How to Succeed In Your Search of Your Perfect Partner
To Find the Perfect Partner You Must First Define Who They Are
Dear April Masini,
I've wanted to find the right person, "the perfect partner" - for what feels like forever now. I go out on a lot of dates, just like everyone tells me to, but I never really meet anyone who I think is perfect for me. And even when I do date one person for a while, it just always seems to fall apart at the end. What am I doing wrong?
Do you have any dating advice for me?
Sincerely, Romantically Stumped
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Romantically Stumped,
Whether in my personal life with friends, or my professional life as a relationship expert, I’ve been continually amazed by one thing - so many of the people I speak with, who say they are looking for a romantic partner, really don’t know what - or rather, who - it is they’re looking for. Do you?
Think about it this way: If I gave you five minutes to write a description of your ”perfect partner,” would you be able to tell me what he or she is like? Are they successful? Intelligent? Creative? Wealthy? Free-spirited? Grounded? Kid-friendly? Independent? Affectionate? A straight-shooter? Communicative? Sensitive?
If, after your five minutes were up and you still couldn’t describe him or her, I’m here to tell you that you have some serious thinking to do. Not knowing what qualities are important to you in a mate - what your deal makers and deal breakers are - is not acceptable, and will only serve as a hindrance to you in the long run.
In fact, I believe that when it comes to romance, a lack of knowing what you hold to be important in your partner leads to spending valuable time, money, and energy pursuing date after date who you aren’t really all that excited about. And while you’re out with Ms. or Mr. Right Now, you’re probably spending even more valuable time and energy wondering why you can’t find, meet, and date "The One"... the girl or guy of your dreams.
I argue that the reason you still haven’t met him or her is because you aren’t really sure of who he or she is. How to figure it out? As unromantic as it may be, I suggest you approach dating in much the same way you would buy a car.
If You Can Buy A Car, You Can Wrangle A Romance:
Very few of us, when purchasing a new car, would just walk onto any old lot, point at the closest car, and cut a check for it on the spot. But so many of us treat dating in just that haphazard manner. In fact, we actually treat buying a car as a more important endeavor than choosing the person we may spend the rest of our lives with!
So how can the way we purchase a car teach us to find a mate? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Assessment & Analysis - Just like we take assessment of our lifestyles to determine what type of car would best fit (do you commute or just need weekend transportation; should it carry all of your friends or will a sporty two-seater suffice), so too must we take a hard look at our lives and figure out what type of person will best serve our needs (do you want someone stable who you can marry, or are you looking for casual dating fun; should he or she already be established in their careers, or is passion what’s most important to you, etc.).
- Refining & Research - Once we get a few ideas for what type of car we desire, we don’t just rush out and buy the first one that we see. After all, there may be a number of cars that fit our description on paper, but that doesn’t mean they’re all right for us. Instead, we begin to narrow our focus down to the finer points. For instance, we may want an SUV, but also value good gas mileage. Or we may love the kick of a sports car, but also need a four-seater. Similarly, you may know that you want someone who has had past relationship experience, but can you handle it if they’ve been married before, or have kids? Or what if you want someone who has a spiritual belief, but it ends up not being the same as your own. Is that ok?
- Deal Making & Breaking - So you’ve picked your car (the cherry red one with the convertible top, right?), and are ready to hash it out over the accessories. You know before even walking into the salesperson’s office what you will and won’t accept. Air conditioning and sunroof? Musts. Seat warmers and leather interior? Ideal. Six CD changer and navigation system? Can live without. So, too, should you know your deal makers and deal breakers with prospective mates. If you absolutely positively know you want to get married, don’t waste your time with someone who tells you they have no interest in the matter. On the flip side, know where you can compromise, too. Because when all is said and done, you may be happier than you thought driving around in that station wagon (as opposed to the hot rod you were dreaming of) if the right man or woman is sitting by your side.