Sometimes you’re not sure of exactly what you want. Chances are you’re hoping you’ll recognize it if you see it. Either way you know you want to find it someday and then be completely satisfied with it.
While those statements could apply to anything from buying a car to starting a career, I’m talking specifically about the love of your life. Or at least the love of a long time.
Aside from a sense that “this isn’t quite it” when they meet someone, most people have only a vague idea of what their ideal romantic partner will be like.
While it would be foolish to think you can “leave nothing to chance”, it would be helpful to at least narrow things down a bit.
It’s a pretty good bet that you’ve got a better idea of what you don’t want, and qualities you’re not interested in.
Like a violent temper. Vicious mood swings. A crack addiction. Major co-dependence issues. A collection of large poisonous pet spiders. Stuff like that.
Okay so maybe those are too obvious. But the fact is, process of elimination can help you better identify what you do want. And it wouldn’t hurt to make a list. Seriously.
After you figure out what you don't want, you can write the opposite of that down as things you do want. An example?
Don't Want: Someone who's unemployed with no high school diploma.
Do Want: Someone with a solid job history and at least some college education.
If you don't need to do the reverse list first to know what you do want, it's still a good idea to make a list of what you're looking for. Not necessarily a check-off list, but pretty dang close.
Identify 10 qualities that you do want that are non-negotiable.
As a female looking for a man, my list in no particularly order would look something like this:
1. Is clean from substance abuse: non-smoker/tobacco/drug user and little/no alcohol use
2. Is fit: less than 12% body fat, enjoys healthy food and has a good workout ethic
3. Has his life together: a legitimate income, his own reliable transportation and doesn’t live with his parents or on someone’s couch.
4. Is affectionate but not overly “needy”
5. Genuinely likes and wants children
6. Has a good self image and is confident but not arrogant
7. Is mentally level headed and emotionally sane
8. Has a cheerful attitude/ optimistic approach to life
9. Wants a fair and balanced relationship (shares responsibilities, contributes to the relationship, etc.)
10. Has a great sense of humor
Then make a list of 10 things you’d prefer, but would be willing to allow a little leeway with. Again, my list looks something like this:
1. Lives an active, healthy lifestyle (ie. enjoys being outside/ sports, isn’t a couch potato)
2. Won’t be regularly gone prolonged periods of time (longer than two or three days at a time)
3. Fairly clean cut appearance (no facial tattoos/ piercings etc.)
4. Intelligent conversation with good life skills/ experience/ education
5. Is handy with tools/ has skills and interest in home improvements
6. Is smart with money (good at saving, on time with paying bills, has retirement plans etc.)
7. Tenacious and persistent about life ambitions. Has goal and actively working towards them.
8. Committed to making a great relationship last (includes romantic gestures and a willingness to compromise.)
9. Compassionate and kind-hearted
10. Is playful but can be serious when needed
You probably have a better idea of what you do and don’t want than you realize. But saying “I don’t know what I’m looking for” just makes you sound immature.
After all, maturity is knowing who you are, what you want and knowing how to get it. And you can’t very well expect to find a mature partner who will want to be with you, if you don’t know who you are or what you want.
So when you finally meet the amazing person who is exactly what you never realized you always wanted, you want to actually have some idea of what that’s going to look like, sound like and feel like.