This is my 13th letter to BOAZ and perhaps the most surprising. So much has occurred within the last week and the lessons just keep coming. Where to start? Let’s start with the stranger I met on the airplane. We have been texting back and forth almost right away and boy did he tackle some of the hard dating questions! He asked my age and how many long term relationships I had had. ? I was trying to hold off on talking about any of the exes or the semi ex that is still in my life (the Ex Factor). But the stranger wanted to know. He was 35, looking for his wife, and in his culture he would be considered to be old to be just marrying for the first time. ? I felt so overwhelmed answering his questions but could appreciate he did not want to waste his time. As I got more and more overwhelmed, I decided to ask him a few tough questions myself. His culture highly believes in arranged marriages….why wasn’t he arranged? His parents had tried to arrange a marriage for him ten years ago with a girl he met at his cousin’s wedding but there was more “bad than good” and since then his longest relationship has just been a year. Well there goes two red flags for me. While he said he did not want to have an arranged marriage and that his parents are less strict about it, I have a feeling he is unintentionally wasting the time of any woman not in his culture. Some cultures do not budge on the issue that they must marry within that culture. He is in one of those cultures. His parents are probably not “less strict” about an interracial/cultural marriage…they are probably just waiting for him to give up on whatever he is searching for so they can try to arrange another marriage for him. Now my sister, Brenda, says if she has interests in a guy…she doesn’t worry about his cultural rules but she is 24! At 36, I would not recommend to any of my readers to get involve with cultures that out right reject your existence for shits and giggles. ??? It’s one thing if you accidentally fell in love and both decided it was worth the risk to go against your cultures but to start off dating (with no feelings) knowing those restrictions is setting yourself up for failure! At 24 it’s an experience but at 36 it’s a heartbreak at a time finding a good spouse is not easy! So be ware of these things. The stranger is engrained in his culture and does want his parents’ approval. RED FLAG 1 because I’m not in his culture. RED FLAG 2…at age 35 his longest relationship has only been ONE YEAR! Coming from the culture he does, he has either been sowing his wild oats or he has a lack of patience! Even male hoes I have known have had a girlfriend for more than a year…even if they were cheating! I have huge commitment issues and I’ve had a few long term relationships! ? I need a man with lots of patience because I require lots of patience! ?? If in let’s say 15 years of dating the longest relationship is one year….that speaks volumes. RUN! Now I know what you are thinking…why am I vetting the stranger when I let the Ex Factor get away with a lot? Well isn’t the stranger vetting me? In his culture, a woman my age is lucky to be getting marriage considerations but in JAMAICAN culture a woman is not limited to just marriage! Marriage does not have to be her ultimate goal. She has no limitations! ?? And thank God for that because I’m just so different from most women I know. But wait for it… There was something else the stranger said that stood out to me. While he does not believe in arrange marriages, he is okay with love coming after marriage as long as he is compatible with a woman. This is what I like to call a SEMI ARRANGED MARRIAGE! I have friends of many different cultures and religions who did it. They did not want their parents to arrange their marriage but they found someone they are compatible with and had a very short courtship with the intention to immediately marry and start a family. Love does not matter. Just the need for companionship, loyalty, and family. As a matter of fact, this is probably how most people feel after years of love kicking them in the butt. It’s sensible and does work UNLESS you are someone like myself…a person where alone is her comfort zone and would only do companionship because of LOVE! No other reason! ?? The only other friend that I have who would understand my way of thinking is Harmony. We want love but we also love our freedom and independence. If we had to choose freedom or companionship…we would choose to be free! ?? I know that’s hard to understand especially coming from a woman but I only love because my heart gives me no choice. Not because I believe in companionship. My friends are already the great loves of my life. Wow…that was a lot. Hope I haven’t lost you because we are not done yet. Over the weekend I spoke to Julio, my infamous first love. He jokingly said that we should just get married and have children and be like all the miserable yet in love Jamaican couples we know. He told me he loved me and missed me. And I can appreciate him for those kind words but I think Julio has just given up on love and is settling for a semi arranged marriage with me. We know each other, we know each other’s families, and get how the other person works but I don’t want to spend my life with a man that’s just choosing me because nothing else worked. The best offer I could make him is if we get to 50 and are still single…let’s try to live in the same retirement home so I have someone familiar to hangout with and cuss out. ? I don’t want to be anyone’s fall back plan. If I’m going to fail at love…it will be on my own terms. Yes I’m 36 and the longer I stay with someone who has no future plans for me…I give up the chance to have a family. But for me, I could see myself mourning the children I never had with the Ex Factor but I cannot see myself mourning a family in general. It’s just not my style. Maybe as I get older companionship will become more important but for now it’s still low on my list. Traveling and spending time with my friends and family is so much more important to me. ?? Yes I am terrified of love (working out) but I’m even more frightened by the fact that I could one day wake up next to someone I settled for and decide to run from him and the family we created…for only love could make me stay. Maddening…sickening…I can’t stand his face love. And that’s when it dawned on me…I don’t want to live a day without the Ex Factor. However long the time we have is…I need to just stop complaining and enjoy it….for the future is uncertain no matter who you are and no matter what commitments were made. ~KJM on Charm School Monday. I’m not sure if I will continue the Awaiting Boaz series since I’m not ready for him. But the one thing I’m certain of is my true love must be my friend first…that’s what will allow me to let my guard down and love again. I can’t do an arranged nor semi arranged marriage. I’m the Carrie Bradshaw of my time. I want love to be my driving force. If it does not move me…I cannot do it. ??