Tall, dark, and handsome dog lover with broad shoulders and ambition.
Laid-back artist with sandy blonde hair and a low-stress occupation.
Successful entrepreneur with great social skills who likes staying active.
You probably have a pretty good idea of what type of mate you want.
Online dating sites encourage being open about the kind of person that you are looking for, and you probably have a laundry list of characteristics that scrolls through your head as you scroll down the screen. You no doubt also have a list of “deal breakers” in your mind, which will doom any profile to the trash bin.
You have every right to get what you want in life, and never to settle for something that doesn’t fit the definition of what you want.
But what if what you think you want is wrong?
What if you think you want a prominent businessman, but really want a man with more free time? What if you think you want a creative artist-type, but really need a more stable mate? What if you think you want an extroverted athlete, but you really prefer someone who will stay home most evenings?
If you look back at your past relationships and it seems like you are dating the same man or woman again and again and again – it’s possible that your mate template is a bad fit for your emotional needs.
Many factors can contribute to having mismatched needs and wants. From a young age, we imagine what our ideal mate would be like. Early sexual experiences and romances can cement this template in our minds, and you can spend the rest of your life looking for someone to fill out the form. Along with the onslaught of media telling us what we should want, it can easy to lose sight of what you truly need – if you ever saw it in the first place.
But people aren’t templates. You’ll never find a person who checks off every item on your laundry list. While you shouldn’t waver on important characteristics like values or emotional health, it is crucial to determine which elements of your laundry list need to be crossed off for good.
Ask yourself the following questions to help decide if your wants match your needs:
• Do the people that I’ve been in relationships with share similar characteristics? If so, what are they?
• What is on my “laundry list” of desirable qualities in an ideal mate? What are my deal breakers? Are any of these leftovers from my teen years and early 20s? Are there any that need to be chucked in the trash?
• Do I have a “type” – physically, energy-wise, artistically, financially, emotionally, spiritually or otherwise? Describe your type. Has it changed over the years?
• What activities do I most like to do with my partner? Do I like to stay in, go out, or both?