You can make a “must have list” with what you want in your ideal match but staying single may be the best way to live happily ever after.
I was rummaging around on my hard drive the other day and came across my old “must have list.” This was something I put together about 12 years ago after reading one of those “get the relationship of your dreams” advice books. If you’re a single woman, you’ve likely heard of these kinds of lists because they’re recommended by numerous relationship and dating experts as a good way to find the perfect man for you.
Although they’re called by different names, the purpose of a “must have list” is to name the essential qualities you must have in a man — things you need in order to have your ideal mate.
The idea is to limit the list to 10 items: more, and there wouldn’t be anyone who could fit the bill; less and you might be derailed by the guy with the flashy sports car and Black AMX Card who also has a voodoo altar hidden in his closet and practices witchcraft while you’re at church on Sunday.
Even though a “must have list” can keep you from settling or coupling up with someone who will put you in a position where you’ll compromise your values and priorities, these lists can be tricky when you want to find a man to marry. They presuppose that you can manifest a husband by writing him down on paper: tall, works out, great in bed, financially secure, no ex-wife, loves children and animals, great sense of humor, generous, ambitious, kind, doesn’t smoke (oops, that’s 11 – see how difficult it is to list just 10?).
Even if you could conjure up such a man, it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll remain as you perceived him or that you’ve even managed to put the right items on your list in the first place.
For example, one of my essentials was that the man I married had to have a good job. Well, my ex-husband had a great one he promptly quit within a week of marrying me and he never worked again until after we divorced. Clearly, having “must have a job” on my list was not a guarantee of gainful employment.
Now that I’m somewhat older and slightly wiser, instead of making a “must have list” to find the perfect man, I think a more useful approach is to consider how a man makes you feel about yourself. Most of us work so hard at presenting our best side to the people we date that a list can be rendered useless anyway. So instead of making a “must have list” and then examining him to determine if he fits it, how about if we took a huge risk and let him see us as we really are and then observe how he reacts to that?
When you’re with him and being your genuine self, do you feel secure, confident, respected, adored, positive, inspired, relaxed and competent? Or do you feel inferior, judged, unattractive, dismissed, criticized, unreasonable or incompetent?
For example, when he sees you eating your second slice of pumpkin pie, does he anxiously comment that your jeans seem a bit tight? When you get up at 4 a.m. to work on your screenplay, does he demand that you come back to bed? When you spend a week visiting your elderly parents in Tulsa, does he hold a grudge because you could have both gone to Tahiti?
I think it works for guys too. If you treasure Sunday afternoons for football and snoozing on the sofa, does she schedule you for social engagements? If your beloved dog sleeps on the bed, does she insist there are fleas in his fur? When you say you’re going to quit your job to start your own computer repair shop, does she e-mail you articles about small business failures?
Reveal who you are and watch what happens. Then make some important choices about what kind of impact his or her reaction will have on your ability to feel comfortable being who you are and how you want to live your life.
You might just find that staying single is the best way to honor your authentic self and to live happily ever after.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.