It should come as no surprise that I approach relationships with the same level of planning and forethought that I approach all the other areas of my life. Deciding we want to be in a romantic relationship, or deciding that we’ve found someone with whom we want to start a relationship are some of the more important decisions we ever endeavor to make. It is for that reason that I’m often surprised at how little actual planning folks put into their love life; how so many of us just expect things to fall into place. For some of us, it works, we meet someone, they seem cool, we date, fall in love and jump the broom. Others of us find ourselves traversing the dregs of singleness, hopping from semi-relationship to semi-relationship wondering why we can find a decent man or woman to settle on down with. In today’s post, I want to offer a slight alternative to the normal meet and greet style of finding a mate.  It’s going to be a little interactive – meaning – I’m going to need your help on this one, so I hope you all are willing to play along and make this a fun and enlightening exercise.

In my experience, when folks are having trouble finding a relationship, it’s usually because they do not really know what they are looking for. When you don’t know what you’re looking for, it becomes impossible to communicate to the person you’re interested in exactly what you’re expecting from them, and more importantly, what you’re expecting from your next relationship. This leads to confusion which usually leads to hurt feelings. So, instead of just winging it like we usually do, lets try something different today. Let’s make a list. What I want you guys to do is stop reading right now and take a moment to think about the most important things you’re looking for in your ideal mate. You can be as superficial or as deep as you want. If you have salary or degree requirements, that’s fine, if you just want to address character issues, that’s fine too. No judgments here. Once you have a few items, I want you to then scroll down to the comments section and right down some of the stuff you came up with and then come back up and read the rest of the post (do your best to resist the urge to read everyone else’s list).

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Got that part done?  Great.  Thanks for sharing.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way and spent sometime thinking about what we look for in our ideal person, I want you do me one more favor.  Now that you have your ideal persons characteristics listed, I want you to really internalize them. Picture that person in your head, give them a name. I bet this person is pretty awesome right? Now, in your head, make another list. This time, list all of the characteristics you think the ideal person you’ve just created in your mind would look for in their ideal person.  What would they jot down. What personal characteristics would they desire in a mate. How attractive do you think they’d expect their mate to be. If you gave them a salary requirement, would they expect their mate to also make a certain income. Now ask yourself… Am I that person? Do I have of the qualities my ideal mate would expect in their ideal mate.

If we do this exercise honestly, I think a great deal of us would find there’s a bit of a gap between what we’re expecting, who we are, and what our ideal person might be expecting.  But this isn’t a bad thing if we use this information as a means of making ourselves better. We can use all of this to figure out whether or not we need to either change our expectations, or, change some things about ourselves. Go back and read your lists. Look at what you’ve written, is there anything you need to change about yourself, or about your expectations before you’re ready for your next relationship?