You feel like you have it together and your list of dating and relationship must haves are in order, but after years of dating; your prince charming or perfect woman still eludes you.
You might think that you are increasing your chances of finding the ideal partner by dating according to your checklist. In reality you are decreasing your chances of finding the relationship you want if your list is ridiculously long and specific. In this case you're looking for a unicorn (mythical creature that doesn't exist) and you are blind to quality people everywhere you go. Your list is probably 80-90% bullshit. Trust me I listen to people's lists for a living.
When you date according to rigid checklists you do a number of things that lower your chances of finding "the one". 1) You are confusing real needs versus wants. 2) You take the romance and fun out of dating. 3) You limit your actual choices. 4) You're pre-judging people you haven't even met yet. You must be very clear about your needs as opposed to your wants and your "preferences", and what are your absolute deal breakers.
Think about this too: What is on your list of must haves in a man or woman? Now compare that to what makes you want this person to have this status and what do you bring that parallels it. Basically, what makes you so damn special and what do you bring to the table?
Let's talk lists: What things do you consider musts, and what compromises would you be willing to make in order to be flexible enough to get something of real value?
Do they have money versus does he/she have their shit together and real goals. Maybe they're not at that six-figure mark yet, but are they ambitious, success-oriented and working hard toward crushing some goals. And let's be honest here; are you looking for an easy ride? If you are bringing in $15,000 a year and aren't very motivated to improve your income, why should someone else support your desired future lifestyle?
He needs to be over six feet tall versus you just don't want to date someone much shorter that you. 6'2" could be utterly lazy while 5'9" is seriously going somewhere and is a good human being.
He needs to be super masculine yet hyper sensitive, versus a masculine man that does what he says instead of being able to read your mind. FYI: Men and women are hard-wired differently. Communication styles vary, but men will never read minds and dropping hints is for children. Ask for what you want and need.
A woman has to be super woman by day and slut/maid/chef by night. How about a BJ once a week, sex on the regular and home cooking on occasion? She should after all have interests and a life of her own. Your "stepford wife" scenario is unrealistic, and you would be bored faster than you know it.
They should be sociable and funny, life of the party. Okay, how about self and socially-aware and emotionally intelligent? Do they have the ability to really influence their environment in positive, productive ways? This person could be helping you raise kids and needs to offer something other than how to do a keg stand or tell jokes, to junior.
He or she has to be attractive. Awesome! What do they look like on the inside? People are like presents. They could be wrapped up with the best paper and the prettiest bow, but if the gift inside is crappy it's still a shit gift!
Write down your current list and think of ways you can compromise.
Think about your own energy and vibe when you write out that list. What are you offering to this equation and think about how that translates on dates as well. Your non-verbal communication like tone of voice, facial expressions, body language and the inner thoughts of your must haves could be hindering the progress and flow of dates. No one wants to feel interrogated on a date or like they are being compared to an expectation of "a perfect person".
This is not about settling, but being realistic. If someone is 85-90% of what you want, but they are 2'"too short --- would you pass them up or give them a chance?
Lisa Schmidt is a Dating and Relationship coach in Detroit and the author of her own blog. Dating and relationship questions can also be sent to her directly Ask Lisa Here Want to work on your dating goals? Grab this free resource to work on your own dating goals and dating checklist.