Finding Yourself Before Finding 'The One'

We're all looking for that special someone, that very perfect fit. Someone to make us happy, to grow old with us, to challenge us. Someone to come home to, to take care of us, to be our other half.

I'm constantly finding a disconnect between the ultimate idea of "the one" compared to the one I'm actually with.

A dear friend of mine was going through a breakup. The relationship had lasted six years. He was a great guy -- dashing, a law student with a great family and a friend to all. She, (of course myself being completely biased as she is my best friend) had the entire package. She owned her own salon and spa at the ripe age of 23, was absolutely stunning, and is the woman in the room that you would want to talk to, to know and gravitate towards. The woman you strive to be like.

Separately, they were great, and on paper, it was a perfect match. As the years passed, I saw the love between them slowly diminish, as the petty fights and constant banter took over any genuine connection they had shared. At this point, they were together for comfort, because it was all that they knew.

Flash-forward to the inevitable: They went their separate ways. It was not a bad breakup, no harsh words were said and there were no hard feelings. They slowly moved on with their lives and healed from this great love that once was. Feeling a bit lost and looking for direction on where she would go next and what the next chapter in her life would be, she opted to take up meditation, and began attending classes regularly. The classes progressed week after week, and the group familiarized themselves with each other. A few weeks in, something emerged during a specific session, as the teacher asked about their reason for attending the class. "I want to be more in touch with my feelings, myself," some said. "I want to study meditation to calm my anxieties, and escape my stressful life," others said.

Her words rang through the class: "I keep meeting the wrong guys."

The meditation teacher, a happily married, middle-aged man, took quite an interest in this, and the class extrapolated the topic for the remainder of class. Following the discussion, he had an assignment for the class: Write out your list of exactly what you would look for in a partner. Things can be broad, petty, selfish and even embarrassing, but most importantly, include the things that matter to you the most.

She left this class and called me. "I just can't bring myself to do this, it seems so weird to write down what you would be looking for in a partner, am I right?"

I loved the idea. I told her to give me a day or so, and I would give her my list, some of the things that I would see missing and would cause me to run the other way, no questions asked. So I did.

A few of my own:

1. Driven. I don't care if you're a successful investment banker with loads of money or a talented artist who loves what he does and scraping to pay next month's rent. As long as you're driven, I will find you interesting.

2. Thoughtful. I'm not asking for high-ticket items. A cute text, good morning kiss or a thank-you card is really all I ask for.

3. Has a good family. Self-explanatory.

4. Adventurous. Willing to plan something on a whim. Hell, toss my favorite wine in a coffee mug and let's spend the afternoon at the Guggenheim, or let's hop on bicycles and ride downtown on the East River for lunch and a few cocktails. Or take an art class, or book a last-minute trip to visit my sister in Australia.

5. Not scared to make a decision. Order for me at a restaurant once in a while, plan a fun day walking on the High Line or pack a picnic in Central Park.

And a few of the petty ones, of course:

  • Does not bite his nails. Ew.

  • Loves the city.
  • Drinks whiskey.
  • Is willing to eat vegetarian with me, sometimes.
  • Uses the correct form of "there," "their" and "they're."
  • Now, my friend has always been a bit more serious than I, so the sheer ridiculousness of my list gave her a laugh, and she was able to put together her list (much more realistic than mine), and bring it to her next class, ready to share.

    So, this all seems so crazy, I get it -- who writes a list on what you're looking for in a partner? You're looking to date someone special, not writing a list of items you're going to grab at the supermarket.

    Over the next year or so, I saw a transformation in her. No more dates with guys she knew she would never call again, no more wasted time. She wasn't actively looking, but was conscious of what she wanted, so if she came across it, she would know.

    She is now happily engaged, in the relationship that we all hope to someday be in. She truly has found her other half, and for that, I am forever thankful that she had the courage to write this list, free herself of the rest. Dating is great and forces you to look at yourself and learn. I am ecstatic that she has found that person that loves you unconditionally, every single day, and I cannot wait to share the next chapter of her life with them.

    Is the list the reason? No, of course not. But this list allowed her to realize who she was, and what she wanted in a partner. Let go of what you think you want, really delve deeper into it, and never settle for anything less.