Simply Solo Spotlight: Finding Love Involves Practice, Research and Standards
Happy New Year ladies and gentlemen! The first guest post of 2012 is brought to you by C.L. Russell, who writes the dating blog, Did He Really Just Do That? I love this guest post because I’m all about taking your love life into your own hands and doing the necessary homework to help create the life you want. And the timing is perfect: fresh year, fresh opportunities.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finding Love Involves Practice, Research and Standards
I used to believe that love just happens. I thought I didn’t have to do any footwork, research or self-exploration before I found love because no matter what careless things I did, the universe and fate would magically send me The One.
This belief was based purely on laziness, fear and an unwillingness to change.
Today I believe that finding a great partner involves practice and research, like exercise or school. Now I know that it was never about fate sending me The One. Rather, it was about setting myself up to find a good man by knowing what I wanted and having the confidence to go after it.
I was 25 years old when I decided to change my ways and create a “love strategy.” I reached the tipping point when I was dumped by another New York finance jerk with whom I had only gone on four dates (and by dates, I mean eating appetizers in a dark, smelly bar while getting drunk enough to ease the awkwardness). As I sat on my bedroom floor crying hysterically about the breakup and eating a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, I had an epiphany. I was crying over someone I knew virtually nothing about. And all the things I did know about him, I didn’t even like. Right then, I realized I had no idea what I wanted in a partner. I had no standards and way too much desperation.
That night, I created a “MAN-aging” list, which detailed the non-negotiable traits I wanted in a guy. I listed everything from “must love dogs” to requirements as obvious as “must want a relationship with me.” This list wasn’t at all rocket science, but it was something I had never even contemplated. For instance, I kept dating men who hated pets, even though I wanted a cuddly Golden Retriever running around my house someday. I also kept pursuing men who openly told me they didn’t want to be in a relationship, even though I knew in my heart that I wanted something serious.
Once I created my MAN-aging list of 20 non-negotiables, I rated my exes using the list. My high school ex got a whopping 2 out of 20, while most others got 4 out of 20. The highest score was my best guy friend, whom I had been one-sidedly crushing on for years. He received 16 out of 20 points, but the 4 points he lacked were the most important, including “must want a relationship with me.”
Next, I decided to boost my self-esteem, which I believed was crucial in order to find a worthy guy. The first step was writing down 10 traits I like about myself, which seems like an easy task but is actually quite difficult. After I wrote down 10 traits I like about myself, I sent my closest girlfriend an e-mail explaining what I was doing and asked her to send me a list of traits she admires most about me. Having an outsider’s opinion helped further boost my confidence.
After I finished the self-confidence exercise, I compared my best traits with the non-negotiable traits I sought in a partner. Comparing the lists made me see how much I deserved a man who had 20 out of 20. And so I went out into the world to find him (after also reading enough self-help dating books to fill a studio apartment).
In the six months that followed my research, I dated several more guys who ended up not fitting my list of standards. It was frustrating and lonely to keep searching for a guy who met all 20 non-negotiables, but I finally had the confidence to believe he was out there. Then one ordinary day, I met my boyfriend, whom I’ve been dating for two years and live with. Of course I didn’t immediately know my boyfriend possessed all 20 of my non-negotiable traits. I had to follow my initial gut reaction until I got to know him better, but my point is that my gut reaction had changed. Through my research and practice, I had actually changed my thought patterns and become attracted to nice guys instead of jerks. And instead of waiting for the universe to send me a great guy, I had made a great guy come to me.
I’m not saying that romance and even a little fate didn’t play a part in meeting my boyfriend. When I met him, I instantly knew he was someone I had been waiting for and knew I would fall in love with him. I guess you could even call it love at first sight. But the real reason I knew he was the one for me is because I finally knew myself and what I wanted in a partner. I finally had some standards.
Readers: Do you know what traits you want in a partner? If you are already in a successful relationship, did you find it helpful to establish a list of non-negotiables before meeting your partner? What was your strategy?
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.