a bad opinion of men.  Well, I do, but for only the ones who have screwed me over!  There are still good men in this world, I see them every day.

Now judging “good men” and “good relationships” is an inexact science, as I can only see them from the outside.  I can only adjudicate what’s presented to me because I’m not privy to what happens behind closed doors, so these comments are based purely on my perceptions.

My friend Renatta’s fiancé Claudio is one of the “good ones.”  They have been dating for many years – since high school, although they have known each other since childhood.  Now in their 30s, their relationship had evolved (from the outside it seems) to a supportive and loving partnership that includes fun weekend trips to exciting driving-distance locations and weekly ballroom dance classes.

Over the Christmas holiday while visiting family, Claudio prepared a big surprise for Renatta.  During her mother’s annual holiday scavenger hunt, Claudio arranged access to their childhood school.  At the very spot he first caught sight of her (around the age of 10), he dropped to one knee and presented her with a lovely ring (a ring that he had carefully chosen after months of searching for the right one).  Total romance – a very personal proposal.

On the subject of proposals, years ago I was walking through Lafayette Park by the White House in DC, and a woman whom I had never met yelled to me from where she sat on a bench, “We just got engaged!”  It put me in a good mood.

Then there’s my friend Kathleen’s husband Jay.  They live by the maxim, “We can be independent together.”   His love for her is so apparent.  He seems to relish his ability to take care of her and make her happy (although she’d probably never want to admit she “needs” to be taken care of).  They enjoy each other’s company, but are just as happy to go an entire day without talking with each other or to travel on their own with friends.

I have traveled with Jay and Kathleen – a trip to Belgium and The Netherlands – that was a very good time.  A man has to be really tolerant to spend a week sharing a hotel room with his wife and her friend.

I find it welcoming, and somewhat amusing, when Jay says to me, “Kate, we haven’t seen you up at the house for a while.  Why don’t you come up some time for dinner and stay the night?”  How many women can say that their friend’s husband extends open invitations to their house for dinner and fun conversation (and our favorite game, “Drunk Scrabble”)?  Jay likes to see Kathleen happy and will do anything for her.  When little arguments come up Kathleen likes to say, “It ain’t worth getting divorced over.”  Then she reminds him if they ever do split, she gets half – and half of what they have is a lot.

When looking for good men in my family, I immediately think of my grandfather – my mom’s dad.  He’s 89 and my grandmother is 85.  I love watching them together.  My gram has always operated in her own world.  She’s perfectly “normal,” but, she is the slowest eater I’ve ever met, likes to saunter instead of walking normal speeds, and can be a bit ditzy at times.  I’ve never seen him say a cruel word to her or raise his voice at her. They’re always holding hands and cuddling.

From the time I was a child, I idolized their relationship.  I thought that’s how married people in love were supposed to behave and treat each other – with tolerance and lots of affection.  I never saw either of those in my own parent’s relationship so I was really grateful to have such behaviors elsewhere in my family.

So now I’m heading back into the dating world – searching for the man that’s “right for me.”  I know he’s out there.  He’s honest, trustworthy, affectionate, tolerant and romantic.  Wish me luck!

Good man photo available from Shutterstock.