In a recent article, we described the process of finding a man as house hunting. Both are very big decisions, and since you would never spend a lot of money on a house you haven’t analyzed at all, you shouldn’t do the same in your love life either. Deciding to enter a relationship with a man can be life-changing. You need to be very sure that this man offers more than just that initial chemistry.
Another way in which finding love is a lot like finding a house has to do with your needs. You can easily fall in love with a home that doesn’t address all your needs. It looks amazing on paper, but once you start living there, the excitement goes away as you start to realize, though perfect, the home is not for you. And that can be a serious problem in a relationship when you only notice those deal breakers after you’ve jumped in.
Make a List, Check It Twice?
You may think that, just like renovating a house, you can change the man and save your relationship. But reality proves time and time again that’s not always possible. Your dream home can turn out to be a money pit, just like your “dream man” could have several red flags you chose to ignore in the beginning.
And changing these behaviors can sometimes lead to a lot of heartbreak and resentment, for both of you. He’ll resent you for trying to change who he is. You’ll resent him for not loving you enough to change his behavior. So, it’s only natural to make a checklist, a sort of image of an ideal man you can use every time you meet someone new. Whenever a man gets close to that ideal image, jumping into a relationship can be easy.
But make no mistake: that dating checklist is not foolproof when it comes to finding the right man. There may be times when your dating checklist is too strict. Some of the qualities on it may not even be as important to your relationship as you first thought.
Every woman wants Prince Charming. They want someone who is 6 feet tall, has blue eyes and went to an Ivy League school. But do you really need such a man? Are those the qualities you think will make a relationship great? Your dating checklist may be a bit too specific, and if you use it to compare the men you date, a lot of good ones may not make the cut because of a technicality.
Of course, you may have good reasons for being so specific with your checklist. If you’re 5’10’’, you may like the idea of dating taller men. It’s an attraction thing, so you look for men who are 6’ or taller. But this narrows your options a lot.
Think about this: how do you know that a lovely guy who is 5’11’’ isn’t perfect for you? If you’ve turned down his advances solely on the basis of his height, you’ll never get to know him. He may be short, but he may shower you with kisses every time he sees you. He may turn out to be your best friend, your confidant. Or even just a fun guy you have a blast with.
But you’d never know that.
Your List Says a Lot about You
If you’re too close to your dating checklist, it’s probably because you’re not open to getting to know the men you’re dating. If you go out with a guy and your intent is only to find out how many things on your list he checks, you’re not getting to know him at all. In fact, you’re probably ignoring some of the more important need-to-knows:
- Do you like his company?
- Who is he?
- Does he like you?
- Are you on the same page, relationship-wise?
- How do you resolve a conflict?
It’s easy to hide behind a strict checklist and ignore the fact that you’re scared to open your heart, get to know the men you’re dating, and let them get to know you in the meantime. You can reject men who don’t fit everything on your list and save yourself the heartbreak. But, are you?
Because you may just be sabotaging your dating success. You need to see if a man is right for you by going beyond the things on your list. That takes time and willingness to put yourself out there more. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary to find love in the end and spend the rest of your life with a man who’s perfect for you.
Take a Leap
The more you try, the easier it gets. It won’t feel like it right now but you’ll see soon enough this is true. And you’ll thank yourself for being open.
Although you shouldn’t necessarily throw out your checklist either, try to be flexible with it. It’s not written in stone, so don’t treat it as such. Your checklist is nothing more than a guideline to help you not miss out on the important things – the things you may have ignored in the past just because you really wanted a relationship. You should think of relationship must-haves when making the checklist, and not fantasies that would be great if they were real.
What does your checklist look like? Let us know in the comments below!