To define your ideal partner, in this article I am going to ask you to think truly and deeply about what you want. You may have heard matchmakers talk about the “Must Have List” or “Must Not Have List” and that can sometimes be fun to create or enough to get you thinking about your future partner but it never seems to stick. This exercise will allow you to take things to the next level, to create a future with your partner before knowing them and have a lasting understanding of what you want while dating.
Dating has its ups and downs, all the swiping, texting, coffee, drinks and dinners may get redundant or overwhelming. And what gets lost in that swirl is often the thing that we want the most, the ideal partner. Someone may seem physically attractive but doesn’t have the intellectual conversations we want, another may be smart but not have chemistry. The more people you meet, the more complicated things get. So determining what you want can lead to more purposeful dating; allowing you to have fun, discover and explore rather than worry about whether the person in front of you fits the bill.
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1. Write the story of life with your ideal partner
Before you do this, it may help to clear your mind of judgments, insecurities or negativity. Some ways people clear their minds are meditation, listing what they are grateful for or saying positive affirmations. Once clear, write the story of exactly how your life will be when you meet your partner. Literally, write it. Using pen and paper or type it out. Don’t feel like this sort of thing is your style? What do you have to lose? In my experience working with single people, this is very effective for everyone.
Start backward and work your way to today. Write a story about your long-term partnership:
- What will it be like two or three years into the relationship?
- What will they be doing for work?
- What will you eat when you come home after the gym together?
- What activities will you do apart or together on the weekends?
- How do they dress?
- What is it like to spend time with friends and family?
- Did you get married or engaged, what was that like?
- What are they like in any of these situations and what are you like?
And then, take the story closer to today:
- When you took a trip together for the first time, what was that like?
- How do they take their coffee?
- What is their signature scent?
- When you first got intimate, what did it feel like?
- What concerts or shows did you see together?
- What was it like when they first met your friends?
Then, get even closer to today:
- Where did you meet and where were your first few dates?
- How many months passed before it got serious and committed?
- What did you wear on those dates?
- What did they wear?
And finally, describe anything else about your future partner that you can express or feel. Let yourself go, don’t hold back. This is about finding the ideal partner.
2. Make a list
Using your story, make a list of things that are most important to you. Recognize whether there are parts of your story that repeat or that stand out as very important to you. Some clients, after this exercise, will discover things like: they do want to marry someone in the same religion, some realize that they value art and education over money, or some find that they were using the wrong milestones during dating to determine whether a person is worthy of their time.
Keep that list to less than five things. In my experience, things like height or job often don’t make this tailored list. Rather, education, values, interests and personality traits make the list.
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3. Define why each thing matters
Once you have your list of five things, describe why they matter and why they are important to you. For example, higher education was on my list because I wanted to create a home and family that valued a learning environment. I also knew that my higher education led to better-paying jobs, which I also wanted in my ideal partner.
This is often challenging for people because they do not want to sound superficial or do not think they can get what they truly desire. I am here to tell you that you can absolutely get what you desire and that the person you are looking for is out there. All you have to do is get ready for their presence in your life and know for who it is you are looking.
4. How will you measure your ideal partner?
This part gets a little tricky. You want to be able to know when a person has checked a box off your list because this list is genuinely meaningful to your ideal romantic future. An example from my past, I wanted a man with strong family values. I decided I would not merely take their word for it or base it on their interactions with my family. I waited until meeting and spending time with his family to determine whether he checked this box.
This was tricky because it meant I had to risk getting close enough to someone to meet their family knowing that if I was not happy with what I saw, I may choose to walk away. This is how important family values were to me. This is also sometimes how long it takes to get to know a person enough to make judgments about the bigger picture of what you want. So, with each item on your list, make a declaration around what a person can do, say or take action to show you that they are the person you want to be with.
5. Celebrate milestones with your partner
Finally, when you meet someone, enjoy the journey. Whether it is just one date, or a concert or getting engaged, celebrate each step as a milestone towards creating the romantic future you want. I like to create celebrations that are small, medium and large. After going out on a date, no matter the outcome, celebrate. When you are dating someone and you realize that a milestone has passed, maybe you’re going to concerts or trips with each other’s friends, celebrate. And, when you decide to move in together or get engaged or get married, celebrate. I recommend defining what these small, medium and large celebrations will be. My example of a small celebration is getting my nails done or a yoga class, a medium celebration is a spa day or time with my girls and my large celebrations are trips or shopping sprees. Make them all about you and all for you.
I offer a free exploratory call to learn more about where you are in life and what you want to create. If you would like clarity around designing this romantic life for yourself or clearing your mind around what you want, which is different for everyone, there are exercises I do daily and share with clients. Let me know if you have any questions. You can email me at [email protected].