Common questions singles in the dating world are asked include: What are you looking for in a mate? Do you have a celebrity crush? Do you have a certain type that you tend to be attracted to? When assessing benchmarks for success and relationship deal breakers, it is important to discern the true elements that make up the ideal package versus what is superficial. The visions that we conjure up of a Prince Charming or "perfect" woman may end up being quite different than the person we fall in love with. Here are some factors that singles should consider when putting together a list of criteria in the search for their significant other:
• Location: Although long distance relationships can work, this is not a scenario for everyone. Some are okay with seeing each other only over weekends, having to travel via planes, trains and automobiles to get to their beloved. Others would much rather spontaneously be able to get together on a Wednesday night for take out and a movie. Geography is an important consideration when dating.
• Religion: One's faith and the desire to continue it generationally is most definitely a strong concern for many. If religion is an important aspect within your life and is something that you want to share with a mate and ultimately your children, then by all means this should be on the top of your list of deal breakers in your relationship search. Couples who fall madly in love without addressing religion, in the context of a planned future family, are only setting themselves up for challenges down the road. This conversation inevitably has to occur so there is no friction down the line.
• Children: Both men and women have to be clear with one another about their desire to have children. Be direct and forthright from the get go about your goals, so there are no misunderstandings once you say, "I do". If one of you wants a child, be upfront about it. For those who have children and think they do not want to add to the mix, don't be narrow-minded. Many people enter into their relationship search saying they would prefer not enlarging their family and then end up falling in love with someone that has little ones.
• Relationship History: Honesty out of the gate is the best policy. You do not have to divulge your whole life story on the first date, but it is important to be candid. How many times you have been married or engaged, even if the unions were short-lived, and the number of kids that you have, whether from a spouse or not should be made known. What is most important here is finding the right one, even if they deviate from your preconceived notions of an ideal mate. Do not be quick to pass judgement prior to giving people a chance. Life's circumstances on paper do not always tell the real story about the person.
• Physical Appearance: I often hear my clients tell me that the man must be over six feet and have a full head of hair. On the flip side, she should have curves in all the right places, be medium height and dress conservatively. All of these criteria may be the image of what one thinks that they are looking for, but these traits are not the essence of a good person. Beards can be shaved, hair can go to the wayside over the years, weight can be gained and lost, but goodness from within is either there or not.
• Education: Wanting your mate to be well versed in world events, or being able to work a room does not necessarily coincide with where they went to college. A degree has merit, but a person's drive, perseverance and work ethic are the true characteristics that determine success. It is okay to want to date a college grad or someone with an advanced degree, but do not get caught up in the name of their alma mater, rather take note of what they are achieving in life.
• Economic Goals: What makes for a comfortable lifestyle for one may not be right for another. Where you live, the schools that your children will attend, vacations, and the hood ornament on a car hold significance for some. If the above factors are important to you, they can shape the course of a future relationship. Like with children and religion, monetary needs ought to be addressed early on.
When forming dating deal breakers and benchmarks for success, it is crucial to maintain the proper balance between open-mindedness and knowing what is truly right for you. Matching people up as to their religion, location, lifestyle and age range can be done. The underlying factors of chemistry and connectedness are what ultimately drives people towards or away from each other. This "Je ne sais quoi" keeps matchmaking exciting.